Things you’ll learn in this episode of the BS With Bob Schmidt Podcast.
1- Very few mattresses are recycled, and 7 rivers recycling is one of the few who do.
2- If you have an idea of what to use some of the items from a mattress for, and you contact 7 Rivers Recycling, they will send you that material for shipping costs.
3- When we look at sustainability it’s usually the 3-P’s people, planet, and profit Brian adds a fourth P which is pleasure. The mindset of not wasting things.
Find Brian Tippetts here:
Transcript of BS With Bob Schmidt Podcast “ E2 Brian Tippetts social entrepreneurship and recycling”
It is not very often that you get a chance to actually talk to somebody that actually talks trash. I’ve been doing talk radio for many years now trying my hand at podcasting but my next guest is a guy that’s been talking trash for over 30 years. Brian Tippetts from Seven Rivers recycling. I had Brian on my radio program quite a bit ago and we were talking about the act that 7 Rivers Recycling is the only state of Wisconsin recycler of mattresses and to me that was kind of bizarre that you were the only one. But the thing is that you guys are in a small town on the west side of the state. How does a company that you know in Onalaska Wisconsin become the state’s only recycler of mattresses.
Bob, I love that question and when it comes to talking trash I don’t talk smack but I do talk trash. Why western Wisconsin why La Crosse which is one of the smaller areas in the state when you consider Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay etc.. There are a number reasons. One is certainly we have the aptitude at our business to do those things. But a more important reason is La Crosse disposal system. The La Crosse County landfill realized how expensive it really was to landfill mattresses. They have a lot of volume very little weight. They subsidize everyone they bury and that’s that. That doesn’t make sense. We’re not going to do that. So they put a surcharge on mattresses that they thought started to approximate the real cost of burying them once they did that. That creates the economic economic model to recycle those. And economics can drive this. We don’t need regulation but we do need landfills to subsidize the burial of that recyclable resource and La Crosse County was a first in the state to really pick that up and that’s really laid the groundwork for us to step into this.
Brian, I know that you got what you guys are doing is not unique to the market because they know that Minnesota’s got a couple. Some other states have some mattress cycling as well. Is it different recycling in the state of Wisconsin than it is recycling in Minnesota or Illinois or another state.
Yeah, a lot of the national laws aren’t national laws and all their state level laws. And in Minnesota they’ve had sizable grants. I know of a couple that are over a couple hundred thousand dollars to initiate mattress recycling at the same time they’ve done the same thing. La Crosse county has done and created large surcharges on the burial of mattresses. So it really lays the economic groundwork to make it happen give a large grant and surcharge mattresses going into landfills. Wisconsin doesn’t have any grant money for this but one landfill did start to surcharge.
What is the cost?
I mean if I were to bring a mattress to the landfill today what would it cost me to drop my mattress?
La Crosse County landfill that charging 15 and you can use the math case that the real cost is over 20 dollars. But they are charging 15 you can bring that mattress to us for the same 15 so there’s no benefit to the individual. But the county also has boxes for you take. Put the mattresses in. And they charge you 15 to recycle it or 15 to throw it out. And the average homeowner. Almost every homeowner will recycle it versus throwing it out even though there’s not an economic incentive. We also have a preferred rate for commercial recyclers. Those that have hundreds of them that’s much less than 15. And so those that hand a lot of mattresses. There is an economic incentive to use US versus bearing it.
Well let me ask the difference then between you know obviously if I’m recycling my own personal mattress it’s 15 dollars but I’m a hotel getting new beds now or a hospital purchasing new beds. Is there obviously a break for those. Sure.
What we do if you are like a hospital or motel or a prison we’ll take all those for 12 50 you deliver him you help unload them. So there’s a break there and we help you work on transportation as well Oxford prison had a bundle of mattresses and they were all twins and very small and very quick to operate. We’re apt actually able to go below 12 50 when we analyze the cost but they were all smaller mattresses and very easy to work with.
Now OK bring up a point because there’s different mattresses there’s children’s mattresses that you’d have in a in a crib. And then a twin and then a double than a queen. A King that a super king. I mean is it not.
