DOR Mattress 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.

DOR Sends Mattresses to Ohio

With some help from Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling, the DOR recycled 900 used mattresses from Frederiksen Court. The green project is another step in ISU’s Live Green sustainability initiative. By utilizing the services of Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling, the DOR has saved roughly 20,000 cubic feet of landfill space.

The DOR plans to continue this practice as other mattresses reach the end of their life on-campus.

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.

“Our staff continually evaluate ways to be more thoughtful and creative in our sustainability activities,” said Pete Englin, Director of the DOR. “Staff members identified this opportunity and partnered with Iowa State University’s asset disposal on implementing this new initiative. While it costs about 20% more than sending our mattresses to the landfill, the long-term benefits of recycling well exceeds this initial expense.”

While its main purpose is sustainability, the mattress recycling project didn't just help the environment. As part of Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling's policy of giving back, portions of the recycling return are donated back to the university and the community. Ten percent of its recycling return was donated to the ISU General Scholarship Fund. An additional 10% of the return was donated to the United Way of Story County.

DOR Donates Mattresses and Beds to Hansen House

In spring 2010, the DOR partnered with Asset Recovery and Iowa Prison Industries in providing 20 beds and 10 mattresses to The Doyle Hansen House of Hospitality in Des Moines, Iowa. The Hansen House helps recently released prisoners successfully navigate the transition to productive, peaceful and fulfilling lives.