The Rusty Springs Mattress Recycling Program

Available Summer 2022

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PACE has run a successful mattress disassembly business for almost 10 years. 

Our business model is simple, cost effective and low-tech. While conducting a survey of regional districts in the southern interior of BC for a different project, we discovered that many communities are not recycling the mattresses coming to their landfills; they are instead being landfilled. 

The solution? Develop a blueprint of our business model these communities can use to start a local mattress recycling service.


Mattresses in Landfills

Mattresses are one of the most problematic items in landfill due to the sheer amount of volume and airspace they take up. Low compaction rates and long descomposure time add to the problem, and they are very hard on landfill equipment. Some statistics about mattresses:

  • average cubic square feet of volume: 23

  • compaction rate compared to regular garbage: 400% lower

  • time it takes for a mattress to completely decompose: 80 to 120 years


The good news is that up to 95% of mattress components can be recycled (wood, metal, fabric).


Depending on the mattress type, the materials that can be recycled include:

  • Foam: The foam used in the comfort layer of the mattress can be compressed to make carpet padding, oil filters, mats, and upholstery stuffing.

  • Fabric: The exterior fabric, whether it’s natural or synthetic, can be shredded and made into other textiles.

  • Metal: Innerspring mattresses can have as much as 25 pounds of steel coils. Once removed, these coils can be melted down to make tools, construction materials, and auto parts.

  • Wood: The wooden frame of a box spring can be used in flooring or chipped to be used as mulch or compost.



Our Simple Solution

Our Rusty Springs Mattress Recycling Program provides a simple low-tech solution to mattress recycling – a solution that enables communities in BC’s interior to deal with mattress.

Benefits of this program to your organization

  • Simple low-tech solution

  • Low cost and easy to start up

  • Provides jobs for people with barriers to employment

  • Local 

  • Flexible

  • Start Small

Benefit to landfill sites

  • Low cost and effort to run

  • Flexible to suit different landfill sites and volumes

  • Separates waste

  • Provides metal and wood for revenue

  • Removes bulks items

  • Reduces sinkholes 

  • Mandated by government to do


Is your community a candidate?

Many communities in the lower mainland have a variety of mattress recycling options like sending mattresses to a shredding facility.  However, these options may be prohibitive in the rest of BC, due to high transport costs and road closures/delays due to more frequent weather events.  We provide a simple, cost-effective, and low-tech option to recycle onsite at local landfills. 

The community benefits with new employment opportunities for the local labour market and makes a significant environmental impact.

The recycled materials provide another source of revenue (metal, wood chips).  

The other materials (textile and foam) can be more easily bundled and shipped.

For example, PACE recycles 4500 in Campbell Mountain but also supports 4 other locations with 2 crews to total 9000 mattresses recycled per year.


Ideally, this social enterprise could be run through an existing social purpose organization. We suggest the following as important considerations for an organization:

  • They have experience working with employees with barriers

  • They have access to a vehicle

  • They have access to an organization management system (10% FTE) for bookkeeping, payroll, etc.


Some funding for start up.  

Start up costs are low – many items can be sponsored, donated or built for a case of beer!

  • Part time use of a vehicle, to drive the crews to landfill sites -- including cost of gas, maintenance, and insurance.  The vehicle could be shared with other agencies, donated, or sponsored by a local car dealership.  Usage will depend on the schedule and volume of mattresses to be recycled.

  • 2 to 3 wooden tables at each landfill site (can be built at a cost of approximately $500 each or less with free labour)

  • Some minor tools – utility knives, pry bars, safety vests and gloves.


Grants and other sponsorship available.

Economic development, wage subsidies, environmental grants are available from many sources for startup.


This project has been sponsored in part by Kia Communities in Motion

Contact Us

If this program appears to be the right fit for your community, and you have an organization that can run the program, please contact:

Stacey Rexin 

Operations Manager


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