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ISPA advances new options for recycling used mattresses
Jul '09
The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) announced that it has conducted successful tests with Rubber Recovery, Inc. (RRI), a solid waste recycling business located near Charleston, SC, to establish high volume options for processing and recycling used mattress components.

A main objective of the mattress industry's ISPAEarth Sustainability Initiative is to expand options for recycling used mattress components. ISPA took a leadership role last year in working with mattress retailers, government officials, for-profit and non-profit recyclers and potential consumers of recycled materials to expand the number of recycling operations that can process used mattresses. Currently, ISPA has identified 15 mattress recycling centers in the United States and Canada.

“Helping grow the number of available mattress recycling centers throughout North America promises great benefits for the mattress industry, retailers, consumers and the environment,” said Ryan Trainer, ISPA's executive vice president. “Today's landmark effort with RRI provides an excellent solution for processing large volumes of used mattresses, fulfilling our industry's commitment to the environment and having better controls over what becomes of used mattresses.”

In the demonstration, ISPA worked with Park Place Corp. and Simmons Bedding Company (Simmons), which contributed 200 used mattresses and box springs for RRI to process.

“Successfully recycling used mattress materials is a goal this industry has worked on extensively for many years,” said David Orders, vice president for administration at Park Place Corp. and former chair of ISPA's Board of Trustees. “Achieving good economies of scale will be key to lowering product collection and handling costs and making recycling a viable business.”

"We are pleased to work with ISPA to establish environmentally-conscious best practices for the disposal of used mattresses," said Michael DeFranks, director of engineering at Simmons, and chair of ISPA's Sleep Products Safety Council. "Mattresses are durable goods designed to last a long time. The construction and assembly methods used by our industry have historically made recycling difficult. Today's experience at RRI opens the door to a more cost-effective means to meet the growing needs of the industry and complements Simmons' commitment to being good stewards of the environment."

RRI, a state-of-the-art tire shredder, is looking to expand into other recycling areas.

“Recycling used products is our business,” said Scott Johnson, RRI's plant manager. “We want to use our equipment and know-how to reclaim the steel and other materials in used mattresses that could otherwise be wasted. RRI is pleased to be partnering with ISPA on these tests. We look forward to working further with the industry in making recycling work for mattresses on a broad scale.”

Barrie Brown, President and CEO of Mattress Giant, and co-chair of ISPA's Mattress Retailer Council (MRC), also shared his optimism.

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