Did you know that 20 million mattresses and box springs—enough to fill NRG Stadium 500 times—are thrown away each year? The Houston Furniture Bank is working to fix that.
The Houston Furniture Bank has been around for almost three decades, and during that time, it has lent a hand to thousands of families in the Bayou City. According to its website, families who are “affected by poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, mental and physical health concerns, and disasters” are referred to HFB by social services, and then the nonprofit gives them what furniture pieces they need to fill their homes.
The organization does this through a number of different programs, like its D.I.V.A.S. home makeovers, its furniture distribution center, and its mattress recycling program, which is helping to ensure sure every child in Houston has a comfortable and warm place to rest their head at night.
What’s the mattress recycling program?
Every year, 750,000 mattresses end up in Houston landfills, according to the program’s website, so nine years ago, the Houston Furniture Bank launched its mattress recycling program.
The program takes donated mattresses that are in good condition and gives them to a family in need. Any mattresses that can’t be given away are cut apart and separated out into textiles, foam, and metal springs, which are then bundled and sold for use in other products.
Each recycled mattress means 23 cubic feet of space in the landfills do not get filled, says Claire Jarvis, the Houston Furniture Bank’s communication director.
“It's keeping mattresses out of the landfills, and it's making sure that families in need have the mattresses they need,” Jarvis says.
Since the program began in 2012, 120,000 mattresses have been recycled. The furniture bank recycled more than 27,000 mattresses in 2019. That’s enough to cover a total of 12 football fields. Seriously, just imagine NRG’s field covered in 12 layers of mattresses.
Why does it matter?
The Houston Furniture Bank estimates that there are 300,000 children in Houston who do not have a bed to sleep on. Through its mattress recycling and No Kids on the Floor! programs, the furniture bank aims to donate 100 twin beds a month in Houston.
Over the years, the Houston Furniture Bank has helped 50,000 children through these services. In 2018 alone, the furniture bank was able to help 1,348 children, averaging 112 twin mattresses a month that year for people who needed them.
And they’ve only been working harder since then.
“We were able to provide a bed to over 1,000 children [in 2020],” Jarvis says. “This is something that we're looking to continue to grow.”
So how can I recycle my mattress?
The Houston Furniture bank has two locations where you can drop off any old mattresses (you know, the ones just sitting in your garage collecting dust over weeks or months):
- Houston Furniture Bank Main Campus: 8220 Mosley Rd
- Houston Furniture Bank North: 295 Sawdust Rd
You can also take them to your neighborhood depository, as “those mattresses eventually come to the Houston Furniture Bank,” Jarvis says.
If you’d rather not truck your mattress across town but still want to get it off your hands, you can call the Houston Bank and ask them to pick it up for you. There is a small fee of $25, but considering how much you probably paid for that bed and that it’s going to someone who needs it, it’s practically nothing.
Don’t worry if the mattress you're trying to get rid of isn’t in store-bought condition. The Houston Furniture Bank will sanitize and clean each bed to have the mattress the best it can possibly be before it’s sent off to someone else.
To recycle your un-needed mattress or mattresses, just call 713-842-9771 to schedule a pick-up time that will work for you. To donate to the organization, click on this link.