'About 90 percent of the mattress can be recycled'

      EUGENE, Ore. -- Whether it has rips or the springs don't offer the same support they used to, St. Vincent de Paul has made a business out of deconstructing your old mattress.

      "It's a business we've created both here and in California," said Terry McDonald, the executive director of St. Vincent de Paul. "Between the two facilities we deconstruct and recycle about 180 to 200,000 mattresses per year. We're the largest mattress recycler in the United States."

      McDonald said it all starts with stripping down the old mattresses and separating the parts. The foam topper and polyurethane are sent to be used as carpet padding while the cotton is sent back to the auto industry and the steel is sent back to the steel industry.

      "There are some odd little bits in the mattress, so about 90 percent of the mattress can be recycled," McDonald said.

      Oftentimes the box springs are still in good shape, so they use them as the foundation to rebuild mattresses. From creating the padding to sewing upholstery, the finished product looks as good as new. Over the last five years St. Vincent de Paul created nearly 300 jobs through their recycling program.

      "You've got a rebuilt box spring and mattress at a fraction of the cost but very high quality," said McDonald. "The whole point of it is we need to make long term sustainable jobs."