MATTRESSES are being dumped at an alarming rate across the Hunter, prompting a regional push to have the bedding recycled.
An estimated 35,000 mattresses are dumped in the Hunter each year – about 500 a month in Lake Macquarie alone – and Hunter Resource Recovery is taking steps to stop them being dumped on the side of the road and in landfill.
Hunter Resource Recovery manager Roger Lewis said mattresses took up a lot of landfill space and damaged tip machinery.
Plans are under way to start a regional mattress collection program, where a contractor would remove the bedding from council dump sites with the aim of recycling some whole mattresses and parts of others.
Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens and Singleton are working with Hunter Resource Recovery on a draft plan that would have the councils jointly tender for the collection process.
Mr Lewis said he hoped a recycling program was operating as soon as possible.
‘‘There will be a percentage [of mattresses] that will be hygienically cleaned and recovered and put back into circulation for charities to use,’’ he said.
The Herald has reported that mountains of mattresses are being dumped illegally in the Hunter, costing ratepayers thousands of dollars.
Newcastle City Council, which receives about 60 mattresses a month at its Summerhill waste centre, will hold a mattress muster on Saturday, June 30, at Tighes Hill TAFE car park, where people will be able to recycle their old mattresses for free.