Recycling Efforts Lead to Donations to United Way, Scholarships

AMES, Iowa— With some help from Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling, Iowa State University’s Department of Residence recently recycled 900 used mattresses from Frederiksen Court on the ISU campus and has donated their portion of the proceeds to the United Way of Story County and the ISU General Scholarship Fund. As part of an agreement with Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling, 10% of the recycling proceeds were given back to the university and an additional 10% was donated to a charity of the department’s choice.

“Whenever possible, we like to tangibly demonstrate our care and commitment to the students and the community,” said Pete Englin, Director of the Department of Residence. “The thought behind this endeavor pairs well with the philanthropic efforts of our department as well as Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling.”

Each year, roughly 20 million mattresses are thrown away in the United States, leading to the consumption of over 450 million cubic feet of landfill space. Because mattresses don’t compact well, they are often a problem for landfill equipment operators, consuming massive amounts of space even after compacting and often times damaging landfill equipment.

But by utilizing the services of Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling, the ISU Department of Residence has saved roughly 20,000 cubic feet of landfill space. Started in 2009 by former teacher Chuck Brickman, Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling recycles 94% of the materials found in each mattress. The mattresses are manually deconstructed and the wood, steel, and cotton are sent off for recycling.

Englin believes the decision to recycle the mattresses and donate the proceeds reflects the department’s philosophy of providing a safe and supportive community that fosters a continuous learning environment for students.

“The staff within the Department of Residence care deeply about our students and the community,” said Englin. “This program is a small but visible example of the mission we strive to fulfill every day.”