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Large item collection in La Crosse a boon for local recycler



It’s been a banner year for mattresses dumped on the curb in La Crosse.

And that’s actually not a bad thing this time of year.

7 Rivers Recycling is the company that recycles the mattresses picked up curbside during the month or so of large item collection days in La Crosse. And business is booming, says 7 Rivers boss Brian Tippetts.

“This year, through last Friday, we had 50 percent more mattresses from all sources than we did for the entire month of last year,” he said. “So, we’re continually getting more and more mattresses, which is a great thing because we recycle those. We don’t bury them in a landfill.”

Large item collection continues in the city through the end of next week. Mattresses and box springs are supposed to be placed on the curb separate from other large pieces of furniture.

With rare exceptions, all of the mattresses are 100 percent recycled, according to Tippetts. The ones that aren’t recyclable end up being left out in the elements to get wet, crushed, infested by bugs or soiled.

“When I say soiled, it’s not stained,” Tippetts explained. “But when it’s sat in the dirt for so long, it’s got caked on mud, or things like that, that’s too soiled for us to handle.

Water, also no good for recycling mattresses, of course.

“If it’s got a light rain on it, we can still recycle it,” Tippetts said. “But if it’s been laying, covered with water, like in a puddle, we can’t cost effectively recycle that. The standards for our product where we send it is absolutely not water.”

Tippetts says the large item pick up period in La Crosse will net his company somewhere close to 1,300 mattresses this year. The mattresses will get turned into everything from landscape cloth to packing material.

For more information on La Crosse’s large-item pickup, go the the city’s website here.

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