Without an accessible supply of discarded mattresses, padded furniture, box springs and other stuffed items (Collectively referred to as mattresses.) – the mattress recycler can not satisfy a consumer demand in a sustainable profitable manner. Further, since transportation of discarded mattresses to the mattress recycling facility is one of the largest cost centers for doing mattress recycling business – to minimize transportation and pick up costs requires skilled management and optimum efficiency.
There are at least five currently working business models used on the supply side of transporting mattresses to the mattress recycling facility. They are 1.) developing on-going centralized drop off points such as stores, repetitive city clean up days, waste transfer stations, transportation hubs, landfills and the like, 2.) One time large quantity mattress pick up at hotels, barracks, prisons, dormitories, hospitals, annual city clean up days, etc., 3.) Customer drop off at the recycling facility, 4.) Charging fees for curbside collection, and 5.) Charging fees for home pick up on an as needed basis,
The first business model of centralized drop off points will continue to work due to the limited number of pickup points at which mattress recycling facilities can readily deal with by sending their own or contract drivers out to pick up mattresses from these centralized drop off points. These pickups occur whenever a cost effective minimum quantity of mattresses at a drop off site is reached. This is usually communicated via a person at the drop off point to the mattress recycling facility with a telephone call or an e-mail message. For the non-profits using their retail outlets, mattresses can be hauled to the mattress recycling facility as part of the non-profits normal collection and distribution system. The mattress recycler may opt to place drop off trailers at landfills, waste transfer stations, large stores, or at local city recycling facilities where the mattresses can be temporarily dry stored pending transport to the mattress recycling facility.
The second one-time business model where a large number of mattresses become available for recycling at the same time, is almost a gift – like icing on a cake. However, like cake at a birthday party – it is rapidly consumed and finished. When done, it is a long wait until this same location once again needs to dispose of a large number of mattresses all at the same time. Here, the mattress recycler can achieve economy of scale by using larger transportation hauling units such as 53 foot trailers in lieu of box vans, Or sometimes the mattress owner will actually deliver the mattresses directly to the mattress recycling facility to get the mattresses out of their way.
The third business model where individual consumers deliver their own mattresses to the recycling facility can work, but it is unmanageable in that this supply of mattresses rises and falls on the whim of the consumer. Additionally, it often leads to nuisance midnight dumping of mattresses and other items at the mattress recycling facility. It is an option that does reduce mattress transportation costs.
The fourth business model scheduled curbside pickup assists in work flow smoothing of the supply of mattresses especially when mattress tags are sold in advance of the scheduled curbside collection dates. Then the mattress recycler has some idea of the number of mattresses coming their way and when they will arrive. When these collections are at the neighborhood level, an almost steady stream of mattresses may be achieved by scheduling different areas at differing times. This also reduces the number of hauling vehicles and labor required as opposed to city wide same day pickups of mattresses.
The fifth business model addressing the supply of mattresses coming from individual residences is as complicated as running a taxi service where dispatch of mattress pick up units to individual residences varies based upon the need of the individual home owners to dispose of their mattresses. California already has some of these. This model can be made profitable via a fee structure that ensures each pick up is individually profitable.
In real estate the three most important things are location, location and location. What this means to the mattress recycling facility owner is that in order to minimize their mattress pick up and delivery costs under all five above business models or a combination thereof – the mattress recycler needs to optimize their recycling facility location.
Please note that location optimization for the supply side should also include consideration of costs of shipping of mattress components to component buyers. For mattresses and mattress components, airplane and pipeline modes of transportation are not viable economic considerations. Water, train and truck – normally in that order – are the most cost efficient means of transporting bulk mattresses/mattress components.
That said, the mattress recycling facility would optimally be located where transportation costs on the supply side and the component market demand side are mutually considered and concurrently optimized.
It is hoped that for those considering going into the mattress recycling business that this short discussion of mattress supply and mattress recycling facility location will assist the mattress recycler in optimizing their operation. This is a serious problem if not addressed upfront. It – in part – broke the back of the Garden City, Missouri Mattress Recycling Facility which was located some forty miles from the nearest large metropolitan area.