Monday, September 5, 2011

Mattress, TV and Computer Dumping

The laneways in Mt. Pleasant have become chronic dumping sites for old televisions, mattresses, other electronics, and broken furniture and clothes.

The city has washed its hands of picking up bulky items from residents, so there's currently no help there. Personally, I think the health and environmental needs of the city would warrant having these large and fairly dangerous items picked up as part of city service. Having regular pickup dates by the city would also be the most efficient way to deal with them. However, if we want that kind of service restored, it will presumably require a householders' campaign directed at city council.

At present, there is a patchwork of drop-off points where we are supposed to take different kinds of items. For mattresses, the city has now imposed a $20 per mattress drop-off fee. According to Vancouver's solid waste website:

The City will NOT pick up your old mattress or appliance. Vancouver residents can drop off a maximum of 4 mattresses and boxsprings at the Vancouver Transfer Station at 377 West Kent Avenue North. A $20 per unit piece applies to cover the cost of recycling. Residents may also drop off up to 8 mattresses and box spring at the Vancouver Landfill in Delta, where the same $20 per piece fee applies.

Dropping off mattresses will of course require use of a truck - something not too many people have these days. This has opened up a private sector recycling opportunity for people who do have trucks. Canadian Mattress Recycling on Annacis Island in Delta only charges $12 per mattress recycling fee, but they charge $60 pickup in the lower mainland. The pickup fee covers up to ten mattresses at a time.

If you'd like to keep a mattress that is suspected to have bedbugs instead of throwing it in the lane, you can buy a bedbug-proof mattress cover. In Mt. Pleasant, Parker's Mattress Factory Store sells both the bug-proof covers and new mattresses.

Televisions are an especially obnoxious thing to find in the lane. Often after they sit there a week or more, someone will find it irresistible to kick or batter them to pieces, leaving not only glass debris but also Electronic circuit boards, batteries and color cathode ray tubes (CRTs) that can contain lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium. If properly recycled, they can yield a harvest of plastic, steel, glass, and even precious metals.

In Mt. Pleasant, our nearest electronics recycling location for both televisions and all kinds of computers and computer accessories is the Salvation Army's 12th Avenue Thrift Store: 261 E. 12th Avenue.,261+E+12th+Ave,+Vancouver,+BC+V5T+3L1&gl=ca&ei=XxtlTrCRAs7diALo3PTKCg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ8gEwAA

This Salvation Army Thrift Store electronics recycling centre is tricky to get to - it's actually behind the Vancouver Recovery Club, and you have to go through the laneway north of 12th to get to the drop-off location.

However, the good news is that you can drive a vehicle into a paved area inside the fence, so it's not far to carry your items. There is a separate bay for electronics recycling drop-off, and the caretaker there tends to be irritable if you don't put your own drop-off items in the correct pile or bin. TVs were going into a bin when I was there last time.


  1. The city does have trucks going into the laneways weekly to pick up the blue apartment recycling bins. They could also be picking up TVs and mattresses on the same run.

  2. At present, there is a patchwork of drop-off points where we are supposed to take different kinds of items