Mattress recyclers brace for influx of dead beds

New Metro disposal fee expected to be boon for business



Video courtesy of Metro Vancouver

You’ll have to pay to get rid of an old mattress from now on in Metro Vancouver.

The regional district has started charging a $20 disposal fee on mattresses and box springs that arrive at local transfer stations effective Jan. 1 to help subsidize the costs of recycling them and avoid clogging the landfill.

The change is just what Zac Plavsic has been lobbying for.

The Beijing Olympic windsurfer is one of four young partners who co-founded mattressrecycling.ca two years ago to offer a green solution to the old mattress problem in the region.

They realized more than 100,000 mattresses a year were ending up in the garbage in the Lower Mainland – an huge waste of resources considering they’re more than 90 per cent recyclable.

“We said this is ridiculous,” Plavsic said. “It’s the equivalent of two times the volume of B.C. Place. That’s a pretty big difference if we’re able to remove that from the landfill.”

Nobody was attempting to recycle mattresses west of Toronto, so the partners – including Fabio Scaldaferri, who was running a successful student landscaping firm – decided to take the plunge.

Zac Plavsic was an Olympic windsurfer for Canada before joining friends in the mattress recycling business.

They now charge residents $14 to responsibly recycle old mattresses, with volume rates available for regular suppliers like hospitals, universities and hotels.

Most of the $20 fee Metro charges at transfer stations will go to mattressrecycliing.ca, provided a competitor doesn’t start up.

Inside their warehouse, a mattress can be disassembled in as little as five minutes.

The metal from the springs go to metal recyclers.

The polyurethane foam gets chipped up for use in carpet underlay.

Wood and cotton go to whoever has a use for them.

Plavsic says the venture is far from lucrative.

“It’s a very labour-intensive process,” he said. “It’s pretty much a breakeven business. We’re trying to do a service for the environment.”

But they’re bracing for big change.

With mattresses banned from the dump and the Metro fee now in place, they expect to process 40,000 to 80,000 beds this year – as much as a ten-fold increase from less than 8,000 in 2010.

As for the disposal fee, Plavsic argues it’s not unreasonable.

He notes larger televisions are now sold with a $31.75 environmental fee tacked on to cover future recycling costs and e-waste depot operations.

“When you buy a $1,500 mattress, you’re not paying any recycling fee for that.”

He’s aware of concerns that the new disposal fee could prompt more illegal dumping but he’s hopeful that won’t happen.

Residents can avoid paying the full $20 Metro fee by dropping a mattress off at mattressrecycling.ca in person, donating them when possible (call the Recycling Council of B.C. at 604-RECYCLE or see www.metrovancouverrecycles.org) or by having a retailer take the old mattress back when buying a new one.

Dropping off other garbage at a transfer station also now costs more.

Metro raised its tipping fees 18 per cent from $82 to $97 per tonne Jan. 1.

The tipping fee for yard and garden waste, including food waste and wood waste, rose from $59 to $63 per tonne. The minimum dumping fee is $10 for small loads or $20 at peak times at some transfer stations.

Just Posted

Kent-Harrison Foundation celebrates 25 years

The foundation started in 1994 on the promise of a two-for-one donation deal

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Six ‘distraction thefts’ in two days spark warning to seniors by Vancouver police

Distraction thefts are used to steal jewelry off the necks of unsuspecting women

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

WATCH: Popular Glow festival faces cancellation in dispute over farm land

Langley’s Darvonda Nurseries received a compliance assessment notice from the ALC on March 5.

Most Read