The Recycled Mattress Project at Hutchinson Correctional Facility

The Recycled Mattress Project at Hutchinson Correctional Facility

Inmates at the Kansas prison help reduce landfill waste by recycling old mattresses!
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Kansas state prisons get prisoners to help the community through mattress #recycling program. via @Greenopolis
Monday, May 3, 2010 - 10:55am


The guy in this picture is named Philip Barker. He’s an inmate at Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Kansas. In his spare time (which he has a lot of) he gets to dismantle, cut up and pull apart salvaged mattresses. He’s part of a new project, created by the Kansas state prison system, which aims to get minimum-custody inmates involved in recycling efforts.

So, what exactly is this Kansas prison project? In a nutshell, the state recognized that mattresses were taking up massive amounts of landfill space, so the prison decided to do something about it. A prison truck picks up old mattresses from surrounding landfills, brings them back to the prison, and then Philip and his other team members begin the recycling process.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a great idea to me!

After reading the article on I’d have to say that there are 3 main goals that the recycling project wants to achieve:

  1. It wants to be the first of its kind in the state of Kansas.

  2. It hopes to reduce the amount of landfill space that the mattresses take up…which is a lot.

  3. It aims to “give back” to the community by providing salvaged products like steel springs, foam and wood (which are then recycled into stuff like carpet padding and construction material).

This is a brand new project for the Kansas prison, so only 3 inmates have been commissioned to be a part of the recycling team. However, despite its infancy, it seems to be a success so far! Outside organizations like New Beginnings, which provides housing for displaced citizens, have already donated 40 mattresses to the prison, and surrounding counties are already in talks of getting their landfill mattresses picked up by the prison.

Apparently this isn’t the prison’s first environmental initiative. The prisoners have been recycling waste, turning prison blues into quilts and making reclaimed wooden children’s toys for years! Warden Sam Cline even said that the facility was recognized twice by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for being the No. 1 "Green Team" among 157 state agencies.

I’m so happy that Hutchinson is implementing this project! I love the idea of getting inmates involved in recycling efforts. What do you think about it? is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis recycling kiosks and with curbside recycling programs.