Sleep Country Canada mattress recycling is buggy.

Christine Magee image from Sleep Country Canada web site

Sleep Country Canada has a mattress recycling program that takes used beds and box springs and offers them to people in need, like people with disabilities on welfare in BC, but the program is a little buggy.

The charity delivering a bed doesn’t take the old bed and/or box spring away, leaving the person living in poverty with the cost of removing the bed and the recycling fee. Duh.

It’s great that used beds are being offered to people living in poverty, but didn’t anyone in the BC government, the charity, or Sleep Country think that people living in poverty might not have the extra funds to pay the recycling fees – the same fee Sleep Country Canada doesn’t have to pay as it’s shuffled that tax onto people living in poverty – nor might the recipients of the used bed have a car or truck or even the physical ability to dispose of their old bed?

How did I find out about this tax transfer to the poor? After sleeping on a mattress for 20 plus years I contacted social services – because of my disability I’m one of the thousands of people with disabilities in BC living far below the federal governments poverty line – I contacted social services and was told about the bed program offered through Sleep Country Canada and a charity called WRAGS.

When the bed was delivered I asked the driver if they take away the old mattress and box spring. He said no. I asked if he knew anyone who picks up the old mattress and box spring. He said no. I then asked if I had to get rid of the mattress and box spring myself. He said yes.

On the WRAGS web site they state: “WRAGS is concerned about the environment and works with Sleep Country to ensure mattresses are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.” Hmmm.

WRAGS gets their beds from Sleep Country Canada and then recycles them to people living on social assistance, if you can call it living when support ranges from about $600 to $900 per month for a single person.

Vancouver and surrounding areas isn’t the cheapest place to live, when a small 1 bedroom in Surrey rents for more than $600 a month.

In the lower mainland Sleep Country Canada takes the beds they pick up from the house of someone who purchased a new bed from them and donates them to Wrags. Maybe Sleep Country Canada receives some tax advantage for this donation to the charity, but I don’t know. I do know they didn’t have to pay the recycling tax on my bed.

Oh yes, the recycling tax. According to the Sleep Country Canada Wikipedia page: “Sleep Country supports numerous charities and community initiatives across Canada. Some of the programs in which they are involved include:

  • Donated Bed Program – As part of their delivery service, Sleep Country Canada provides the removal of an old mattress. These mattresses are when possible donated to those in need, however not all mattresses can be reused, so Sleep Country also has a large number of mattresses that are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. (Due to the high costs of recycling, Sleep Country now charges $10.00 for the recycling fee to all customers who request their old mattress to be removed.)”

Okay, now I’m confused. Sleep Country Canada charges $10.00 recycling fee to all customers who request their old mattress to be removed, then if the bed is in pretty good shape they donate the bed to a charity like WRAGS who delivers one of these beds to a person living in poverty who is then left having to pay the recycling fee?

Even if Wikipedia information is wrong and Sleep Country Canada doesn’t charge a recycling fee anymore, it still doesn’t make sense for the government, the charity, or the company with the largest volume of mattress sales in Canada to have not thought about why they are passing the recycling tax on to the poorest people in BC.

A couple of days after getting my used mattress and box spring I received an Ikea catalogue in the mail. In it there was a firm Queen size mattress for $199, and another for $299.

I earn a few dollars publishing my ebooks, so I could have saved some of my ebook income for a few months and spent a portion of it on a new bed from Ikea. But I’d still have to get a truck, get people to move it for me or pay Ikea to bring it to my home. And I’d still have to pay the recycling tax. Oh, excuse me. It isn’t a tax, it is a fee, a recycling fee.

Please don’t get me wrong about my feelings regarding Sleep Country Canada. They’ve been recognized as one the best companies to work for in Canada, they support numerous charitable causes, and they employ a lot of people.

But someone in their company, the BC government, or the WRAGS charity was asleep when this recycling program was thought out. Sheesh.

Link to the Wikipedia page on Sleep Country Canada.

Link to Ikea Canada web site.

Link to WRAGS web site.