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Matt the mattress got recycled (and we've launched a #sadmattress Tumblr)

by John Rabe, Kevin Ferguson, and Molly Peterson | Off-Ramp®

Matt the Mattress was picked up around noon on Monday, August 18. Now he was in the hands of the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, ultimately to be recycled. Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

KPCC's Environment Correspondent Molly Peterson and Off-Ramp Producer Kevin Ferguson left a mattress in front of a house in Silver Lake. It was Thursday, August 14. Inside the mattress, we installed a GPS tracker. We named the mattress Matt, because that's what you do when you care that much about a mattress' whereabouts. 

We wanted to see where Matt would go once we left him on the curb — would the city pick it up? Would an unlicensed refurbisher take it to their workshop and try to turn it into a new mattress? You can find out more about the story here

On Monday afternoon around 12:07 p.m., we got a text alert from the GPS tracker: motion detected!

Soon after that, we followed the mattress through Silver Lake and down the 5 Freeway into Lincoln Heights. Its destination? The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation's North Central District Yard on San Fernando road. We drove to the area to confirm — there's a few industrial and nonprofit buildings that might've caught Matt.  

Sure enough, Matt was in the hands of the city. After a sheepish phone call to the Bureau of Sanitation, they graciously allowed us to retrieve the GPS tracker from inside Matt. The photo above was taken at about 7 in the morning Tuesday, just before workers with the city helped bring down the mattress from the top of Mount Trashpile.

Where does Matt go from here? According to the Bureau of Sanitation, he'll avoid the landfill for now and instead head to Blue Marble Materials — a mattress recycling factory in Commerce. From there, Matt can become any number of things: his springs can be melted down into scrap metal; the foam inside turned into insulation for carpet. But his days as a mattress are over.

This is not the end.

We've started a Tumblr showing sad, abandoned mattresses of California, and we want you to share your sad mattress photos with us. You can tweet at us using the hashtag #sadmattress or submit your own directly. We may even choose your found mattress to track next!

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