MRC Awards UCLA Research Contract To Study Foam Application

ALEXANDRIA, Va., —  The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) has awarded a research contract to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to explore a potential new application for chemically recycled urethane foam generated in the mattress recycling process.

According to MRC Research Consultant Mike Gallagher, UCLA will investigate “an alternative approach to conventional concrete that uses zeolites and chemically recycled urethane foam.” Zeolites are abundant, very strong, naturally occurring porous minerals which are used in a wide variety of products. Very little energy is used to process and purify zeolites. By contrast, the conventional concrete manufacturing process is extremely energy intensive. This research builds on a federal grant previously won by UCLA which demonstrated the promising potential of zeolite concretes as a very low carbon footprint building material.

MRC invests $1 million annually to fund research to improve the recyclability of discarded mattresses, improve efficiencies in the mattress recycling process, fund collection site infrastructure improvements and find new end markets for recycled mattress components. Visit MRC’s research page on our website to learn more.

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Illegal Dumping Workshop Report Released

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In the past year, the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) has hosted two workshops to address the causes of and potential solutions for illegal dumping in California. A report with findings from the workshops has now been released and is available here.

A one-day interactive workshop, “Addressing Root Causes and Growing Solutions” held in October in Oakland gathered experts from across the state who work with the issue of illegal dumping in a professional capacity. Participants were led through a series of exercises and discussions to share ideas and potential solutions based on their experience.

In January, MRC sponsored a second interactive workshop at the Central California Environmental Justice Network conference. Attendees of two 50-minute workshop sessions included residents, activists and representatives of nonprofit organizations and neighborhood groups with an interest in environmental justice in the Central Valley.  They shared their experiences of living in communities with high levels of illegal dumping and input on solutions.

The results from both events indicate that due to the broad spectrum of illegal dumpers and dumping practices, multiple approaches by multiple stakeholders will be required to address the problem. Recommended action includes legislative policy, government agency involvement, funding, evaluating solid waste collection methods, nonprofit assistance, education and outreach, community participation, behavior change and a collective commitment to joint problem-solving.

The workshops and report are part of MRC’s ongoing commitment to mitigating illegal mattress dumping and information learned will be incorporated into the development of best practices.

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Lean Assessments Report for Recyclers Complete

MRC recently completed lean manufacturing assessments for mattress recycling companies through MWS & Associates. Lean is an improvement and problem-solving methodology that strives to reduce or eliminate activities that do not add value.

Twelve recyclers participated, with each facility receiving a confidential report detailing the results of the analysis, recommendations for improvement and associated potential impacts. Through the assessments, it was determined that all recyclers collectively have the potential to increase their productivity by an average of 30 percent by focusing on reducing non-value-added activities.

Recyclers that adopted recommendations from the assessments reported immediate benefits. “With MRC’s help, we implemented lean manufacturing techniques that radically changed our approach to mattress recycling,” said Jon Nasser, owner GMR NorCal, an MRC recycler based in Livermore, Ca. “It was a major inflection point in our business and we haven’t looked back since.”

A summary report of the lean assessments can be found here.

Six Million Mattresses Recycled in Five Years: MRC Celebrates Milestone Across Program States

ALEXANDRIA, Va. –  The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) announced it has recycled more than six million mattresses in less than five years through its Bye Bye Mattress program. Laid end to end, these mattresses would span over 7,000 miles from coast to coast between program states – from California to Connecticut and Rhode Island and back again, equating to more than 210 million pounds of material diverted from landfill by MRC’s recyclers.

“As we approach the 50th Earth Day and MRC’s fifth anniversary, MRC is proud of the work we have done to build successful mattress recycling networks across our program states, keeping more than six million mattresses out of landfills and supporting a greener Earth,” said Mike O’Donnell, MRC’s managing director. “Since 2015, MRC has substantially increased the number of mattresses recycled and generated tremendous awareness of our recycling program. We thank all those who have helped make it possible.”

MRC is a nonprofit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in those states that have enacted mattress recycling laws. Point-of-sale fees in program states fund robust statewide mattress collection, transportation and recycling programs. Mattresses are collected through a variety of channels at no-cost, offering consumers and businesses recycling solutions, including retailer take back, collection events and no-cost drop-off at hundreds of participating solid waste transfer stations and landfills.

