Municipal Partner Spotlight: The City of Salem

Important Recycling Numbers To Know

772: Number of curbside pickups provided for Salem residents.

1359: Number of mattresses picked up from residential curbside service.

50: Number of units picked up from the City of Salem.

199: Total number of units picked up from the Salem Housing Authority.

50: Units collected from Salem Aggregate pickups.

34,749: The number of cubic feet of saved landfill space as a result of Salem’s mattress recycling efforts.

1658: Grand total of mattresses recycled in 2023 in the City of Salem!

Mattress Recycling Fun Facts ♻️

75% – 80%: the percentage of a mattress that is recyclable. That means when you recycle, less space is taken up in landfills, and more materials are being recycled into new products!

50%: The percentage breakdown of metal in the mattress recycling process, or the equivalent of 25 – 40 lbs. of steel! 

The materials in your mattress can have a second life! If you ever get the chance, take a look at the padding hidden below your carpet. That’s a mosaic made up of hundreds of thousands of recycled mattresses!

At Tough Stuff Recycling, we believe in recycling and waste diversion – and we appreciate what our customers think. That’s why we’ve asked our Municipal customers about working with Tough Stuff Recycling and how our partnership helped them learn more about overcoming the challenges of the statewide mattress landfill ban.

An Interview With The City Of Salem

Q: How and when did you learn about the mattress landfill ban? 

Here in Salem, we first learned about it when MassDEP announced the landfill regulation changes for the state of Massachusetts.

Q: What was the most immediate challenge you faced when you heard your hauler was going to no longer accept mattresses? 

Prior to the mattress ban in November 2022, mattresses were accepted by the City’s Municipal Solid Waste and recycling hauler as bulk items. That meant the City was covering the bulk item costs for residents, including items such as furniture, carpet rolls, mattresses, metal cabinets, and more. When the changes came into effect, the City needed to act quickly to find a mattress recycler and educate residents on these changes.

Q: How did you learn about Tough Stuff Recycling?

In the lead-up to November 2022, the City of Salem stakeholders had many discussions with different mattress recycling providers throughout New England who offer similar services. Tough Stuff Recycling was one of them.

Q: What led you to start working with TSR to recycle your mattresses?

TSR was able to provide reliable service and fair pricing based on the large number of mattresses and box springs the City historically incinerated, back when local organizations accepted these items as bulk waste.

Q: What are the benefits of mattress recycling in or for your municipality?  
By diverting mattresses and box springs from our solid waste stream, we are decreasing the amount of trash being incinerated.

Q: How did the Massachusetts landfill ban affect your community in relation to mattress curbside pickup service, mattress disposal, and now mattress recycling?

In Salem, the cost for curbside service is $50 a unit. The Salem City Council voted that, for the time being, only a portion of the cost will be passed onto the residents. Salem residents are currently being charged $20/unit and the process to schedule a pick-up is simple. Residents can call TSR or visit the website to request the curbside service. Please note that the city does NOT supply mattress bags for curbside pick-ups.

In the event a resident is unable to pay the prorated fee, the City also offers a hardship waiver found here. It’s been a convenient process to schedule directly with Tough Stuff Recycling.

Q: If you can take anything positive out of the Massachusetts Mattress Landfill ban what would that be? 

The Salem Recycles Committee toured the TSR facility in Fitchburg, MA in June 2023. We were amazed to see the process take place before our eyes! We also had the opportunity to meet the team responsible for diverting so many units from the solid waste stream. It’s great to know that, on average, 80% of each mattress is now recycled!

Kind Words

Countless Salem residents have expressed their sincere gratitude for the stellar service that Tashiana Woodie provides. Thank you, Tashiana, for all that you do to help the City of Salem! 

To learn more about how we work together with local municipalities, contact us today!

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