Friday, November 7, 2008

Curby, what we do with our old Mattresses?

Our friend James over at posed us with a quandary about what New Yorkers can do about how to dispose of their old mattresses in an Eco friendly way. We broke our answer up into two parts. Here is Part One:
"Hello James, We are glad to help and would appreciate the plug! You pose two interesting questions on this topic but you should be reminded that during this era of failing banking intuitions you'll probably find many people have a new kind of relationship with their old mattresses and have opted to keep safe deposit boxes!
The used mattress is the kind of item that is not socially acceptable to pass on to others in the on-line classifieds market (although many people try to) and if you decide to leave it out on the street you can open your building up to fines which could total in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars if it poses an obstruction to pedestrians. Also the sight of a lumbering, mystery stained mattress, propped up against your building wall may not endear you with the neighbors. The reality is that the way you dispose of an item like a used mattress is likely reflected in where you live. For instance our neighbors on Park Ave do not have this problem because they are able to make arrangements with an interior designer who makes the problem of disposal magically disappear but if you reside anyway else in the city it's a given that most of NYC's mattresses are heading to a land fill via the sanitation department!
The problem posed to the environment is that much of the material of a mattress is man made, non bio degradable fabric, most often made in china and it will languish in the landfill for decades. We are told for instance that the steel springs of a mattress are the landfill manager's curse. The springy metal won't crush and it bounces bounces back, getting stuck in the bulldozers tank tracks but overall, the mattress takes up a lot of precious space.
Its because of this that many communities are no longer accepting used mattresses in landfills, or are charging large fees for disposal. Mattress disposal programs are operating in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and South Carolina, and new programs are being planned for other areas of the United States including New York: Part Two, Next Monday.