More than 80 percent of a mattress can be recycled and turned into new consumer and industrial products. The most prominent commodities extracted include metal springs, foam, quilt panels, wood and cotton. MRC supports these efforts by investing in research to identify new end markets to increase recycling rates, improve the efficiency of used mattress collection and improving mattress dismantling and recycling best practices.

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McMullan Joins MRC to Support Growth of Sleep Products Sustainability Program (SP2)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) announced today that Ryan McMullan has joined the organization as a consultant to support its Sleep Product Sustainability Program (SP2). McMullan brings two decades of experience helping manufacturers develop sustainability programs that have lasting, positive impacts on the company and the world.

McMullan is the principal consultant at Lean Green Way in Long Beach, Ca. and has led sustainability and zero waste programs for Toyota’s Corporate Responsibility department and Rice University’s Facilities and Engineering department. Based on his experience at Toyota, Ryan blends Lean Production techniques with practical sustainability planning to help eliminate waste. His work has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Leader Publication. He was also a founding board member of the TRUE Zero Waste group at GBCI and Rice University’s Center for the Study of Environment and Society.

“We are pleased to welcome Ryan to support the Sleep Products Sustainability Program (SP2). His expertise will help us further expand efforts to reduce waste and energy consumption in the mattress manufacturing process while increasing operational efficiencies,” said Justine Fallon, MRC’s director of operations.

SP2 offers individual mattress manufacturers training to conduct an in-depth analysis to identify ways to reduce environmental impacts, establish best practices and set metrics to track progress. SP2 training and certification is currently offered at no cost to California-based mattress manufacturers that want to improve operations at their manufacturing plants, distribution centers and warehouses.

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Chemical Recycling Research Contract Awarded by MRC

MRC has awarded a research contract to Pittsburg State University’s Kansas Polymer Research Center. Under the direction of Professor Ram Gupta, the Research Center will chemically modify and evaluate a variety of recycled mattress materials including polyurethane foam, polyester, cotton and coconut fiber to determine if they are suitable for use as battery and supercapacitor components.  

“While this is early stage research, MRC is very interested to learn if upcycled mattress materials can be reconstituted into promising, sustainable end-use applications,” said MRC Managing Director Mike O’Donnell.  

The main components of a battery (or a supercapacitor) are anodes, cathodes and electrolytes. The most common anode materials are carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes.  The Research Center has already successfully converted waste materials such as coffee powders, cotton cloths, used tea leaves, jute, orange peels, bamboo fibers and corn grain distiller for the production of high-quality carbon for energy storage devices. 

Energy storage is one of the fastest-growing industries. Recent technological advances, particularly with electrode technologies, have yielded safe, high power, rechargeable, long lasting devices. These in turn have enabled growth in the electric vehicle and portable electronic device industries. Low cost energy storage has also enabled more widespread use of renewable energy technologies including solar and wind.  

The contract is part of MRC’s annual $1 million research fund to improve the recyclability of discarded mattresses and build new markets for recycled mattress materials. This initiative also includes evaluating and implementing efficiencies in the mattress recycling process. 

End Use Research Contract for Shoddy Awarded by MRC

MRC is pleased to announce a contract has been awarded to GHD, Inc. to research potential end uses for shoddy felt recovered in the mattress recycling process. GHD will explore the applicability of using shoddy in stormwater and erosion control products in civil engineering applications.

“Shoddy felt is a protective compressed fiber mat between mattress springs and foam layers that is very difficult to recycle and is usually landfilled,” according to MRC Managing Director Mike O’Donnell. “Through this and other MRC-funded research initiatives, our goal is to keep more material out of landfills by remaking them into usable products.”

The contract is part of MRC’s annual $1 million research fund to improve the recyclability of discarded mattresses and build new markets for recycled mattress materials.

GHD is a respected global professional services company operating in water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation market sectors. GHD will partner with Humboldt State University to test shoddy physical properties and develop recommendations regarding the most promising potential uses. They will also outline the next steps required to bring the potential new products to market.

For more information about MRC’s research efforts, visit www.mattressrecyclingcouncil.org/research/.

