Witnessing Post-Secondary Institutions in Alberta increase their sustainability and decrease their carbon footprint is truly inspiring. When Re-Matt entered the Mattress Recycling world – we wondered what happened to the large amount of mattresses from University residences across Alberta. It’s devastating to think of all those mattresses being disposed in landfills where they take up large amounts of space. Mattresses cannot be compressed because the metal springs are very hard on landfill equipment – they have a compaction rate 400% less than regular garbage. Many mattresses are incinerated, which is an attractive technological option, but emits harmful pollutants into the air. Mattresses can take decades to decompose, causing additional strain on landfills. Recycling mattresses means minimizing these environmental consequences and this gives mattress materials a second life!
Some Post-Secondary Institutions have hundreds of residence dormitories on campus and every spring, thousands of students move out. Many items end up as garbage – but could have been reused or recycled.
The University of Alberta’s annual Eco Move Out is a benchmark in sustainability and waste diversion among Alberta’s Institutions. To help keep students’ stuff out of the landfill, UAlberta’s Office of Sustainability works with Residence Services and several partners on campus and in the community to coordinate their Eco Move Out and Spring Clean Up.
In addition to UAlberta's existing recycling system that collects paper and cardboard, glass and light metals, beverage containers and plastics - Eco Move Out and Spring Clean Up also provides residents with options to reduce waste by donating non-traditional items to bins for reuse or recycling.
From April 15 to May 4, 2015, students can reduce waste by dropping off the following items for recycling and reuse: Electronics, Non-perishable Food Items and Toiletries, Clothing and Household Items, Appliances and Furniture, Empty Personal Care and Beauty Containers, and finally – Mattresses – which will be recycled in Calgary at our Re-Matt facility!! Re-Matt is proud and excited to work with UAlberta to encourage students to recycle their mattresses, box springs and futons. We recycle 95% of every mattress at our warehouse, into constituent materials to be further reused by local businesses.
UAlberta has had tremendous success with this program in the past - a grand total of 9,586 kg of goods were either donated or recycled in 2014. A total of 51% of the materials produced as part of residents moving out was diverted from landfill, a number calculated based on the total weight of materials recycled/donated as compared to the materials that went to landfill. This included:
- 1,254 kg of e-waste for recycling
- 568 kg of food and toiletry donations
- 1,114 empty personal care containers for recycling
- 5,071 kg of clothing and household items donations
- 2,010 kg of furniture and electronics donations
In 2014, the efforts, commitment and team collaboration of UAlberta's Eco Move Out were honoured with an Emerald Award - an adjudicated province-wide prize, recognizing the best and most innovative environmental initiatives. Check out the details of this prestigious award here: http://emeraldfoundation.ca/emerald-awards/2014-awards/
Mark your calendars – UAlberta’s 2015 Eco Move Out and Spring Clean Up is held from April 15 to May 4! Re-Matt is thrilled to be a partner in this notable program and hopefully this year’s diversion rate will be even higher!
For additional information about the Eco Move Out, check out: http://sustainability.ualberta.ca/GetInvolved/Residences/EcoMoveOut.aspx
For photos of the Eco Move Out in 2014, check out: https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenuofa/sets/72157644501327668/