Workers recycling old mattresses at a local firm.

Ban diverting mattresses from landfill

Fees now charged to support recycling

More than 47,000 mattresses or box springs have been recycled this year since January, when Metro Vancouver banned them from being dumped in the garbage.

That’s equivalent to a stack taller than Mount Everest – or a pile that could fill B.C. Place – that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

Residents now pay a $20 recycling fee if they bring a mattress or box spring to a Metro waste transfer station but they usually pay less by going directly to a mattress recycler or by having an old mattress recycled when they buy a new one from a local retailer.

Three mattress recycling companies now employ more than 45 people, tearing old beds apart to recover metal, wood, cotton and foam to be processed and re-used.

A Metro spokesman said it’s not yet clear whether the new fee to get rid of mattresses has led more people to dump them illegally.

Surrey did initially experience significantly more illegal dumping of mattresses after the change, according to Gerry McKinnon, the city’s manager of operations.

The city responded with an advertising drive to ensure residents know they can arrange free mattress pickup through the Surrey’s large item pickup program.

The city sends the mattresses collected to recyclers in bulk batches and absorbs a modest recycling fee.

Local mattress retailers can be found by visiting www.MetroVancouverRecycles.org.