Recycling: Practical and Impactful

After I taught Earth Science for a couple of years I realized how wasteful I was with the resources I have been given. I wasn’t going out and deliberately doing so, but if I threw away items that could be recycled, drove my car when I could ride or bike to do some of my errands made me realize that I could have a small part in conserving what resources we do have.

Just think, there is only so much fresh water to go around and every time we order a drink and throw the cup in the trash with ice in it we take away some of that water, never to be recycled again since it ends up in the garbage. This may seem silly, but I actually throw my ice and water out into the bushes as I exit from a restaurant if I am personally responsible for disposing of my trash. 🙂  Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach our children to be mindful of what they are throwing away and finding ways to conserve what we do have so that they and their children can enjoy things as much as we have been able to do. With recycling in mind, did you know that Ikea is recycling old mattresses?

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Here are the details:

IKEA U.S. introduces national mattress recycling program

(Conshohocken, PA – October 2, 2017) IKEA U.S. announced today that in keeping with its sustainability strategy of ‘waste to resources’ it will be recycling all of its used mattresses. This includes old mattresses (any brand) that are picked up when new IKEA mattresses are delivered*, as well as all returned mattresses at IKEA stores. The goal is zero waste to landfill, with as much recycling as possible.

An estimated 18 million mattresses with box springs are disposed of in the U.S. each year, resulting in approximately 50,000 mattresses a day ending up in landfills across America. Some of these mattresses are illegally dumped adding to great landfill waste. IKEA understands mattresses need to be recycled to conserve resources such as steel, foam, and wood that is able to be used in new products.

At a minimum, 80% of a mattress can be recycled. The fabric and foam can be turned into carpet underlay and the felt and cotton can be recycled into new felt and insulation. The wood gets recycled into biofuel or other recycled wood products. While the plastic and steel is recycled by their respective recyclers or turned into new products.

In addition to the sustainability aspect of recycling mattresses, IKEA has also created a community donation program – a campaign called 5,000 Dreams – that focuses on supporting newly arrived refugee families in local IKEA store communities. Through three partner refugee organizations, IKEA has started to donate beds and bedding – 5,000 in total in the next two years – to refugee families who are making fresh starts with their families. The three established refugee organizations are the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the International Rescue Committee and the Ethiopian Community Development Council.

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