Re-Matt: giving mattresses a second chance

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mC:t 2015.06.24

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Chances are high that you (or someone you know) have tossed a mattress in the garbage in your lifetime. I mean, what else do you do with an old mattress, right? Each year in Canada, 6 million mattresses are disposed of [1]. Mattresses are difficult to compact and as a result, account for a large amount of the space in landfills [1]. Even more surprising is that all of the materials in a mattress can actually be recycled [2].

 

Re-Matt, founded in 2014, has made it their mission to give these mattresses a second chance. Re-Matt’s vision is to eliminate the dumping of all mattresses in Alberta landfills and recycle them instead. The company is even featured on David Suzuki’s list of recycle-focused firms in Canada [3].

 

I spoke with Re-Matt founder Shawn Cable, to discuss his vision for mattress recycling:

Why is it important to recycle mattresses?

Mattresses are very large and take up huge amounts of space in landfills. They cannot be compressed because the metal springs are very hard on landfill equipment. Mattresses have a compaction rate 400% less than regular garbage and they can take decades to decompose, causing additional strain on landfills. Think of all the mattresses in Alberta – from mattress stores, hotels, hospitals, industrial camps, universities and residential homes – that’s A LOT of mattresses and a huge problem. Recycling with Re-Matt is the evident green alternative to landfill disposal. To date, we have recycled over 7000 mattresses, which equates to 50,000 pounds of waste diverted from the landfills.

What inspired you to start Re-Matt?

I worked for an Oil & Gas Company in a Supply-Chain role for a few years and decided to go back to University to continue my education. I enrolled in the Supply-Chain Management program at Mount Royal University and as part of an Inventory and Warehouse Management course, took a trip to the Sears Distribution Warehouse. During the tour, I noticed a large quantity of used mattresses sitting in the warehouse; these mattresses are taken out of customers’ homes as part of Sears’ delivery service of new mattress. After discussions with operators from the warehouse, it became clear that the only options were to ship the used mattresses out of province or take them to a local landfill. I investigated further and found that there were no facilities available in Alberta for companies or individuals to dispose of used mattresses. I decided to change this and after extensive research and planning, Re-Matt was born.

How is Re-Matt involved in the community?

My mom has worked with underprivileged children and families for many years and she encouraged me to find a way to help those in need when starting my new business. We use a community program called Prospect Human Services who employs individuals that strive to be contributors to our company and the City of Calgary. Prospect helps people who face barriers to employment overcome those obstacles by supporting individual skill development and creating workplace capacity. Re-Matt uses Prospect to find it’s hard-working warehouse staff.

What does Re-Matt recycle from each mattress?

We recycle 95% of every mattress we receive. These constituent mattress materials are foam, felt, metal, wood and cotton. We also recycle plastic as many of the mattresses in our warehouse arrive in plastic bags.

How exactly do you extract these recyclable materials from a mattress?

At Re-Matt, we utilize a deconstruction process that separates all the materials contained in mattresses and box springs. We dismantle each mattress by hand so we can maximize the amount of recyclable material we extract. We then bale these materials separately and send them to local manufacturers for further recycling. We are happy to support and work with local Calgary companies to find new homes for our raw mattress materials.

Do you target personal and/or commercial mattress users?

Our goal is to eliminate mattress disposal in landfills across Alberta. This means we are working to recycle any and all mattresses, whether they come from a resident’s homes or commercial mattress users. For commercial clients, we also offer various options – no cookie cutter choice – as we deal with different mattress volumes, locations and pick-up frequency, among other variants. Our current customers come from a wide range of industries: furniture companies, transfer stations, hotels, and universities. Obviously our commercial customers have a large quantity of used mattresses to be recycled but, we also make ourselves as available as possible to residential customers. We work to consistently provide superior customer service by facilitating a quick and painless process when a resident drops off their mattress. Recently, we teamed up with a hauling company to offer a pick-up service for residential customers as not everyone has the means to drop off their bulky mattresses or box-springs at our facility. We work to be as accommodating as possible to encourage recycling instead of landfill dumping.

How does someone recycle their mattress with Re-Matt?

Our facility is located at 3234 9th St. SE. We are open from Monday to Friday: 8 AM to 4 PM and on Saturday’s: 9 AM to 3 PM. Residents are welcome to drop off their mattresses or box-spring any time during our hours of operation. Our Recycling Fee is $15 per unit.

 

To find out more information or to request a quote, please contact our Sales Associate, Ally at 403.918.6411 or sales@re-matt.com.

 

Visit www.re-matt.com for further information about Re-Matt and mattress recycling.

 Re-Matt Shawn CableRe-Matt Operations Manager, Ian Gregory with Re-Matt’s Founder / Director Shawn Cable

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REFERENCES

[1] “Mattress Facts”.  Re-Matt. June 20, 2015. www.re-matt.com.

[2] “Where to recycle mattresses”. The David Suzuki Foundation. June 21, 2015. www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/recycling/where-can-i-recycle-my-mattress.

[3] “Recycle your unwanted stuff”. The David Suzuki Foundation. June 21, 2015. www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/recycle-your-unwanted-stuff/

 

 

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