Reusing Recycled Goods at BARC

Every year in Michigan, more than 435 million dollars worth of recyclable materials are buried in landfills. One of our primary missions here at BARC is to reduce the number of items put in landfills by finding innovative ways to reuse them. We take the sentiment behind “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to heart, especially when it comes to our recycling process.

When you take the time to recycle with BARC to divert more waste from landfills, our first step is to find ways to repurpose the materials we receive. We usually start by deconstructing items destined for the landfill into their material components that can be used to manufacture new goods in downstream markets. If you have ever wondered what happens to the things you recycle at BARC, this blog will go into detail on how we process specific items!

What Happens to Items You Recycle With BARC?

When it comes to reusing recycled materials, the opportunities are endless! So let’s start by talking about one of the most reusable items you can recycle with BARC; an old mattress.

Mattress Recycling

When you recycle a mattress you no longer need with BARC, there are five different ways we can transform parts of the mattress into new usable goods! If you’d like to recycle a mattress, learn more about how to drop it off or schedule a pickup with our mattress recycling program.

5 Ways We Reuse Mattress Materials

  • Memory Foam: The most common form of filling inside your mattress is memory foam made from polyurethane materials. This foam can be made into carpet underlayment or dog beds for four-legged friends!
  • Mattress Quilt: The top layer of your mattress is the quilt to add thickness and softness to your sleeping experience. The mattress quilt is also super absorbent, so the material can be made into absorbent products.
  • Mattress Springs: Most mattress coils are constructed out of tempered steel. These steel springs can be made into various metal products. We even had local Traverse City artists make whimsical wind chimes out of them!
  • Box Spring: A mattress box spring usually contains a wooden frame to keep its structure. These frames can be broken down into wood chips for fuel or mulch.
  • Shoddy Pads: Some mattresses contain cotton or shoddy pads to cover and soften the harsh metal springs. These can be utilized for textiles!

Furniture Recycling

We upcycle many pieces of furniture by combining materials from multiple pieces to create one structure. Visit our Kaleva Resale Shop, and check out our display shelves and cases. Most of these pieces were upcycled using recycled materials!

We also have several repurposed products like upcycled wooden picnic tables, large wood or steel flower boxes, garden trellises, wooden chicken coops, and greenhouses. To learn more about what we offer, check out our Repurposed Products Page. If you’d like to recycle furniture you no longer need, check out our pricing list for furniture drop-offs and pick-ups.

repurposed garden planter
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repurposed chicken coop
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repurposed bench
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Battery Recycling

When you recycle old batteries with BARC, they are used to make new batteries using a density sorting process. During this process, old batteries are broken down into separate recyclable components. Below, we will talk about what happens to each part of a standard lead-acid battery!

The Process of Recycling a Battery

  • Plastic: Every battery contains a plastic case and cover. This material can be crushed to create little plastic pellets. The pellets are then used to make create new covers and cases for a new battery!
  • Lead: Batteries contain grids made from lead ingots. This can be taken from old batteries and made into new battery grids. In addition, the old lead oxide can be recovered and used in the new battery manufacturing process!
  • Electrolyte: Sodium sulfate crystals can be separated from electrolyte to make glass, textiles, or detergent. Electrolyte can also be reclaimed to make new batteries or sent to water treatment plants after being neutralized.

TV Recycling

LCD TV screens are made by assembling two thin sheets of glass sandwiched together. If you recycle a TV containing a glass screen with us, the glass can be used to make ceramic tiles. If you’d like to recycle a Television you no longer need, check out our pricing list for TV drop-offs and pick-ups.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed learning about some of the ways we reuse the materials you recycle with BARC. These are just a few examples. No matter how big or small, we always try to find a new way to reuse the items we receive! We appreciate your continued support as we further our mission to divert potentially valuable resources from the landfills here in Northern Michigan.