Is it 15 15 15 15 it’s 15 for everything unless you have a huge quantity of the exact same thing. OK. And then we can do a cost analysis. What’s it take to take years apart and when there’s a large quantity Juja to their hotels or like an institution like a prison.
So all right you’ve got the mattress. Brian seven members recycle. You brought it in there you got it there. Now a second you’ve got 84 mattresses lined up.
What happens next. Nice guys take those and lay those on a table and then they fillet them like you might play a fish. They take a knife and they cut around the sides and you peel that back somewhat like when you pull back the covers on a bed and you have the ticking. Then you have the foam typically you have something we call mattress felt that protects the foam from the springs underneath and below that and around that. Then you also have the wood. And so the farm’s recyclable steels recyclable the wood’s recyclable the mattress felt we struggle with that and we’ve got a lot of creative uses for mattress. Felton we’re looking for entrepreneurs to come alongside of us to do more things with the mattress felt that is a nice resource it comes. It looks like a blanket it looks like a movers blanket. It’s used as insulation underneath carpet in cars. It’s been used as landscaping fabric at the YMCA food force as an example there was just a lot of things carpenters can use it as a contractors. Painters can use it. If you’re walking across your yard when it’s wet when you’re moving in or out of the house you don’t want to track that stuff in your house you can use it like a piece carpet and you can reuse it or you can throw up when you’re done.
So when you throw it out. I mean is that what you guys do with it then cause you haven’t found a true place to recycle it and then do you take that bring it to the landfill and get rid of it or what we haven’t had to do that yet we’re accumulating it and we’re giving it away.
We’re wrapping it into plastic bundles and giving it away trying to create a market but it comes to a point when there’s just so much you can do if those Felts are damaged if the springs. Over the decades have war through the felt and it’s wholly we throw all that out. But I would say most of them are in really good shape.
So, Brian obviously you’ve got a ton of these. There’s other states that are doing this. What have they done with their Madras Felts and they’re taking in there you know there are pieces that you guys have for the mattress felt they throw it away they do.
And the reason is there’s the International Sleep Products Association has a sister organization called mattress recycling council who hired Georgia Tech to find out what you could do with the mattress felt. And so they contacted us and they said we’re the only place that they found by doing internet searches that has a use for the mattress felt. And this is what you do with it. And what they found is using his landscaping fabric because we worked at the YMCA on their project that got in the newspaper so they are able to find that. And that was the report back is that the only use that they had found at that point in time. And so the rest of the places they contacted and you could be listed at the mattress recycling Council’s website for free as a mattress recycler and so they contacted all of those and they told us we’re the only one that they found had found a use for the material.
So what does that make you feel like being you know from like we talked about earlier being from a small town in the western side of the state of Wisconsin to be the only one in the country that has an actual true recycling program for your mattresses.
Well part of that is our mindsets different is I look at and I don’t know of all the Mattress recyclers in the country and there’s only about 40 by the way. But most of those come from. From a social entrepreneur. Working with people with troubled backgrounds or from a business perspective not from a waste and recycling perspective we’re the only one I know that that’s really been our background is waste and recycling so we come into it how can we do this from an environmental sustainable resource perspective. That’s just our background first. How can we find labor for disadvantaged people and then we do that as well. But our angles a little different so our mindset is different in how we approach things is a little different and I think that makes it easier for us to find those alternative uses interesting.
I know that that when we spoke on my radio program you talked about the fact that you’re looking for people to come up with an idea and he called it what social entrepreneurship Yes and what after we spoke I know that I had a hard time sleeping that night and the next night and the night after because my mind was thinking what you were sleeping on it literally really was sleeping on it because I thought that you are sleeping on it.
Yeah I’ve got it it’s a whole matter. The Mattress joke.
But you know but I mean I really didn’t think of a lot of different ways that it could be used. But then you know you wonder is it is it was is it machine washable. Can I throw it in the washing machine and will it hold together.