MRC Teams Up With Group 50 Consulting for Transportation Feasibility Study

MRC and Group 50, a consulting firm with global supply chain expertise, have announced a 16-week project to examine the costs and processes involved with transporting mattresses for recycling. Transportation currently accounts for up to 20% of MRC’s operational costs. MRC is excited about this partnership and finding efficiencies that would offer significant value to the overall success of the mattress recycling program.

For more information about MRC’s research efforts, visit www.mattressrecyclingcouncil.org/research.

Mattress Recycling Council Awards Nearly $200,000 in Grants to California Mattress Collection Sites

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), which operates the Bye Bye Mattress program in California, recently awarded $192,000 in grant funding to 24 mattress collection sites throughout the state. The funds will be used for infrastructure improvements or equipment purchases to increase the recyclability of discarded mattresses and box springs by providing weather protection, or to achieve other efficiencies such as lowering costs and improving safety.

“Providing these grants is just one of the ways we continue to work with the more than 200 mattress collection sites throughout California to increase productivity and divert as much material as possible from state landfills,” said Mike O’Donnell, managing director of MRC. “The program serves as a global model for successful mattress recycling and we want to continue that leadership.”

This is the second round of MRC grants to mattress collection sites, with both the number of applicants and awards doubling since Cycle 1. Approved Cycle 2 grant projects include the construction of weather coverings and cement pads to protect mattress integrity, mobile loading ramps to help with transportation and storage and forklift attachments to help with storage and loading.

Cycle 2 grant awardees include:

  • Billy Wright Landfill (Merced County)
  • Bowerman Landfill (Orange County)
  • City of Berkeley (Alameda County)
  • City of Exeter (Tulare County)
  • City of Oakland (Alameda County)
  • Conservation Corps of the North Bay (Marin County)
  • Foothill Sanitary Landfill (San Joaquin County)
  • Fresno Comfort Sleep (Fresno County)
  • Goodwill of Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County)
  • Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley (Alameda County)
  • Highway 59 Landfill (Merced County)
  • Holdoff’s Recycling (Modoc County)
  • Kings Waste Recycling Authority (Kings County)
  • Lovelace Transfer Station (San Joaquin County)
  • Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority (Mendocino County)
  • Neal Road Transfer Station (Butte County)
  • Nortech/Western Placer Waste Management Authority (Placer County)
  • North County Recycling and Landfill (San Joaquin County)
  • Olinda Landfill (Orange County)
  • Peñas Disposal (Tulare County)
  • Prima Deshecha Landfill (Orange County)
  • Urban Corps of San Diego County (San Diego County)
  • West Coast Resource Recovery (Contra Costa County)
  • The Wilkerson Company (Solano County)

The grant program is part of MRC’s annual $1 million research fund to improve the recyclability of discarded mattresses and build new markets for recycled mattress materials. This initiative also includes evaluating and implementing efficiencies in the mattress recycling process.

Mattress Recycling Council Announces 2020 Board of Directors

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) announces its 2020 Board of Directors:

  • Doug Guffey (Board Chair), Strategic Accounts Manager, Serta Simmons Bedding LLC
  • Richard Diamonstein, Managing Director, Paramount Sleep
  • Mason Hallet, Vice President of Sales, North America, Tricots-Liesse Knitting
  • Sabrina Hernandez, Specialty Account Representative, William T. Burnett & Co.
  • Mark S. Jones, President and CEO, HSM
  • Al Klancnik (Ex-Officio Board Member)
  • Jon Larson, President of Sound Sleep Products
  • William Moore, Director of Sales Operations, Jones Fiber Products, Inc.
  • Don Pflug, Executive Vice President of Operations, Southerland, Inc.
  • Ron Richmond, Vice President of Taxation, Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC
  • Shana Rocheleau, Vice President of Strategy, BedGear
  • David Spencer, Director of Warehouse Operations, Mattress Firm
  • Patrique Vielle, Senior Indirect Sourcing Program Manager, Tempur Sealy International, Inc.
  • Catherine Lyons, Chief Financial Officer, International Sleep Products Association (ISPA)
  • Ryan Trainer, President of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA)

 

“We are grateful to these industry veterans for generously sharing their time and expertise as members of MRC’s Board of Directors,” said Ryan Trainer, president of MRC and ISPA. “With the benefit of their combined expertise and input, MRC has established itself as a leader in mattress recycling.”