When Fabio Scaldaferri and Kelsey Klassen started looking in 2017 for industrial real estate in the Lower Mainland for their mattress recycling company, they had no idea at the time that their search would lead them into Klassen’s Hope-full past.
Born while her parents lived in Hope, the first house Klassen ever lived in still stands near the secondary school. “My dad was the editor of the Hope Standard in the ’80s … (so) it’s like coming home,” she said while standing at the gatehouse of one of town’s newest businesses, Mattress Recycling.
The largest dedicated mattress recycling company in western Canada, Mattress Recycling is not only an end point for commercial waste and most of the province’s discarded mattresses, but a genesis for this sort of recycling facility, the processes of which are proprietary and the first of their kind.
“Companies from all over the world are watching (us because we) all know the challenges within this industry,” said Scaldaferri, who’s been in the business of recycling for more than a decade now.
And challenges there have been. In 2015, then again in 2017, Mattress Recycling was destroyed by fires—neither caused by anything suspicious—which forced the company to move multiple times within a few years; first they were in Vancouver, then to Richmond, and now they’ve finally settled in Hope, where the couple believe the third time opening will be the charm.
But “we’re just so happy to be here,” said Scaldaferri, pointing at the surrounding mountains and smiling. “It’s so beautiful.”
However, “the industrial landscape is a big challenge and Lower Mainland prices are outrageous,” said Scaldaferri, who added they were lucky to find such a large piece of land so perfectly suited to their needs within the province’s southwest corner.
Instead of repurposing an existing, possibly inadequately-built structure for their processes, Scaldaferri says he’s spent the past 18 months creating the perfect mattress recycling facility from the ground up. And after working in the industry for so many years, he knows what does and doesn’t work.
“Before we had no loading bays, now we have 22. We went from one acre to 3.4. No sprinklers to now having (lots).”
After completing the built-for-them warehouse, the entrepreneur then combed the globe for what he considered the best equipment for the task at hand, before assembling about eight components into a totally unique system designed to break the largest of items into pieces smaller than a dime.
“It’s actually been a super-fast transition,” said Scaldaferri of the site’s construction. “A facility like this would typically be a four-year endeavour … but Hope has worked with us so nicely, and the reception we have received has been great.”
And although Mattress Recycling hasn’t officially opened its doors—even though they’re already breaking down stacks of mattresses while they work out the last few machinery kinks in their system—Scaldaferri and Klassen say they’re open for Hope residents.
“Just call ahead … and do not dump” your stuff off—there’s a fine for that if caught, and the premises are heavily monitored, warns Scaldaferri.
And while Mattress Recycling is their name, the company recycles more than old beds. “We take furniture, mattresses, box springs, futons, office chairs, clothing, shoes, and car seats,” said Scaldaferri. They also take most household appliances, batteries, and metals. The larger furniture items are $10 a piece, and a car seat costs $5 to recycle, but most of the small items are free to recycle.
The site will also be home to B.C.’s newest Recycle BC depot, where residents can drop off their household glass, plastics, and paper products, among others.
“I’m very environmentally minded,” Scaldaferri explained. “We have an electric car … the (facility) is fully electric and has zero emissions. Waste never goes anywhere.”
Which is why 100 per cent of the products that enter Mattress Recycling are repurposed into something such as carpet underlay or cotton batting: and what can’t be reduced and recycled is sold to concrete companies and used as fuel.
“As consumers we need to demand (continuously this sort of) post-recycling content … because otherwise, businesses will just do what’s easiest,” said Scaldaferri.
To learn more about Mattress Recycling, please visit their webpage at MattressRecycling.ca, or stop by their new location in Hope, at 1046 4th Avenue.