Good question. I don’t think it is. I really don’t think it is. Some of them might be but I wouldn’t want to do that. These things when I’ve used them as a movers blanket they work really well but if you get caught on a sharp edge of furniture and you just jerk it you’ll rip a hole in it. It doesn’t have the integrity of a quilted movers blanket. When you lay down the ground on your walk on it it seems like it holds up for a long time but if someone is standing on it and you give it a really hard pull you can start trying to pull the rug out from underneath.
You do that in your report.
So I think in a washing machine I don’t know how it would hold up but think of this material is that it is wrapped it’s in the interior of the mattress. There’s a ticking on top. There’s eight inches of foam on top. And then you have this mattress. And then the springs it’s been sealed up until you take it out and we find most the dirt that we get on it comes from the dust in the storage we have to wrap it up in plastic. After around a month you pull amounts of these things are dusty. How’d that happen. Oh it’s from the factory dust it’s not from the mattress itself.
You know I was wondering about that too because if you’re cutting this out of a mattress and we all know that weird things happen in mattresses you know I mean from spills to other stains.
Do you have to worry about that seeping through to some of the stuff on the quilting on the outside. Yes I think that’s an issue in the form you do with that stuff. If it’s attached to foam and most of it is we can recycle that with the foam and then the factory separates it. That would send it to separates that out. And I think when they get the actual ticking they separate that and the foam and that probably gets disposed of but those that are just straight ticking we don’t have a use for those either but that’s a very small percentage. And that’s the stuff that can scare people that’s the stuff that can have the stains and whatnot on it or other things you’re concerned with that if it’s touched the foam gets recycled. If it’s not attached to foam it gets thrown out that we’re not selling. OK.
Now is that difference from a right. Is it different with a one sided mattress because it seems like a lot of the newer mattresses are one sided compared to a two sided like the old school mattresses. Is it is. Are they built the same way there.
I think if I recall correctly the four largest manufacturers of mattresses produce something like a huge percentage 70 percent. I’m kind of making up these numbers. But to give you the idea. Four hundred eighty seven thousand percent. It’s weird. Yeah yeah. Just a few companies make most of the mattress. But there and I don’t know the numbers are there but there’s a huge number of companies that make the rest of the mattresses. So there’s a huge number it’s a small percentage but a huge variety of mattresses. Having said that they basically all use ticking whether it’s top or bottom foam and springs and a lot more don’t have springs anymore but springs and they have a frame. And so there’s that. You do have the the I can’t think of the word right now where did the mattress that you press in memory foam memory foam you get the memory foam which is different than its lower value.
But we have a market for that as well. But.
Mattresses are pretty much mattresses that they do their job. And we have uses for the material. Interesting so that the the fellow that you’re talking about I know that that’s a piece that you have a lot of.
I mean if people are listening right now and have an idea of what they can do with it they can contact us right now and it’s free and get some of this stuff. But what does that made of. I know that when I looked at it it looks to me like it was at one time a carpet padding or something like it looks a lot like a carpet padding.
It is the insulation material underneath the carpet in your car for soundproofing. It’s a synthetic product it’s either polyurethane more likely polypropylene type material. It’s a mottled gray coloured thing in it.
When you look at it looks a lot like a blanket because it kind of is. Has it changed over the years.
There’s some are more rigid or stiff in France if you’re on a piece of linoleum or a wood floor when you go to move your foot most of it moves kind of in one piece because it’s rigid enough even though it folds like a blanket. Some of it is really soft. It is very much like a blanket. And so when you go to move it in your foot to slide it on the floor it will wash up like a tarp normally does. And I found if you have something can slide on like a floor if you’re doing your modeling in your home. It’s so easy to move around the room is one piece. It’s not as rigid as a piece of cardboard but that makes it easy to move around as you’re moving on your project right now.
Now when we talked earlier about not being able to be in a washing machine. Have you thought about doing any shredding of it and using it as blown insulation in different rooms and stuff like that.
Well one of the uses of this which we think might be the best use it might be an industry game changer.
