How To Dispose Of Your Mattress Without Sending It To Landfill

October 21st, 2018 by cathy No comments »

National Archives at College Park [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Increasingly, North American tastes are leaning towards mattresses made primarily out of foam – even those with springs in the core will have foam on either side. Additionally, pillowtop mattresses aren’t flippable. Because of these developments, mattress lives have shortened significantly. These new types of mattresses last an average of 7-8 years.

According to Kayla Johnson, who works at,

The lifespan of modern mattresses is related to their current material. Polyfoam and memory foam do degrade faster than latex. Latex mattresses will still last 20 to 30 years and flippable mattresses (which are a lot rarer now) should last even longer. People are also pickier about their sleep surfaces than they used to be–there are a lot more options on the market and Americans tend to prefer really soft mattresses, which are usually made of memory foam or polyfoam. Other markets, like Europe and East Asia, tend to go for firmer mattresses.

If mattresses that used to last 25 years now need to be replaced every 7-8, you’re now sleeping on two extra mattresses for every one you used to. That produces a heck of a lot more waste than before and uses significantly more resources.

What happens to old mattresses?

Some municipalities have banned mattresses from landfill. In those cases, mattresses must be recycled. You can check your municipality’s waste management website to see what you need to do with your old mattress.

There are mattress recycling facilities scattered across North America – and one company, Recyc-Matelas has its headquarters in Montreal with branches in Toronto, Vancouver, Connecticut and France.

You can also check out a great website that helps you find recycling options for just about anything – including mattresses. offers several more in-depth suggestions as to how to recycle your old mattress, there are several ideas that are quite creative (I love the suggestions for old mattress springs found on Pinterest!).

How to reduce mattresses going to landfill

If at all possible, invest in a mattress that will last longer than 7-8 years. Many companies advertise on the mattress lifespan. While it might be more expensive up front, it will save you money and time down the road as it won’t need to be replaced as often. It will also conserve resources and reduce waste.

Sustainable Building Courses At Endeavour Centre 2018

January 16th, 2018 by Cathy Rust No comments »

 The Endeavour Centre in Peterborough, Ontario has consistently developed excellent, hands-on courses for students of all ages to learn the craft of building low-impact, sustainable homes. The “low-impact” aspect is important because there are lots of “green buildings” out there that use materials with toxic chemicals and have a high carbon footprint. Our version of “traditional building” is so far removed from the traditional building before the 20th century, it is almost unrecognizable. The Endeavour Centre’s sustainable building programs highlight the use of natural materials, many of which are renewable (ie., wood, straw, cork, flax, wool), or are made from recycled materials (insulation, roofing).

If you’ve ever had a dream of learning how to build sustainable homes, there are two great courses coming up in 2018.

From the Endeavour Website:

Natural Building Intensive – Though we do lots of work with natural materials, this is the first time we’re offering a natural building intensive. This one-month course will give participants a chance to construct two small buildings from foundation to finish, and gain experience with just about every natural material/strategy available in this part of the world.

For more information:

Sustainable Renovations – We’re expanding the successful model of our five-month, full-time Sustainable New Construction program, but giving participants the chance to focus on making a net zero energy, net zero carbon, zero toxin and zero waste renovation to an urban lane way garage to turn it into healthy and efficient living space.

For more information:


Ed note: Chris asked me if I would spread the word, but I was not paid, nor did I ask for payment for this post.

A Complete Guide To Energy and Resource Efficiency for Business

January 2nd, 2018 by Cathy Rust 3 comments »

Niall Enright is a sustainability consultant helping companies become more resource and energy efficient. A few months ago he contacted me to tell me about a book he’s written called, Energy and Resource Efficiency Without the Tears – the complete guide to adding value and sustaining change in an organisation. This guide is free as a PDF and can be downloaded via this link.

About this book, Niall writes:

This is not a theoretical manual – it is based on more than 25 year’s work in the field in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and the Far East. For example, for the last 8 years I have been Director of Sustainability for Peel Holdings a US$10bn property and infrastructure company here in the UK. In this time, I helped design and lead a programme which has saved £1.5m a year on an energy bill of £4m, achieved the first ISO 50001 certification for a major UK property company as well as piloted the “BREEAM Communities” standard (similar in some ways to LEED Neighbourhood Development).

» Read more: A Complete Guide To Energy and Resource Efficiency for Business

Montreal – It’s Time to Let Go of The Big O

December 14th, 2017 by Cathy Rust No comments »
The Olympic Stadium Montreal, QC, Canada

photo by Cathy Rust

Recently, in The Globe and Mail there was an article about the future of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. According to the article, annual maintenance costs $32 million and the roof needs replacing to the tune of $200-300 million.

There is a new mayor, Ms. Valerie Plante, who campaigned on less talk, more action. The Big O presents an opportunity for her to put her campaign promise into action. I don’t particularly like my tax dollars going towards a venue that is under-utilized and high maintenance, especially when there are plenty of productive alternatives that could be done with the space. We are at a critical time when cities are feeling the effects (and increased spending) of extreme weather events. Montreal was fortunate and able to sit on the sidelines of the onslaught of hurricanes and forest fires that affected the US and other countries – but our turn will come. Using the acreage the Big O now occupies to provide a living lab to carbon-curbing solutions would provide a better use of our tax dollars while advancing new technologies and generating revenues through business. And, as Montreal is a member of the 100 Resilient Cities network, a group of cities dedicated to fighting climate change, we have a responsibility to actively find, test and implement solutions.

The City of the Future Are Smart and Green

Cities need to reinvent themselves to prepare for larger populations, ageing infrastructure, more extreme weather events, and increased automation. More and more cities are starting to experiment with underutilized plots of land to see which technologies will be successful moving forward. Montreal not only has the land, we also have a solid tech sector, four universities and an experienced construction sector. Imagine the possibilities!

» Read more: Montreal – It’s Time to Let Go of The Big O

Now is the time to recycle your electronics

December 11th, 2017 by Cathy Rust No comments »

Let’s face it: with the holidays fast approaching, many of us use it as a time to replace old or out of date electronics from computers to phones and everything in between. If you are not planning on continuing to use your old gadgets and devices, make sure you dispose of them properly. As the infographic below demonstrates, not only are there valuable materials in your electronics but also, throwing many of them into landfill will leach toxic chemicals into lakes, rivers, streams and soil – usually close to where you live. While the infographic below is for the US, note that in Canada, e-waste collection is now available countrywide. Visit the EPRA website to find what you can recycle and where to drop it off in your province.

» Read more: Now is the time to recycle your electronics

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