Moreton Bay springs into action on mattress recycling

Published 11 November 2021

Mattress Recycling - Media Release Photo.jpg

One of Australia’s biggest councils is jumping on the issue of old mattresses, announcing a new program this National Recycling Week to recover valuable materials from the bulky items.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery today said the fast-growing region would contract Queensland-based company CDS Recycling to shred old beds and collect the steel for recycling.

“They’re big, they’re bulky and because they’re used so much they often can’t be sold on second-hand,” Mayor Flannery said.

“That presents a huge problem for our tips. With all that foam, they can take up much-needed space for other waste, absorb leachate and turn into a fire hazard with oxygen seeping in.

“This is a solution to what is literally a big problem when it comes to waste in our region.

“With this program, the springs and other recyclable materials that make up beds can now be recovered and re-used, instead of ending up in landfill.

“We’re already seeing 206,000 tonnes of waste in Moreton Bay being recycled, and this is a huge step towards reducing the amount of rubbish in our tips.

“It adds to things like our work around recovering more steel and e-waste, research around possibly using polystyrene in concrete panels and initial work we’re doing around FOGO and material recovery facilities.”

Deputy Mayor and Division 4 Councillor Jodie Shipway, whose community uses the Dakabin tip, said the program would be a much-welcome announcement for families and follows a recent trial by council.

“The trial alone saw close to 9,000 mattresses shredded and recycled, recovering 94 tonnes of steel - that’s the equivalent of close to 100 cars’ worth,” Cr Shipway said.

“We want Moreton Bay to be leaders in this emerging waste recovery economy, and with the average mattress containing about 10kg of perfectly reusable steel, there’s a huge opportunity not just for reducing waste but for industry too.”

Division 10 Councillor Matt Constance said importantly, the program would also save ratepayers $2.8 million in landfill costs, with mattress and furnishing disposal costing residents close to $1 million in just one year at the his local Bunya waste facility.

“It’s a sensible solution both financially, and when it comes to the longevity of our facilities, with the volume required for a mattress in landfill potentially being reduced by up to 97.5 per cent,” Cr Constance said.

“It’s been 25 years since the first ever National Recycling Week, and this announcement shows that there’s always more to be done, and that Moreton Bay is at the forefront of it.”  

Division 6 Councillor Karl Winchester welcomed the announcement, with the Redcliffe waste transfer station unable to accept mattresses since mid-2019 due to the size of the bulky items.

“This tender will see this important service return to Redcliffe, and address some of the issues we’ve seen in our community around some people doing the wrong thing illegally dumping mattresses,” Cr Winchester said.

“It’s a really great reminder of the importance of recycling in our community, and making sure we dispose of our waste correctly.”

Division 5 Councillor Sandra Ruck said for residents in Deception Bay, Rothwell and elsewhere on the peninsula, it would mean they would be able to dispose and recycle their mattresses together with e-waste, timber and metal at the Redcliffe waste transfer station for free.

“By recycling our old mattresses, it will reduce the amount of landfill required by an estimated 22,900m3 - which is huge news for our recycling efforts, but also the long-term life of our facilities,” Cr Ruck said.