Maybe I shouldn’t say on the radio or podcast but I will and that is layering that material to make an archery target backstop so when you shoot the target arrow into the materialyou’re not hitting it on its on its face but on the edge. So you lay up all these like you’d lay up like Princess and the pea with all these layers of blankets you lay up all these mattress felt like this. Put it in a frame and then you have tension put on its wood tightens down. And what we found out is that the arrow doesn’t go very far and you can pull it out with two fingers very easily and it does damage the material. And so you can shoot shoot and shoot and shoot. And in one little target 200 times you can shoot and spot. It’s like wow we’ve not damaged the material and the Arrow comes out earlier it would compete with the product where you have to wrap your whole hand all your fingers around the shaft of the arrow and pole using muscle. Big difference. And the expert working with says instead of using a foot thick. Backstop let’s cut it to six inches and we haven’t done that yet because we think six inches might be enough and you can adjust the tension depending on the frame you’re in to hold this right. That would be a phenomenal use for this. And but our company we’re into getting old mattresses disassembling those and selling those as commodities. We’re looking for an entrepreneur to come alongside of us to buy those as a commodity and start selling those so we can keep them out of the landfill.
Right now when it comes to actually using the pieces that you guys have so you take the mattresses and you charge 15 dollars to do that you cut them off you take the pieces off you recycle those so basically your company sells those pieces are that commodity to another company that uses that to make it into like these chairs that were sitting on or the back of the computer or something.
Well for instance the wood goes gets sold to be made into mulch still goes to go into a foundry and they make whatever steel they make out of that right. And the foam gets thrown up and used carpet backing. We don’t do that next step. We supply those materials for that next step.
The mattress felt who knows what that will end up being used. We’re using it and reusing it as a blanket of sorts. But there’s a lot of things that could come. Art projects. Who knows.
Right. Well it’s pretty cool. One of the other projects or products too that we’ve talked about when you were on with a radio show was that you had this coconut.
Yeah we’ve got coconut core. OK Koken. So what part of the mattress is that. Well I don’t know the exact time frame but I’m guessing in the 60s.
OK. Some companies instead of using the felt used coconut material and those of us that have doormats that are kind of bristly. A lot of times that’s a coconut material. And that’s what this is.
Or years ago when they do we control on the highway projects they’d lay down these mats of coconut or they’d roll them up and they’d be like a log for erosion control. Today they use like a nylon netting and they put straw in their coconut.
I understand it’s a superior product but it’s very expensive so they’ve gone to a cheaper material which is the nylon webbing with straw.
We’ve got hundreds of these coconut logs or coconut mats that getting many new mattresses with that in it so it’s probably a limited supply.
But it also flour baskets when you buy a flour basket and you see that that fibrous material not not this not the mosque not the Spanish moss but this other material it’s probably coconut and that’s what we have and we’re looking to move that as well.
And that’s just one of these products too that if you’re looking for a social entrepreneur somebody to come up with an idea for that. So if somebody is listening to this podcast right now and they say you know what. I’ve got a million I’m just like Bob I stayed up all night thinking about this I slept on it. Here’s a great idea. Contact Seven Rivers Recycling.
How do we how do people reach you guys you can. There’s a couple of ways you can go to the Web site which might be easy to put in your memory. You don’t have to write it down.
www.7riversrecycling.com 7 Rivers recycling dot com or you can call me (608)-781-0257 they could write to my phone. But you can google seven rivers recycling and you’ll find us and a number of spots. Excellent. Would you see that number was again (608)-781-0257.
I mean now with that does that end up breaking down because I because I took the piece you gave me before and a put Grassie down over some pressure over some fresh topsoil and I put that over the top of it and I figured OK grass roots and grass has certain started to grow but will that eventually erode it. Not a road but will it eventually break down.
Yes. In fact I tried it myself. Nevermind had a new septic system put in so I decided to put this down in his yard and I planted. There was grass seed planted underneath it but this was tight enough I wasn’t sure the grass would grow through and that’s why I also planted some grass seed on top and a notice through the summer that the grass was growing where the coconut was greener and more rigorous vigorous rigorous than the other grass and I think is because it helped keep moisture in the soil.
I think that’s what it was and they went back months later and I could still find some of the in there but you could tell it was already breaking down and then it went back a year later after he’d gone through the winter and I can’t find it it’s gone. So it does break down. I would say in less than a year depending on the environmental conditions but it breaks down now with the felt that you guys have as well.
