Recycling program exceeds goals for mattresses, car seats

MARSHALL — A mattress and car seat recycling program has had a stronger response than anticipated, Lyon County commissioners learned this week. Lyon County Environmental Administrator Roger Schroeder said the program has recycled more than 4,000 mattresses and 1,000 car seats, saving space at the Lyon County landfill.

“I see it as being a successful project that we’ve done so far,” Schroeder said.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Lyon County Board, Schroeder reported on a pilot program to recycle mattresses and child car seats. Lyon County has been working together with Advance Opportunities and other area partners to run the program at the former ice arena near the Lyon County fairgrounds. Paid workers from Advance Opportunities break down the mattresses and car seats into different materials for recycling. Doing so cuts down on the space that bulky mattresses and box springs would normally take up in the landfill.

Schroeder said the goal for the program was to break down and recycle 3,300 mattresses and 1,000 car seats. That would save 2,000 cubic yards of landfill space, he said.

“We collected very good data” for the project, Schroeder said. “We tallied box springs, and different kinds of mattresses.”

The actual counts of recycled materials in the pilot study exceeded expectations. Schroeder said 4,859 mattresses, and 1,385 car seats, have been recycled. That saves more than 2,500 cubic yards of landfill space.

However, Schroeder said the recycling program did carry costs. The cost of renovating part of the old arena into workspace for recycling was one expense. Wages for the recycling workers were another.

County commissioners voiced support for the recycling program, especially because it provided an employment opportunity for people with disabilities.

“There are things we need to do as a county because it’s the right thing,” Commissioner Charlie Sanow said. Working with Advance Opportunities was the right thing to do, he said. Sanow also noted that expenses from the recycling program aren’t paid through county levy dollars, but through landfill fees.

“A lot has gone into this project,” said Commissioner Paul Graupmann. Graupmann and other county commissioners said they thought additional equipment for the recycling program, like a shredder or baler, might be a good investment. A shredder could also potentially be used to break down other bulky trash at the landfill, they said.