Recycling project gets big bounce from mattresses

Lord Mayor Cllr Mary Shields cutting the ribbon at the launch of the Mattress Recycle Project. Pic: Darragh Kane

You might normally find money under a mattress but it’s the materials in the mattress itself which have helped get a new recycling business off the ground.

Cork’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Mary Shields, has officially launched Boomerang Recycling in Ballyvolane.

Six people on the TUS Scheme are now working in the new venture which deconstructs used mattresses and diverts the material for re-use or recycling.

The mattresses are being sourced from retail outlets before being stripped to sort the various component materials.

The springs will be re-used where suitable or recycled, and wood from the bases will be re-used or chopped into kindling and sold.

It is also hoped that the project will find new ways to recycle other component mattress parts including the production of geotextiles for automotive insulation, padded envelopes or as new mattress textiles.

The main aim of the project is to encourage the diversion of bulky goods from landfill and the disposal of them in an environmentally friendly manner.

Project manager Paul Kelly said it is a rewarding project to work on with social, environmental and economic benefits.

“There has been a transformation of the disused unit into a fully functioning workplace, thanks to the hard work of the TUS scheme workers and the donations of furniture and equipment from funders but also from industry such as DePuy and Tus Geal,” he said.

Bernie Connolly, the development co-ordinator of the Cork Environmental Forum, said she was delighted that a number of furniture stores, including the New Furniture Store, All in One Interiors, Jackson Furniture, Square Deal, Vienna Woods Hotel and UCC, have backed the venture and become clients.

“It is hoped that in the future the number of retailers using the project will increase and they see the benefit of disposing of these bulky waste items in a responsible and transparent way,” she said.

She also praised the collaboration and partnership between Mary Walsh, Nuala Stewart and Elmarie McCarthy from Cork City Council, Carmel Murray of the Cork City Partnership and the TUS coordinator, Michelle Green from the SMILE Resource Exchange, Joanne McNamara from the HSE Farranree Health Action Zone, Mary Stack and Enda Kiernan of Cork County Council, and Derry O’Farrell representing the Farranree Community — which led to the set up of the business.

Other key figures in the venture include Keiron Phillips, a programme manager with the EPA’s Green Business initiative, John Scally of Eco-Mattress and chairperson of the Community Reuse Network Ireland from Dublin, and Pauline McDonogh from the Southern Regional Waste Management Office in Limerick.

Keiron Phillips said the EPA is delighted to support Boomerang through its Green Enterprise Programme.

“The additional social benefits of the scheme in job creation means Boomerang is a truly sustainable enterprise, and hopefully a model that can be adopted in other areas, and waste types,” he said.


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