I mean if you’re use and using that it’s an erosion control or as a place to basically put her on trees to keep the weeds from popping up that all that will also allow moisture to go through there but not things to pop and that will block the plants from popping up but will not.
It will also. It will let the moisture go through its landscaping fabric. I’ve used it with without material on top of it with mulch on top with rocks on top. I’ve not and have also laid it up bare bare and I did it an area where we walked that was dirt in over a period of nine months after sculpting with feet walking back and forth on a path.
Plants did start to grow through. But it’s basically is where your heels caught and ripped it up. Over time we’ve laid it with rocks on top of it. No it hasn’t come through and I would expect commercially purchased landscaping fabric would be the same way if you’re walking on top of it directly as part of a path that used multiple times a day. Eventually you’re going to break through it.
Brian this is very interesting stuff. I guess I find it very interesting. That’s why I wanted to talk with you about this stuff but how did you guys even think about it. Obviously the breakdown but how did you how did you think that you could take that and end up making money for your company. I mean obviously there’s a grant that came in but how did Gene how did you know what the price was going to be. Well first of all we’d never have received a grant.
Oh you did. OK so those in Minnesota received grants. We’ve never received a grant. We’d love to receive a grant but Wisconsin and others don’t offer that.
First of all comes the mindset you look at the material in a site. This clearly is a resource that has value. Just look at and you just innately know that. And when you find out nobody’s doing stuff with it it’s like that’s wrong and you look at the option as landfilling it that’s really wrong it’s just it just strikes you as wrong. We don’t want to do this. And so he’s thinking what can we do with this. And you start looking what others have done in for instance the mattress belt. You start googling that and you find you can get something very much like it that you can purchase on the Internet. That’s new that’s like wow people pay a lot of money for that. But this is used are old anyway. And so you are cycling in. Yeah yeah. And it’s just it’s just wrong to throw away something that has a used to it. People might say you that came from a mattress that slept on.
Well the why are you drinking today wasn’t always water fresh water. It propagate filtered through some dinosaur’s kidneys or something it sometime stopped part of the cyclical nature of life.
Well I remember a fourth grade we had a water person come in and talk to our fourth grade class. This was 40 years ago and he said that the water that you showered with today what did he say. He said a zebra drank it years ago. Yeah and I mean that’s 40 years ago and in fourth that I remember that you know. So you’re right. I mean misstep just all it does. It is the ultimate recycling. How has the garbage industry changed. You said you’ve been doing this since the 80s. How is the garbage industry changed in 30 plus years.
Wow. It’s changed so much. Before waste was looked at as a waste. Just get it out of town get rid of it put somewhere and turn your back on it. I think there’s a mindset shift that waste really is a low value or overlooked resource. If you waste it that’s exactly what you’ve done you’ve wasted it. And should you be wasting it. And we also realize whether it’s a petroleum product or even wood that there’s energy and cost tied up with it. When we look at sustainability it’s people planet profit and I add a fourth P which is party or pleasure. You need the funding what you’re doing as well. But anyhow when you look at those low value resources i.e. waste you know what can we do that benefits society. What can we do that benefits people and how can we make money on it. And a lot of times we look at very short term costs for instance using Petro petroleum today. There’s an abundance of petroleum we may think of new ways of getting it but we’re not making more of that. And so we don’t look at the cost in this year what the cost perhaps be in 10 years. And why should we put in. There’s just amenities there’s aesthetic cost. Why should we tear down or put a tear down a bluff to get frac sand that you haul out of state so you can mine more you know get more of those resources and I’m not saying we shouldn’t do some of that. But wouldn’t it be better to use the research that we have in hand first. The mindset of not wasting things right.
Well you mentioned a low value resource. I had never heard that term before and with garbage I would think that it’s not. It’s not always a low value look at aluminum cans you look at the steel. You know that you look at a lot of that stuff that we used to throw away all the time. That’s now being recycled and being used so I mean is that still considered low value the recycled pieces.
