Calgary company gives mattresses a second shot at life
As the only mattress-recycling program in the province, Re-Matt Inc. hopes to keep bulk out of the landfills
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While taking a tour of a furniture warehouse, Shawn Cable had a strange thought: where do all these mattresses go when they die?
He did some research and found out that six million mattresses are sent to the landfill annually, with each taking up as much as 40 cubic feet. Alberta had no specialty recycling programs to send them to, so Cable opted to take matters into his own hands.
“These are huge items that have a major impact on the landfills,” he said.
“And it’s a mattress, everyone has one. I knew, from a business standpoint, that something could be done, and it’s something that’s really good for the city.”
In December, 2014, Cable officially launched Re-Matt Inc., a company dedicated to bridging that gap.
From cotton to wood to metal springs, mattresses are 95 per cent recyclable, which Cable now sends off to become carpet lining, insulation, line-pipe for the oil and gas industry and even yoga accessories.
Last fall, Mount Royal University joined in to use the service for the 1,020 beds within their on-campus residence.
“We usually go through about 100 (mattresses) a year,” said Mark Keller, director of Residence Services at MRU.
“We didn’t really have a lot of options, so they would go to the landfill … This works for us, because anything we can divert from the landfill is positive for us.”
Cable previously pulled 318 mattresses from Red Deer College and 120 from the University of Alberta. To-date he’s recycled more than 20,000 total and he said he doesn’t think they’ve “even scratched the surface yet.”
“When you’re starting at the university-level, seeing this can change people’s habits as they move forward in life,” he said.
“And that’s what we’re trying to do here: change habits in the city. Right now, people don’t know what to do with an old mattress, and we want recycling them to be the norm. I think having this start in universities will definitely help that.”