Sleeping on a new mattress can feel really good. Now you can feel great about what happens to your old mattress, too, thanks to a new employment skills program and social enterprise that just opened up in Port Alberni.
Recycle Matters, a mattress recycling facility on Second Avenue in Port Alberni, is the focal point for a 20-week Job Creation Partnership pilot project developed by INEO Employment Services. The local company, which helps train and find jobs for Valley residents who are marginalized or face barriers to employment, sees the new program serving various purposes.
“It’s a social project, but also an environmental project, given that our goal is to save approximately 3,000 mattresses per year from entering the landfill,” says INEO owner/operator Terry Deakin.
Goal is to see program pay for itself
In the landfill, your old mattress takes up space and doesn’t create value. But when it’s disassembled and the materials are sold to companies that recycle them, the value comes back, Deakin says. “We have a market for the foam and the springs, we’re cutting up the wood frames for kindling and we’re seeking a market for the fabric. We’re recycling about 90 to 95 per cent of the mattress so far and we’re hoping to get higher.”
Recycle Matters got a boost from the provincial Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction through the Job Creation Partnership fund, and the federal Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy. It currently employs a supervisor who works with three JCP program participants. The hope is that the collection of mattresses and sales of the materials will help pay for the program after the pilot finishes, so more people can gain valuable training, Deakin says.
Other employment programs offered
Among the many programs and workshops INEO offers, the 16-week STEP-YA program, funded by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, provides help for young adults who face barriers to finding sustainable employment. Participants learn skills that make them more employable, and are paid a training wage for attending classes and work experience shifts.
“I think the value here is that it provides you with life and workplace skills to be able to transition into mainstream labour,” Deakin says. “Our goal is to provide the training in a safe environment for people who need a little extra support.”
The next 16-week session is planned for this December.
Staff ready to support your next career move
With a team of experienced, professional and compassionate staff, INEO – the Latin word means “new beginnings” – gives you options for jump-starting your new work life.