If someone puts a diamond ring in their trash and someone else finds that they’re going to say that’s not a low value resource but it was handled as one. And so when people put their aluminum cans in the trash they’re handling it as a low value resource and lots of aluminum cans get thrown in the trash. Now in La Crossee market there’s another side of this story. We do have curbside programs that take aluminum cans and there’s more value in that you know 30 cents a pound or whatever it is today 50 cents a pound you can get for your aluminum cans. But in our marketplace they end up going to Xcel Energy which is the refuge derived fuel plant which means they process all the trash the low value resource and they have even though it’s aluminum. They have an eddy current system that puts electrical charge through the trash they can pull out those little cans and they still get recycled or you throw in the trash. The point is they were handled as a low value resource. We still extracted those. They should be handled as a higher value resource and people throw away things that do have a higher value but they’re treating them as lower value than they are.
Okay so that makes sense I mean so as cars because seven rivers recycling is part of a bigger company that is the garbage collection right.
Seven Rivers is owned by two other companies. One of them is hilltop or refuse and recycling. And they do the trash hauling in the recycling hauling. The other one is DNN recycling who specializes in finding unique markets for industrial type recyclables but they also buy aluminum from the public.
So you basically you’re a conglomeration of a couple of different businesses that work together. See that’s another. Another piece to the puzzle that I didn’t even know. You know so I mean it’s pretty cool that you guys that you guys are all working together.
And those two what you might call parent companies have been doing this for over 30 years each and if you look at the years of experience of all the owners it’s hundreds of years. It’s amazing of the expertise that brought to bear on this. Well it’s because you’re old.
Yeah that’s right. I’ve not been recycled yet but so have you had any people Bryan that have called and said hey I’ve got an idea.
Besides the you know besides the archery. And besides you know I because I had that idea of cutting it and using it you know. I mean have you had many people call you with brilliant million dollar money making ideas.
I don’t recall that anyone’s call but I do recall many times in conversations where people have come up with ideas with the mattress felt a Kristiansand nursery’s said Oh my goodness if you could wrap those in a bowl to fit in a a like an iron basket for flowers we could buy all that you could make this we’re using coconut corn now which we also have. But that said sometimes that doesn’t blend into the sighting of the house like some homeowners like. Could we have those. And so we’d like an entrepreneur to make those and using the mattress felt as landscaping fabric was working with the Coulee Region ecoscapes Judd Steinbeck I believe throughout the idea of that and it was instrumental in making that happen at the YMCA. Now that’s been down for over a year has that as a broken down you know what has not. I was just down there in the last 10 days checking on it.
I mean I’m sure that’s some people are going to ask when they know when they have a chance to try it out.
Is it something that’s been able to be used or not that you can go down there and it’s right where they get some of the benches where people sit and you can get stone laid down so I went down there and pulled back all the stones and found the fault of the How’s that doing is doing great right.
Well I mean that is a pretty cool for you to get up in the morning to think that you know first of all the bed that I’m sleeping on eventually will become this this this and this. But then to say that you’re part of the part of the solution rather than part of the problem of getting these mattresses being buried.
It is cool. But on the other hand I think all of us in some measure step up to do something like that we start to get lost in what we do. But we all need to live a life that makes us a better place for the next generation that minimizes their impact on them.
So I popped on your guys website the number 7 rivers recycling dot com and I’m looking at some of the different things that you do that erase the white goods the light bulbs the the documents and whatnot. Now when you get the when you get documents do you actually you guys shred those or do you take the Shredding’s that people bring.
We do both. But primarily we’re used to shred those confidential documents and shred those and then recycle the shredding.
OK. So I mean do you guys charge by the pound for that or.
I mean how does that work or by the job. The ones we go to now we usually go to their place of business and pick those up and do the delivery and then the shredding. No.
I know from from from friends that have had recycle. I don’t know. They work for companies where they’ve had you know bins and asked people to bring things into recycle and whatnot and that that there’s some money in some of the waste stuff that’s out there. But there’s a lot of people that do what you guys do on the site. And you know in their garage they pull they pull the stuff up and then they end up with all this. You know they end up with the shells and the old monitor pieces that aren’t usable and things. What happens to those types of things.
