We researched and planned...and got nowhere because we ran into a couple of problems that we found hard to overcome:
First, we couldn't find a way to sell the polyurethane which is the major component harvested from dismantled mattresses. Instead, we were going to have to ship it to the coasts, an expensive proposition.
Next, we were concerned about competition from an established recycler in the community. Would there be enough people willing to pay a disposal fee to recycle mattresses when dumping old beds in the trash was still largely free?
Finally, we struggled with finding a partner to take the lead on the project. With several new initiatives underway at Belay, mattress recycling was dropping to the bottom of our priorities because of it's significant challenges. In order to move the idea forward, we needed someone with the passion to make it happen and the resources to cover start-up costs.
Well, I'm excited to announce that God has surprised us all by resurrecting our dream through a unique partnership early this year. And we've been able to find solutions to our three identified problems.
Last fall, the area's only mattress recycler went out of business. This created a huge problem for local mattress retailers who now were drowning in used mattresses and having to pay significant storage and disposal fees. Phillip Lotterhos, the owner of the Boulder Urban Mattress, realized he had to solve his storage problem right away and started a new non-profit organization Enviro-Recycle to disassemble mattresses and employ people rebuilding lives.
Belay Enterprises is going to partner in the development of this new project by participating on the board of the new organization. We will also staff the recycling facility, employing and job-training six individuals a year rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. We expect that number will grow quickly over time as the project expands.