Mattress recycling option coming to Winnipeg

Every year, thousands of mattresses get dumped in Manitoba landfills. Now, a Winnipeg recycling business wants to change that, but it could be years before the public is able to access its services.

According to numbers provided by Mother Earth Recycling and the provincial government, 40,000 mattresses from Winnipeg alone wind up at the garbage dump.

Until now, the option to recycle them didn’t exist.

The company will initially work with Ikea. The furniture retailer will charge willing customers a $10 fee to have their old mattress delivered to the recycling facility.

“Ikea has a long history of working with social entrepreneurs around the world, but our support for Mother Earth Recycling is a first for Canada,” said Daevid Ramey of Ikea.

To begin, the company will only accept used mattresses dropped off by retailers, but Mother Earth Recycling would eventually like to create a partnership with the City of Winnipeg to recycle mattresses dumped in back lanes.

“Going forward, we’re going to be negotiating and working with the city to ensure that in time, no mattresses will go into the landfill,” said Damon Johnston, president of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, who are part-owners of the recycling business.

Mother Earth Recycling is in the process of acquiring the equipment needed to separate the wood, metal and fabric from the mattresses.

Each component can then be sold to other industries to be incorporated into other manufactured goods.

Some Canadian jurisdictions, including Metro Vancouver, have bylaws in place to prevent mattresses from winding up in landfills. Mother Earth says new laws could help the industry here.

“When you buy an electronic product, you have to pay a little fee when you buy it to cover some of the costs of recycling that particular type of product. We’re hopeful the province may consider doing that as well,” said Johnston.

The mattress recycling program is part of a two-year pilot project funded in part by the provincial government.

The company hopes to have the service available to the general public by the end of that time period.

The project is expected to create up to two dozen jobs in the city’s North End.

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