There’s a lot of those have precious metals and those notes go to their own markets and we’re a collector we’re not a recycler of materials so we take that and then we take it to a processor would they do that dissembler you could do it in your garage. But then you have you took something has value because of those materials. But then you’re left with the rush to the scrap you have to get rid of. Nobody wants that because the values go on and the scrappers that I’m aware of that do that they take out the precious metals and then they throw away the rest in the trash or find someplace to get rid of. And that’s the problem because that still has some value but there’s a net cost to dealing with what’s left after you take out the precious parts right now.
OK. I’m sure that a lot of people are thinking right now. OK. It’s cost me 15 dollars to recycle a mattress I can just cut it apart and throw it away myself piece by piece over the you know over the wheel part you’ll see the work that you’ll say yeah it’s worth it.
Fifteen dollars some Tahnee of that right now. But is there a price is there a profit for that. I mean is or do you guys make money on that.
Well put it this way. We’ve been in business since 2014 disassembling mattresses the owners have made penny one really the money they’ve taken they’ve turned back into making the company better. We’ve got balers to buy. We have a forklift to buy. We have more equipment to buy. So we’re reinvesting all the money at this point. So we do it. We’re doing this because we want to make money but at this point we’re reinvesting everything.
I mean I’m sure that people are listening saying while they’re only doing that so they can make a buck but well yeah that’s one of the key things is we want to make a buck but at this point reinvesting all the money is that way is what people get into recycling because the front of both mine and yours Nick Nichols. He said that he got into recycling because he’s cheap and he recycles things because you know and he got into this stuff that he does because he’s basically wants to save a buck and he found well if I get paint from Brian and Bob gets rid of some paint and there’s this that and the other thing that somebody is going to just put out you know and I can take this and I could paint my house that I can put new windows in my home because this person getting rid of them. So I mean there’s a cost of doing goods or doing business with that too.
I know Nick Nichols and I think it’s more complicated than that for most of us and I think it isn’t. For Nick I think that might have been an additional motivator but I also know he really cares a lot about the planet as well and so he is a triple bottom line guy. You know he does it because he’s cheap.
He wants to profit or save money but he also does it because he likes to take care of this planet Earth. We’re on. It’s good to have all those people. I mean if you’re doing something and it makes no economic sense you can’t keep doing it. You got to make a buck. But when you start recycling it’s like I think I could go somewhere else and make more money than I’m doing this. But as you get good at it hopefully more money will come.
Right. And plus there’s a love for it too I can just tell. I know that from the couple of times that we spoke that you know you can tell that you’ve got a passion for the Mattress.
There’s a funny mindset to that there’s a sense of humor talking trash with some of the things you see or can talk about that I don’t want to say here but it’s just kind of fun. And when you find somebody else that says oh did you see that. Yeah I saw that. Yeah. Which is again is fun.
You know that’s excellent. Now I want to turn your attention to something different. I know that we’ve been talking about mattresses and recycling and the possibility for social entrepreneurs to come up with an idea to help you guys basically get rid of the you know the coconut. What do you call the coconut hole or the coconut corn. Why are or OK so the coconut corps and me and the feld. But the way that you and I originally found each other was through. Dan and I know that a lot of people are using LinkedIn in order to connect with business professionals in that. And I know that you’ve got three different groups that you that you will moderate. First of all how did you get into doing LinkedIn as again as a small business person out out of La Crosse Wisconsin.
Interesting on the LinkedIn connection I used to work for a company called Applied ecological services. There are nationally even internationally ecology company when they were using me to connect with landfills to restore those lands to natural ecosystems and when they found out I was doing consultive marketing that I wasn’t on LinkedIn I kind of got chastised. You need to do LinkedIn. I’m not a social media guy so to speak. So I got into LinkedIn and ended up getting pretty good at it and after I left there and started to work for Hilltoppers refuse and recycling and 7 Rivers recycling. I just use that to keep going. And so those three groups have actually done quite well. They are quite active and growing.
