Advancing the Industry through Research
We invest in research to establish best practices, develop end markets for mattress components and curb illegal dumping. View completed research projects below.
Mattress Recycling Equipment Guide
Published in May 2022, the Mattress Recycling Council has assembled a list of equipment and equipment vendors intended to specifically assist mattress recyclers. The list features balers, shredding equipment and spring extractors capable of deconstructing box springs. This is a free resource and MRC will periodically update this list with new vendors and equipment as appropriate, and will update equipment specifications as needed.
Foundation Wood Market Analysis
Published in January 2022, this white paper explores potential markets for foundation wood including particle board, medium density fiberboard, pellets, fire logs, pallets, animal bedding and oriented strand board. MRC is further investigating the feasibility of certain applications through pilot studies
Life Cycle Analysis
In 2021, MRC commissioned a mattress type counting and a composition study as the initial steps in conducting a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). This LCA will quantify the positive and negative environmental impacts of the California program. This analysis will evaluate each component of our supply chain including mattress collection, transportation, dismantling and component recycling and will create a baseline for measuring future improvement. The counts and composition reports were delivered in December 2021. The survey of a California recycler found that queen-size mattresses were the most frequently recycled. And, Bonnell springs and pocket coil springs together compose 54% of all mattress types in the survey.
Upcycled Mattress Foam
In a pair of 18-month studies at UCLA, researchers found that chemically recycled polyurethane mattress foam can be used to make concrete with less energy consumption than traditional concrete production methods and that used polyurethane mattress foam can be used to make new foam products. The results of these MRC-funded studies were released in December 2021.
Pocketed Coil Recycling
MRC has completed a sponsored research project with Wisconsin-based Knoble Design LLC to explore a novel approach for recycling pocketed coils, resulting in the successful construction of a small-scale machine demonstrating the approach. Project findings are detailed in a final October 2020 non-confidential report and demonstration video.
Waste Characterization Study
MRC commissioned a waste characterization study of the residual material generated California mattress recyclers to quantify what mattress components are landfilled. The August 2021 report found the top three most prevalent waste categories as a percentage of total waste are shoddy felt pad (22.0%), mixed non-woven fibers (19.8%) and quilt panels (17.3%).
In May 2020, MRC prepared a composite sample of shredded mattress quilt, foam, cotton, shoddy and other textiles. This sample was tested for composition, BTU (heat value), burn residuals and suitability for use as a substitute fuel which is a better end use than landfill.View
Mattress Metals Analysis
In May 2020, MRC collected samples of mattress metals to test for analytical composition and hardness to assist mattress recyclers, metal brokers and smelters to best prepare, process and recycle these metals for secondary markets.View
Transportation Summary Report
In May 2020, MRC completed a transportation study to evaluate the current performance of its logistics and supply chain to continuously improve operations and efficiency.View
Lean Assessment Summary Report
MRC completed lean manufacturing assessments for 12 mattress recycling companies in April 2020. Each facility received a confidential report detailing the results of the analysis, recommendations for improvement and associated potential impacts.View
Shoddy Pad in Civil Engineering Applications
MRC contracted with GHD to explore the potential use of recycled mattress shoddy pad materials in civil engineering applications. We wanted to understand whether the fibrous nature of the material might be useful to filter storm water or control soil erosion. After receiving the October 2020 report, MRC decided to abandon the project because additional testing needed to determine if the product was appropriate for in-ground applications was cost prohibitive.View
Wood End Market Report
MRC wanted to understand the capacity and viability of secondary wood markets in California and a study that was completed in November 2019 identified sustainable and financially viable outlets for wood from dismantled box springs.View
Mattress Age Study
MRC contracted with MSW Consultants to understand the average age of discarded mattresses and box springs for forecasting purposes. Using manufacturing date tags collected at recycling facilities in each MRC state; MSW determined in the April 2019 study that the average of discarded units is 11.2 years.View