Recycling Springs from Old Mattresses
Spring steel is a special type of steel specifically formulated to create tight, springy springs that will last for years without breaking or weakening. Much of the steel used for springs also contains alloys of carbon. This gives the springs their superior strength and flexibility.
Because such care is placed in the creation of springs and spring steel, it is a shame to waste any of the metal used to create springs. One of the places where many springs are wasted is in the disposal of mattresses. Mattresses use hundreds of springs to keep the mattress springy and strong, and when people throw the mattress away, much of that high-quality metal is completely wasted.
In response to this high level of waste, some organizations have created projects to help recycle the resources wasting away inside mattresses at landfills. One project started by a few Belmont University students, called Spring Back Recycling, hired the homeless, former convicts, and other low-income workers to disassemble the mattresses so their interior parts could be recycled. In addition to the springs inside of a mattress, other parts of the mattress can also be recycled, including the stuffing and foam.
Right now, professional mattress recycling is almost non-existent. According to Ryan Trainer, the president of the International Sleep Products Association, only 30 recycling centers in the entire Untied States will even take mattresses. Given that over 8,000 mattresses are placed into landfills each day, 30 recycling centers is nowhere near enough to handle the recycling of so many mattresses. This means that much of the materials used to make mattresses that could be recycled and used again is just going to waste.
Spring manufacturers can benefit from the recycling of mattresses because the springs can fetch up to $3.50 per mattress. This is a money-making venture that can help any steel company save money on their steel purchasing expenses.