Mattress disposal in Bristol is gaining publicity, but for all the wrong reasons. Research published in the CIWM journal revealed that over the last 5 years fly-tipping across 10 major cities in England has reached “epic proportions.”The report shares that Bristol is indeed one of these top 10, which on the face of it is a big enough problem. But to make matters worse, as well as identifying mattresses as being a particular fly-tipping problem, the report specifically names Bristol as an area where mattress dumping is the problem.According to the report, in Bristol, mattresses account for 22% of all local fly-tipping incidents – second only to Birmingham where mattresses make up 25% of illegal and irresponsible dumping. Given that Bristol’s population of 459,300 (Bristol Gov, 2018) is less than half the population of Birmingham at 1,137,100 (Birmingham Gov, 2017), comparing Bristol’s mattress dumping problem by population brings it into focus as one of the biggest offenders of any of the 10 cities named in the report.
The problem in Bristol
According to BristolPost, over 8,000 incidents of fly-tipping were reported in the city in 2018. With the CIWM journal report of mattresses making up 22% of this total, the statistics reveal that a massive 1,760 mattresses have been dumped in the Bristol area since 2017.Although Bristol council has a system of warning letters and fixed penalty notices for fly-tippers, it’s widely reported locally that no single person has yet been prosecuted by the council for fly-tipping. This is despite the fact that 8,000 incidents a year is the rough equivalent of one incident of fly-tipping taking place every hour in the city. All of which is leading to additional problems in the city – the presence of mice and rats particularly around tipping areas (BristolPost, Jan 2019).Picking up the problemAlthough local residents report waste being picked up fairly quickly, there’s a general sense that overall problems from fly-tipping generally and those mattresses particularly are not being fully addressed. This issue is partly attributed to lack of education around ways to get rid of waste in the Bristol area, with people not realising how harmful and expensive it is to just dump items for the council to have to pick up.Responsible mattress recycling in Bristol – the council way?Although there is a bulky waste collection service run by Bristol City Council, there has been no free service since 2016. Mattresses can be included in paid-for council bulky collections, but the items need to be:
- Outside the home: “we’ll only carry items up or down a maximum of two steps.”
- Accessible from the road: “we can’t open gates or look over high hedges or walls”
All of which tells residents that if they want their bulky items picked up, then their large items have to be placed kerbside for collection.Even if householders can manage that, the council specifically requires that mattresses are protected from the rain in the interval between putting ‘items outside your property by 7 am’ on the day of collection and being picked up. For the elderly, disabled or vulnerable, organising a collection online is one thing, but handling the logistics of getting the mattress where it needs to be, early and protected from the rain, is quite something else.Of course, there is the option of taking a mattress to a recycling centre, but using centres around the Bristol area comes with a stringent policy of identification, to ensure that only Bristol residents are accessing the facilities. So on the day, it’s not enough to have to organise transport and lug the mattress outside, then take it to the recycling point and unload at the other end, it’s also a case of having to ensure you’re bringing adequate photo and proof of residence ID along for the ride too.
Responsible mattress recycling in Bristol – the convenient way?
Using a private company such as Collect Your Old Bed for collection and recycling can be a positive and easy alternative. The service brings the benefit of a quick and easy online process for organising collection, on a dedicated Click 2 Collect page:
- Simply enter the postcode into the website.
- Enter the number and types of items to be collected.
- Choose a collection date which is convenient for you.
- Complete the online form with contact details.
- Confirm the order.
With Collect Your Old Bed there’s double the convenience, through choosing a date which fits in with your own life and by having the services of a professional team who don’t expect you to lug a mattress outside. Instead, the team is happy to come onsite to carefully remove a mattress and bed parts from the property or premises. The items are then transported to a dedicated recycling point.
Collect Your Old Bed offers a full guarantee that 100% of its components will be recycled:
- Mattress foam – recycled into textile products, such as carpet padding and underlay.
- Fibres and fabrics – once extracted and separated, these can also be recycled into textile components and products.
- Steel springs – steel can be recycled over and over again without loss of quality, into a whole range of alternative products. Recycling steel springs from beds not only protects the environment through reusing rather than dumping, it also reduces the need for raw materials to be sourced to create new steel. Reducing the need for raw materials is also an example of responsible recycling really reducing costs to the planet.
- Box springs – wooden bed elements can be extracted, chipped and recycled into various products, including biofuel, mulch and even animal bedding.
In all, disposing of a mattress in Bristol through Collect Your Old Bed is a convenient and environmentally-sound choice that could really help those shocking mattress dumping statistics pick up.