MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Oahu – Troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe have turned over more than a few good mattresses to be recycled.

Officials said it’s the base’s latest effort to help preserve the environment and reduce its ecological footprint on the island of Oahu.

This month starts the Marine Corps’ contract with a local company, The Green Bed Factory, to remove and recycle old mattresses. Approximately 700 barracks mattresses will be diverted away from local landfills and recycled this month as part an effort to reduce the burden on local landfills and increase the scope of the base’s recycling initiatives.

The base generates hundreds of old mattresses annually and recently found out about The Green Bed Factory, a business that breaks down mattresses into reusable and recyclable components. MCB Hawaii is the first military installation on Oahu to use this process and expects this program to continue into the future.

“The Marine Corps is a proven leader within the Department of Defense in resource conservation programs” Col. Robert Rice, commander, MCB Hawaii, wrote in a recent column in the base newspaper, “Hawaii Marine.”

“Going green is not a big leap for Marines; we’re already green at heart. We need to practice it in everything we do,” Rice said.


There’s a local business that’s found a way to help generate less trash. Instead of throwing away old mattresses, it’s recycling them.  One by one, old mattresses brought to the Green Bed Factory are stripped down. Foam, cloth, and other soft materials can be sent to H-power to be burned  and generate electricity.  Metal coils will be sent to a recycling plant.

Jim Riggs of the Green Bed Factory says, “They could be turned into cars, they could be turned into washing machines, refrigerators.”  The marine corps base at kaneohe has made a deal to send their old mattresses here instead of the landfill, about 800 of them every year. “You figure each bed takes up 10 cubic feet, multiply that by 800, that’s a lot of cubic feet. that’s bigger than your house probably.” “If we can do our part to get rid of the mattresses that are going to the landfills and do our part for the environment then we’re more than happy to do that to be good neighbors here on the island,” says Kaneohe Marine, Demetrio Espinosa.

The Green Bed Factory can also rebuild beds, and it plans to do 500 of those every year for the army.  The company says old mattresses take up a lot of space in landfills because they keep their shape. “They don’t compact they’re hard to dispose of and they just really don’t want them,” added  Riggs.

So the company is hoping that hotels, which also go through a lot of these, will consider rebuilding or recycling them. “It’s gonna cost them less money than buying new ones and it’s gonna save our landfill, save our environment.”