‘With an average mattress length of 2m, if all the mattresses we throw away were lined up each year they would stretch 300km, or from Perth to Manjimup, and that’s enough to fill 44 Olympic swimming pools,’ Environment Minister Albert Jacob said.
It is estimated mattress recycling would free up space for other rubbish that would collect about $10 million in gate fees at dumps where currently 57 per cent of Perth’s 4.7 million tonnes of rubbish is sent annually.
The Government wants applications from companies for a pilot mattress-recycling program, highlighted by the northern suburbs’ Mindarie Regional Council collecting more than 10,000 mattresses since November.
Mattresses from Cottesloe were manually separated from other roadside collections at the Brockway Transfer Station in Shenton Park, which takes western suburbs councils’ waste, in the past three weeks.
‘In other shires you get plenty, but even if they’re wet with rain the two of us just get out of the truck and throw them in the back,’ contractor Bob Hobbs said.
Perth’s only mattress recycler is 25km from Cottesloe in Hazelmere, where a two-man team cuts off the bedding fabric, removes springs for recycling, foam for carpet underlay and wood from bed bases.
‘If we had somewhere close enough to take the mattresses to it would cost us a lot less,’ Western Metropolitan Regional Council spokeswoman Rebecca Goodwyn said.
A $208,000 Government grant will allow WMRC staff at the station to recycle whitegoods and other large items from verge collections from November.