Getting a new bed often throws up the problem of disposing of the old mattress in a responsible way. Unfortunately, the focus in the Leeds area seems to be on ‘getting rid’ rather than going green, but it’s not too late to make a change by making the right choice when it comes to mattress disposal.
Mattress dumping in Leeds
According figures published in CIWM journal, in the last 5 years fly-tipping in England has now reached “epic proportions” in 10 cities in England. What’s more, mattresses have been singled out as contributing the most to the problem – making up 13% of all waste illegally dumped – that’s more than 60,000 separate mattresses across those cities.
And of those 10 cities, Leeds takes 5th place with 56,392 fly-tipping incidents across 5 years. Whilst businesses operating illegal dumping could well contribute to those numbers, these statistics could also be interpreted as revealing that 2 out of every 25 people in Leeds (7%) have fly-tipped in the 5 years.
But Leeds City Council and residents alike are attempting to address the problem. After setting up a robust reporting system, the council have been receiving 70 calls a day for the last 2 years about fly-tipping – that’s 52,000 service requests across 2017 and 2018 (Yorkshire Times, Feb 2019). In response, the council have also tried to refocus residents to use services for recycling unwanted items, rather than dumping them.
Leeds city council reuse, reduce, recycle focus
Unlike many other councils which offer a dedicated bulky waste collection page on their website, for local users searching how to get rid of unwanted items Leeds city council are trying to side-step dumping in favour of a reuse-reduce-recycle approach. Leeds council offer a website page with a whole list of options for placing unwanted items (including bulky waste) rather than fly-tipping or sending them to landfill.
In the event that passing items on can’t be achieved through the services listed, the bottom of the page reveals that up to 3 items can be removed by the council in return for a subsidised cost.Wait not, waste not?However, the wait for collection can be up to 3 weeks and then can only be arranged for a set week-day when the collection vehicles visit the area. When it comes to disposing of beds and mattresses, this is a significant wait and not necessarily a convenient one.
With a system understandably set up in favour of minimising council costs, it seems that less-than-responsible householders who have unwanted mattresses to dispose of, and cannot use the other disposal services available, could well be those contributing to the significant incidences of fly-tipping in the area when they cannot access convenient collection for landfill.
Landfill option not an option
As if the convenience factor wasn’t enough to make the landfill option less appealing, research from the Furniture Recycling Group (FRG, June 2018) has indicated that the 7 million mattresses dumped into landfill each year could fill Wembley Stadium 5 times over. And the space they take up does not really reduce over time, as most of the components in mattresses do not biodegrade:
- Steel spring components add considerably to the bulk waste within landfill sites, not only taking up space, but also causing a hazard by sitting in the ground. This robust metal does not deteriorate in the ground and could easily be recycled and reused if not dumped.
- Chemicals from fire-retardant mattress fabrics seep into the earth and find their way into water systems.
- Many synthetic fabric elements of mattresses may not biodegrade, or may take centuries to do so.
So although landfill dumping of collected items may be a cheaper method for councils, it comes at a significant cost to the environment, as the FRG reports that within 4 years landfill sites are set to overflow.Responsible mattress recycling in LeedsIn comparison with filling up landfill or waiting several weeks for an inconvenient collection slot and unhelpful kerbside pick-up, using the services of a private collection and recycling facility such as Collect Your Old Bed can be a positive alternative.
Collect Your Old Bed’s service offers the benefit of a quick and easy process to arrange collection, seen on our Click 2 Collect page:
- Simply enter the postcode into the website.
- Indicate the items to be collected.
- Choose a convenient collection date.
- Add contact details to the online form.
- Confirm the order.
With Collect Your Old bed, convenience comes in two ways – from selecting a date which suits your own plans, to the fact that Collect Your Old Bed’s professional teams don’t expect you to have to lug a mattress outside. Instead, they’ll come onsite to remove mattresses from the premises, before transportation to a suitable recycling point.
Once your mattress is dropped off at a dedicated recycling centre, Collect Your Old Bed guarantees that 100% of its components will be recycled:
- Mattress foam – can be recycled into carpet padding and underlay.
- Fibres and fabrics – are extracted, separated and recycled into new textile products.
- Steel springs – these can be recycled repeatedly into a variety of alternative products. This not only protects the environment through reuse, it also means less raw materials are needed to source new steel, so recycling the steel in a mattress is responsible recycling at its best.
- Box springs – all wood bed parts are chipped and recycled into mulch, animal bedding and even biofuel.
Disposing of a mattress in Leeds through Collect Your Old Bed not only offers a convenient and environmentally-sound choice, but one which could also support the council in turning around those negative statistics relating to local fly-tipping and landfill, to positive ones supporting reuse-reduce-recycle instead.