Not Yet

Not yet is a term we use almost every day, both with our customers and within our team.  There’s so much to learn and so many waste streams to tackle that it’s often best for us to learn, analyze, and wait for another day to attempt to take on.  

Some time ago, we had a great discussion with managers at a large apartment complex.  We reviewed the services we offered that would benefit theapartment owners and tenants.  They agreed, but there was clearly something else on their mind that wasn’t coming out in the conversation.  

As we often do, we asked them—what’s the biggest waste problem you have that doesn’t have a solution?  To our surprise, the answer was mattresses.  Once they mentioned mattresses however, it was easy to envision this 800-pound gorilla.  People move and leave their mattresses.  They don’t fit in the waste container so the apartment manager ends up having to make a special trip to dispose of them.  

Do you see what just happened there? We just entered the “not yet” phase.  Until the mattress problem is solved, it’s hard for area apartment complexes to focus on other issues like food waste and glass. I’ve never been accused of being a clinical psychologists, but even I know we tend to focus on our biggest problems first.

Since that pivotal day, we now know this about mattresses. We know they’re 95% recyclable.  Most of the textiles, wood, and metal they’re made of have some value.  We also know a business set up to recycle mattresses would need to be regional reason being like many waste streams, the cost of shipping these even a 100 miles would quickly render a business unprofitable. We also know mattress recycling would require some space.  A lot of space.  And not just any space, but dry storage space not at risk to moisture.

But wait!  There’s good news! Recycling mattresses has become part of the discussion in the NWA Council recycling discussions which means there’s some progress taking place between the area cities and the recycling community.  

Listening to your customer is always key.  Figuring out an answer to this bulky, not yet waste stream issue for apartment complex owners will absolutely free up the discussion to focus on more commonly recognized waste streams. And when that happens, this ‘Not yet’ will become a ‘You bet!’ creating even greater diversion rates all the way ‘round.