Group helps at-risk youth gain life skills with help from residents who properly dispose of bedding
You probably know that, as of October, mattresses and box springs can no longer be disposed of as trash in Massachusetts. In response, Tewksbury has partnered with UTEC, a local non-profit that helps offer justice-involved young adults the life-skills to prevent recidivism.
This week, UTEC is celebrating its mattress recycling program and partnership with the Town of Tewksbury. The environmentally conscious program has disposed of and recycled more than 200 mattresses in Tewksbury since the partnership began in November 2022.
“This Earth Day, UTEC is proud to celebrate our partnership with Tewksbury, offering mattress recycling to local residents,” said Gregg Croteau, President and CEO of UTEC. “With this partnership, not only is Tewksbury doing something that benefits the environment and residents, it is providing local young adults with valuable workforce development skills.”
UTEC provides curbside mattress collections in Tewksbury bi-weekly on Mondays. Learn how to schedule a pickup here.
Since Massachusetts banned the disposal of mattresses in the trash, UTEC’s program has helped residents safely dispose of and recycle thousands of mattresses across the region. UTEC’s team of young adults manually deconstruct and extract recyclable material from mattresses and box springs, with an average of 85% of the mattress being recycled. Young adults participate in deconstruction as well as unloading deliveries of mattresses, and develop valuable warehouse skills.
“The program enables justice-involved youth to gain hands-on industrial and warehousing experience in a safe, structured workplace while gaining an understanding of the environmental impact they are delivering through their work,” said Croteau. “For many of these young adults, our social enterprises are their first opportunity to gain work and life skills in a safe space, and we’ve seen firsthand how impactful that can be for our young people and our communities.”
Social enterprise businesses have been proven to have a direct community impact. They give young adults a clean slate, as often as they need it, to gain work experience and develop essential job and life skills. What’s more, 79% of young adults working in social enterprise business have obtained and sustained employment outside of UTEC, and it’s been proven that every dollar spent in a social enterprise creates $2.23 in social returns.
In addition to the mattress recycling venture, UTEC also operates two additional social enterprise businesses: Madd Love Market’s Woodworking and Madd Love Meals.
UTEC is one of three organizations selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to be an approved mattress recycler. UTEC currently works with 30 municipalities, including Tewksbury, and over 20 schools and hotels, making it the largest mattress recycler in northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
For more information about UTEC’s Mattress Recycling Social Enterprise, visit the website.