Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Brian Kingston , has officially launched Ulster Supported Employment and Learning (USEL) new revamped and enlarged mattress recycling operation at the company’s six acre facility at Cambrai Street, just off the Shankill Road.
Previously limited within the Belfast City Council area, this unique recycling service will now be offered to other councils, and private businesses such as retail furniture outlets across Northern Ireland.
It’s partly thanks to a £230 000 funding package provided the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs with the aim of reducing the number of old mattresses being sent to landfills.
It is estimated there is presently 215 000 tonnes of mattresses in landfills across the UK which are not only difficult to compact, but take up valuable landfill space and can take many years to decompose. Their steel innersprings tear up landfill equipment, and they can absorb hazardous materials into flammable air pockets, causing landfill fire.
DAERA awarded these funds to USEL to expand their existing recycling operations and address this growing issue. USEL remove mattresses from landfill and dissemble them into various components which are sent on to other facilities for further processing and reused in a number of different ways such as in carpet underlay, fleeces and acoustic dampening in cars. The steel spring is sent to a local metal recycler to be melted down for reuse.
USEL are the only organisation within the province to provide this service. By operating a circular economy they ensure any waste or resources are minimised. Their aim is to keep resources within the economy until the product has reached the end of its lifecycle.
The funds awarded by DAERA were utilised to purchase a range of assets to assist in the process of the deconstruction of the mattresses. This has included an industrial shredder from Ulster Shredders and a baler from Gradeall International.
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