People in Calgary recycle lots of things. Each house has 2 carts: a black one for all regular garbage and a blue cart for recyclables.

Unfortunately, there are lots of things that could be recycled but are not accepted in the blue carts. Wire hangers for example. And mattresses.

We had been talking about changing our mattress for months. Eventually we found one we both liked at a good price. The salesman at Sears told us they could remove our old mattress for $25 extra. My husband wanted to keep it so we declined.

Of course when the new mattress arrived, he realized we had no space in our apartment to store it so it went to the garage. When it became evident it was just collecting dust, we listed it in Kajiji for free. Nobody called.

I did a little research and learnt mattresses are almost 100% recyclable. Awesome! Except there are no recyclers in Calgary. Back to square 1.

I checked with the city what to do with that mattress. Do people in need actually need a mattress?

Back home in the developing world, the homeless and every charity will take a used mattress. Alas! There is always some catastrophe going on so they are always needed for displaced people. The homeless would very happily accept a newer mattress to replace the ugly ones they have.

But Calgary is located in the developed world, where the homeless have a hot meal every day and never starve. The country where they don't sleep in the streets even in Summer.

Therefore, nobody takes used mattresses. Charities don't want them even if they are in good conditions (I understand the hygiene issues, be seriously...)

What to do then?

Take it to the dump

So we gathered more garbage the collectors wouldn't take even if recyclable, borrowed a truck and off we went.

The only dumps I had seen were in photos or from far away. Even far away the smell was unbearable. Spyhill Landfill was very different.

First the smell. Yes, there was some but nothing compared to a normal landfill. It is super organized. If you don't have a good vehicle, you can dump your garbage in containers. Otherwise they send you to throw your trash in the general pile. There are sectors for different kinds of garbage and, hopefully, some is recycled. Or disposed of properly.



As usual in landfills, you can meet your regular band of seagulls (should I say Flock of Seagulls and give away my age?). Those guys looked creepy, facing the wind, waiting for the next batch of organic trash (organic is not supposed to be there, not sure if seagulls know that).



On the way out they charge you based on how much garbage you threw (scale is at the entrance). For pretty much the same price Sears would charge us (also considering the gas to get to the landfill) we got rid of the mattress and a lot more garbage.

Not our garbage

We wished someone would have used the mattress instead of dumping it. But I guess that in the first world some needs as not needs at all.