Ever wonder where hotel room mattresses go after they’ve endured years of strangers sleeping on them?
Hilton has figured out an interesting way to put retired mattresses to good use—one that helps the environment.
Five years ago, the McLean, Va.-based company started a mattress recycling program. More than 95% of each mattress is recycled into products that hotel guests may end up using in their homes.
Some examples of how the mattresses are recycled:
- Foam, fiber and other soft commodities are compressed. They are then turned into carpet padding, oil filters, insulation, mats, pillow and furniture upholstery stuffing.
- Metal and box springs are sent to scrap recyclers. They are then sold to steel mills and foundries for use in tools, automobile parts and construction materials.
- Wood is recycled and used for flooring, pressed wood products, mulch and compost.
The Mattress Recycling Council says that more than 50,000 mattresses end up in landfills each day.
Randy Gaines, senior vice president of operations for new openings in the Americas for Hilton, says that 85% of Hilton’s mattresses, box springs and bed frames are re-purposed into new products. When a mattress has done its duty, it is cut open and the layers are separated and interior materials are organized by types.
Hotels from all of Hilton’s 14 brands in the USA and Canada can participate in the mattress recycling program
At different times, hotels will undergo a full property mattress recycling. Last month the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport went through one.
It resulted in 643 King mattresses with 1,286 box springs plus 398 full mattresses with 398 box springs getting recycled. That was a total of 2,725 pieces. The hotel had to remove all the bed sets and transport them to a recycling facility, then install new bed sets. It took almost the entire month of December.
Hilton estimates that 187,230 pounds of waste were diverted from that one property.
In the last two years, Gaines says, the program has diverted more than 1 million pounds of waste from landfills.
“You never know – you could be walking on flooring or sitting in a car made with parts of a mattress from a Hilton property you once stayed at,” Gaines says.