Paul Kroening, supervising environmentalist for the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services' Solid Waste Division, is leading the project.
"Mattresses are a problem in the waste disposal stream," Kroening
When BedTimes spoke with Kroening
in the few months leading up to the opening of the center, he
was scrutinizing various types of equipment for use in breaking down mattresses and foundations.
"For the most part, we are looking at the typical materials handling equipment you would see in a warehouse, like forklifts and conveyor belts to move the materials around," Kroening
"We are looking at a couple of spinning tables for processing the mattresses.
A cardboard baler and pneumatic shears for cover removal also were needed.
has consulted with a local equipment manufacturer about the possibility of having some machinery designed or modified specifically for the disposal center.
When a mattress comes through the door, the top will be cut off, the mattress disassembled and the components separated.
Components include steel innersprings, cushioning foams, wood, fiber pads, ticking and cotton.
expects about 50% of the materials in each mattress and foundation spring to be recycled or otherwise utilized.
The figure may rise to 80% or more, depending on market needs, he
has been talking with the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota at Duluth
for help in finding applications for cotton and other fibers.
The new center is being partially modeled on a mattress recycling center run by Goodwill Industries
in Duluth that employs three to five people, depending on the needs at the time.
expects the Minneapolis facility to handle up to four times as many mattresses as Duluth.
also wants the facility to be more automated.