Concordia recently sent 130 mattresses to be recycled in Minneapolis.
It is normal for Cobbers to recycle plastic bottles, cans, newspapers and many other common items. However, many students do not realize that the mattresses they sleep on during the school year can also be recycled.
“We have approximately 1,700 beds on campus, and each year we rotate in new mattresses and have to dispose of the old ones. Typically, this has meant sending them to the landfill,” says Mikal Kenfield, the senior associate director of campus life for residential programs. “I had no idea what a large challenge mattress disposal poses to cities.”
When put in a landfill or dump, mattresses often ‘”float” up to the surface again and again and need to be reburied more often than is sustainable. In addition to that, mattresses do not break down quickly or easily.
The good news is that mattresses are not hard to recycle. Concordia and NDSU recently sent around 450 mattresses to the Minneapolis-based Second Chance Recycling. In addition to helping free landfills of mattresses, Second Chance Recycling also hires workers who may have barriers to other employment.
“In our area, the issue is getting them to the nearest mattress recycler,” says Elizabeth Harries, the AmeriCorp member who contacted Concordia about this opportunity. “Now that we have seen that we can make the logistics work, we may be able to, in the future, open up mattress recycling to residents.”