Illegally Dumped Mattresses Cost Mpls. More Than a Half Million a Year

Updated: 12/23/2013 6:56 PM
Created: 12/23/2013 3:24 PM
By: Todd Wilson

Mattresses are piling up in Minneapolis illegally. The old, used, and discarded mattresses aren't just unsightly- they're costing the city more than a half million dollars a year to pick-up.

Amber Iwan says, her neighborhood is overrun with mattresses people have tossed outside. "It seems like everyday I drive down the street on my way home, or on the way somewhere else, if I happen to pop down the alley I can pretty much guarantee that I will see a mattress somewhere," she said.

Iwan is not the only person who feels like this. Members of the Northvent Facebook Group created a page on Google Maps. Members tracked where each and every mattress was illegally dumped. They even gave them names like "Pinkie," near Northport Park, "Score," on Dupont Avenue and "Soggy Blessing" on North Lyndale Avenue.

"It's an ongoing problem," Iwan said.

David Herberholz is the director of the city's solid waste and recycling department. He says, it's a citywide problem. He says his crews collected approximately 36,000 mattresses last year.

Recycling those mattresses is costly. "It's very expensive. On average we figured approximately $18 a mattress when everything is said and done," said Herberholz.

When you do the math, $18 times 36,000 comes out to be $648,000. He puts most of the blame on renters.

We asked about the problem across the river. This year, St. Paul's street maintenance picked up about 300 old mattresses. It costs the city about $35 to dispose of them which adds up to about $10,000 per year. If you include the cost of crews picking them up, the cost is probably close to $20,000.

Iwan says to some mattresses may seem like a small issue but she believes it could turn into a bigger one.

"Even just a little bit of trash creates a bigger problem because basically it's an open invitation for people to leave anything," she said.

Click here for information on how to dispose of a mattress.

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