Archive for the ‘Waste and Recycling’ category

How To Dispose Of Your Mattress Without Sending It To Landfill

October 21st, 2018

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.

Now is the time to recycle your electronics

December 11th, 2017

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

BonApp launches its First Food Sharing fridge at le 5ième

October 28th, 2016
BonApp fridge and stand in le 5ième

BonApp fridge and stand in le 5ième

BonApp, the brainchild of Geneviève Rousseau, is all about helping extra food stay out of the (new) compost program in Montreal. The idea is for people to share excess produce before it goes bad. To facilitate this exchange, BonApp is setting up its first 5 fridges (it is hoped the first of many) in community spaces on the island of Montreal. The first fridge was launched at le 5ième, a zero-waste cafe and coworking space, in Little Burgundy. » Read more: BonApp launches its First Food Sharing fridge at le 5ième

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Should cities ban materials such as single use plastic bags and water bottles?

April 6th, 2016

plastic water bottle waste

plastic water bottle waste (source: By Effeietsanders (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

To ban or not to ban, that is the question…. In the case of Montreal, it has decided to place a ban on single-use plastic bags starting in 2018 which I disagree with and you can read why in this post. Now, it is considering banning single-use plastic water bottles, and again, I think it is the wrong way to handle this waste problem.

You might be thinking, “What kind of person who calls herself an environmentalist isn’t against a ban on single-use plastic water bottles?” That’s a fair question. First, let me say that I hate single-use plastic water bottles and bags, but I find myself using both on a few occasions per year.

A city that relies heavily on tourism needs to consider the consequences of a ban

» Read more: Should cities ban materials such as single use plastic bags and water bottles?

Recycled Crayons and a new way of doing business

November 29th, 2015

I am always looking for real-life applications of the circular economy. If you’re not familiar with the term, while it’s been around for awhile (and put into practice more than you might recognize), it’s still not widely known outside of environmental circles. The basic point of it is that there is no waste created during the production of an item; whatever is output as waste from one production process is used as input for another, whether in the same factory or for a different business. This theory necessarily includes the actual product as well, bringing extended producer responsibility into the framework.

» Read more: Recycled Crayons and a new way of doing business

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