Boomerang is a new recycling project based in Ballyvolane Cork that deconstructs post-consumer mattresses in order to divert for re-use or recycling. Boomerang also provides local employment for a Project Manager and currently 6 TUS Scheme Workers.
The initiative is an 18-month start-up under Cork Environment Forum supported by the EPA, Cork City and County Councils, SMILE Resource Exchange, Cork City Partnership, the Health Action Zone and community members.
The Project Manager, Paul Kelly, commenced with the project in March 2014 along with initially 3 TUS Scheme Workers through Cork City Partnership. There are now 6 TUS Scheme workers employed at the Project.
Since then there has been a transformation of the disused unit into a fully functioning workplace, thanks to the hard work of the team and the donations of furniture and equipment from funders but also from industry such as DePuy and Tus Geal.
The collaboration and work of the oversight steering group has resulted in this project being set-up and operational in a short time. These include Mary Walsh, Nuala Stewart and Elmarie McCarthy from Cork City Council, Carmel Murray, TUS Coordinator, Cork City Partnership, Michelle Green, SMILE Resource Exchange, Joanne McNamara, HSE Farranree Health Action Zone, Mary Stack and Enda Kiernan, Cork County Council and Derry O’Farrell representing the Farranree Community and one of the trainees on a CEF Global Action Plan training in 2012 where the seed of such a project was first planted.
Key supporters of the project to date have been Keiron Phillips, Programme Manager with the EPA Green Business and John Scally, Eco-Mattress, Dublin and Chairperson of the Community Reuse Network Ireland. The city and county councils have strongly backed the project with support, funding and contributions in kind.
However, a key ingredient to the success of the project is in sourcing post-consumer mattresses and the furniture retail stores are vital in this regard. Already a number of furniture stores and others have become clients including New Furniture Store, All in One Interiors, Jackson Furniture , Square Deal, Vienna Woods Hotel and UCC. It is
hoped that in the future the number of retailers using the project will increase as they see the benefit of disposing of these bulky waste items in a responsible and transparent way through the Boomerang Project.
The mattresses are deconstructed and stripped down. The materials sorted in their various component parts – for example springs can be re-use where suitable or recycled and wood from the bases will be re-used or chopped into kindling and sold.
It is hoped that the Boomerang project will discover new ways to recycle component parts of mattresses, particularly the textiles which range from horsehair, to foam, polyester and cotton. This could include the production of geotextiles for automotive insulation, padded envelopes or as new mattress textiles.
Boomerang is an example of doing the right thing with regard to such waste materials which in fact are valuable resources and there is a need for more practical initiatives like Boomerang that divert waste into re-use and recycling and have social, environmental and economic benefits.