Today I came across a mattress recycling competition post and I was delighted to see it. Finally someone is doing something to spark more interest in new ways to recycle used beds. Who? Architecture for Humanity and Rubicon National Social Innovations is inviting people to enter the Discarded Dreams Mattress Competition.
Why my delight for this competition? I recently had 2 used mattresses to give away (no box springs available). I had inherited these mattresses from my sister and used them one on top of the other as a bed for my little girls. When I finally had the opportunity to buy my girls a new bed (could not afford organic mattresses) I offered the used mattress on freecycle. There are no other mattress recycling opportunities where I live. Not surprisingly, there was no response on freecycle.
I don't blame my fellow freecyclers, after all who wants to use a used mattress. I don't, unless I have to and the used mattress is from a family member. I'll buy used clothes and other used items I can easily clean, but used mattresses seems so unsanitary. Despite my ideas of used mattress and due to my wish to be as eco-friendly as possible I took another shot and offered the mattress on craigslist a few weeks later. Last week someone on craigslist finally took some interest and picked up the mattress. I was left with a sense of relief for the environment and sorrow for the people that picked up the mattress. I was well aware they had a large family and desperately needed beds.
Had they not responded and picked up the beds the mattresses would have end up on the curb for Saturday trash and eventually in the landfill along with all the other used mattress and other waste. I remember asking my neighbor within those weeks, "How do I reuse these mattress?" I suggested converting them into pet beds for my dog and his cats and dogs. We both laughed knowing my dog and his would rip the beds to shreds leaving a mess for us to pick up and just throw away. We also had no idea how to cut the beds into smaller pieces and then sew them back up.
Maybe an entrant in this competition can improve upon my idea somehow or design something more useful and creative. There is a cash prize in for them after all: 1st: $1000, 2nd: $500, 3rd: Rubicon baked goods. All an entrant has to do is come up with the best idea, show it, explain it and make it affordable be December 5th 2008.
"80% of final product must come from the mattress itself. Preference will be given to entries whose product utilizes all mattress parts and leaves minimum unused materials." Other material may be used too but it must be recycled material. Teams of up to five people are allowed.
If you are interested in the competition and need more information visit the Open Architecture Network Website here .