Recycle Matters, a social enterprise under the umbrella of INEO Employment Services, supports skill development and employment experience through its mattress recycling service.

Recycle Matters: Creating Positive Change and Opportunities

Recycle Matters is a social enterprise under the umbrella of INEO Employment Services.

Terry Deakin, the owner of INEO, had a vision two years ago to create a social enterprise for people who experience barriers to employment. The program was designed to support skill development and employment experience while developing a mattress recycling service. The program emphasizes teamwork, develops good work ethics, and has a hands-on approach.

Recycle Matters started by taking old mattresses and has now expanded to couches and armchairs. Items are completely dismantled and then sorted into felt, fibres, foam, metal and wood. INEO has been able to secure end markets for most categories. To date, they are the only ones on Vancouver Island providing this service.

What’s the cost? $20 per mattress, $30 for a couch and $22 for an armchair.

Where do you bring it? The best option is to bring it directly to the INEO Recycle Matters site located at Unit 350 – 2750 Harbour Rd., (between the Port Authority office and the WFP mill). Recycle Matters is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it’s not necessary to phone in advance. Alternatively, the Alberni Valley Landfill has a covered area at the landfill to store mattresses which end up being transported to the INEO site. Bring your mattress and boxspring to the Landfill for $20 per item.

What’s the process? Mattresses, sofas and chairs are put into a heated container or covered shelter to kill any existing bugs. Then the mattresses are cut apart by hand and the foam, felt, material taken off and piled into various categories. The metal is separated. All this can be done in about 15 minutes and Terry estimates that 95 per cent of the mattress components end up being recycled!

In the case of box springs, a forklift is utilized to aid in the removal of wood from the metal. The piles of foam, felt and material is then put into a bale and compressed and shipped off to its end market. Metal goes to ABC Recycling in Nanaimo. They’re exploring potential end markets for the wood coming from the box springs and the felt so if anyone has any creative ideas, reach out to Recycle Matters!

Recycle Matters currently receives 300 mattresses a month from the Alberni Valley alone but needs approximately 1,000 per month to be sustainable. Mattresses are now coming in from Nanaimo and Coombs, and hopefully soon from Comox and the coastal communities. Imagine that over the course of the last two years Recycle Matters has been able to divert 7,200 mattresses from the landfill! That’s impressive.

For more information on local recycling services you can visit the ACRD website at or check out the Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education Facebook page.

Alberni ValleyGreen LivingRecycling

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