Park City Green, a mattress recycling division
As a division of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc. PCG is dedicated to mattress recycling under the state of Connecticut’s Mattress Recycling Law passed in 2013 and implemented in 2015. This social impact venture started as “proof of concept” that mattress recycling could and would work as a mechanism for increasing the state’s recycling rates, addressing the high unemployment rates in Bridgeport, especially among returning citizens, and reducing the municipal financial burden of mattress and box-spring disposal. We were the first mattress recycling facility in the Northeast and we have grown from recycling 1,000 units a month to over 6,000 per month as of Fiscal Year 2020-21.
PCG was created in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) through its support of social impact ventures overseen by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, Oregon. The City of Bridgeport supported the project through its CDBG funding for renovation of adequate warehouse space. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection brought in Terry McDonald, St. Vincent de Paul’s long-time Executive Director and experienced creator and operator of dozens of social impact ventures, all based on materials diverted from the waste stream, to help develop expertise and legislation concerning mattress recycling. Terry assisted us in financing this new operation, helping us design the workflow, hiring and training workers, guiding us in reaching out to find markets for recycled materials, and in any other domain touching on the administration and production of the operation. Indeed, through RWJ he financed the travel of our operations manager and supervisor out to his operations in California, so they could see and feel how mattress recycling is managed and operated.
The opening celebration and ribbon-cutting on June 27th, 2012 featured Mayor Bill Finch, CT Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty along with many other distinguished guests, business and community leaders.
Connecticut’s Mattress Recycling Law was passed in May 2013 and went into effect on May 1st, 2015. At this writing, 6 years later, we have deconstructed more than 350,000 mattresses and are equipped to deconstruct 6,000 per month going forward. GBCE’s territory includes Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven Counties, as well as parts of Hartford County. As the program builds in providing services to more and more municipalities, institutions such as universities and hospitals, retailers and hotels we will continue to build our capacity which we hope to increase over the next years.
PCG workers deconstruct mattresses and box springs to recuperate, segregate and bale the deconstructed products such as wood, metal, foam, cotton/fiber for sale into the commodities markets. At present we employ 20 workers and expect to increase this number as the volume increases with more municipalities and organizations signing up for mattress and box springs disposal services.
Park City Green: A “Quadruple Bottom Line” Social Impact Venture
- Park City Green is a sustainable business, deconstructing mattresses and box springs and recycling the metal, foam, cotton, and wood. As we move toward maximum capacity, we will recycle more than 100,000 mattresses a year, removing a whopping 2,300 tons from the solid waste stream.
- Park City Green will hire an additional 5-10 Second-Chance community members and other low-income unemployed local residents, offering them a way to become economically self-sufficient, support their families, and discontinue public benefits.
- Employees will invest in goods and services in their communities enhancing economic development benefits of our growing enterprise.
- Park City Green will save municipalities as much as $15-20 per mattress in disposal costs, helping cash-strapped cities and towns save money.