We’ve got a mattress recycling one. Yeah. So there’s magic. How do they find that when it’s mattress recycling unlinked in its mattress recycling connection connection. No you have to have a connection to mattress recycling to do that or it can mean that you know had this ideas that kept me awake. Thank you very much. Join that and see what you guys are doing there now.
On that site I’ll tell you this is I received connection requests multiple times a week. When I look at the person that requested if they’re from some place that seems to have no connection at all with recycling and didn’t communicate directly to me why they want to join I don’t let them join. But if you have any connection or if you saved me an individual email that shows that desire in this area. Absolutely. I don’t want it to become spam. I don’t want it be a spam site and so I sort those out. That I think are going to do that. I don’t care if you have any background in this stuff at all but if you have an interest in state that that makes any sense at all. Absolutely. We are aren’t we are on six continents in sight. Yeah.
South America North America Asia Africa.
I’m amazed and I’m amazed how big this is. In Ireland England Australia New Zealand and the interest that’s in South America in Africa and most of its North America. But they’re ahead of us in Australia New Zealand on matricide all right let me ask this question then. What have they done with the felt. They’ve basically don’t know what to do with the felt quite frankly but they’re ahead of us on capturing the mattresses that they’re recycling. They’ve institutionalized. Use government to say this we’re going to do. But no they’re not doing things with the felt that I’m aware of and I’ve asked.
See. I mean that might be the next question. What can you do with the bell.
Yeah. And I’d say as far as I know we probably have more ideas and are doing more than anybody that I connect with and I’m connected around the globe right.
Well I mean that’s cool to see than the other one is seven rivers sustainability and that deals with that the recycling that you guys are doing locally then well the linked in Group Seven Rivers sustainability deals with the whole broadness of sustainability whether it’s lead whether it’s transportation whether it’s ecology where there’s recycling whether it’s celebrating sustainability which is like the Outdoor Recreation Alliance getting out there and getting on the trails getting on the water fishing hunting boating all birdwatching that is so broad and it’s not just a sustainability part but it’s also the pleasure the celebration the enjoyment of being sustainable as well organic farming.
I mean it’s a really broad group and then the final one is the cross-breed professionals and business and that’s actually how we first ended up meeting is to do that that linked in Yeah and that group is a good group it is really business focused.
A lot of times you’ll see the very small businesses doing creative things get posted and the very large businesses that have the PR budget basically to get their stuff out there so it’s cool. We post it in those when it’s disproportional they’re really small and with unique in the large and with the PR people to push their agenda but it’s all cool and it’s open to anybody that wants to join. There’s over a thousand members and it’s like I don’t it’s twelve hundred eleven hundred members that can join that there’s not many postings but there’s a lot of postings of the information from that site.
I read a lot of things on there that’s for sure. Brian Tippetts from seven rivers recycling joining me I. I appreciate the time that you get that we spent together today and learning more about this is great and I’m sure that people that are listening right now have may have some questions. How do people reach out Brian and find out more about recycling your mattresses or starting their linked in group or you know just be with you if they will.
While it’s easy just to hook up on the Internet. Seven Rivers recycling Tom or give me a call (608)-781-0257. But just start internet easy. Just get out there. You start looking. You’ll find me. And then we can have a conversation. Have I missed anything Brian. One of the materials that we didn’t talk about is cotton batting. And that’s not in a lot of mattresses it’s still there. It could be some people use it for mulch. It could be used as insulation. We think we’ve got a market for it now but that’s another cool material that comes like a fluffy cotton blanket. It’s easily torn apart by this material.
Some people might be interested in is that right now that you’re offering them up for free as well. That’s free as well. OK. Now what you saying free to we’re talking of course that if you were to drive your truck to Onalaska, Wisconsin to your business you could get it. But if we contacted you and paid to have it shipped we could have that happen as you pick it up.
We ship charges shipping right. So I mean it is free to you if you’re if you stop by. Otherwise it’s free. The materials for each of the shipping is going to cost you for the time being. And until that big million dollar idea.
And once we develop a market we’re going to start charging this because that’s what propels us to do the business we do.
Absolutely. Brian again thanks for joining us and letting us know all about recycling and getting rid of those old mattresses.