Instead of being dumped in a landfill, on Saturday a semi-trailer full of box springs and mattresses headed out of Winona and toward a recycling center where they’ll be made into a plethora of different items.  

That’s because on Saturday the Winona State University’s Environmental Club and an Environmental Chemistry class held Winona County’s first mattress and recycling drive where students gathered more than 100 mattresses from local residents.  

By the end of the event, the semi-trailer they were being stored in was nearly at capacity.  

“A lot of people were like ‘holy cats’ when they looked at the semi-trailer,” WSU Chemistry Professor Jeanne Franz said with a laugh. “It was pretty impressive to see how many mattresses and box springs were being diverted from the landfill.”  

Franz, who guided the students in planning the event since late January, said it was a great way for students to learn about the circular nature of economy while making an impact in an area they were passionate about. 

The recycled mattresses and box springs which headed over to 7 Rivers Recycling in Onalaska, will be made into new products, including the foam backing on carpets, landscape fabric, and a whole gamut of products with the recycled metal. 

Franz said it was team effort between WSU students, the WSU Office of Sustainability, Winona County Environmental Services, and Minnesota State College Southeast, as well as was a fun worthwhile experience for students.  

“They were all upbeat and having a great time,” Franz said. 

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Tesla Mitchell

Named after the 80's rock band, Tesla Mitchell has a decade of experience covering local news and features as a journalist in Winona. A Saint Mary's University alumna, Tesla graduated with a bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in political science and entrepreneurship. During her free time, Tesla enjoys organizing block parties, being a super mom and an avid heavy weightlifter.