NATIONAL REPORT—According to the American Hotel & Lodging Assn., there are approximately 4.4 million guestrooms in the United States. It is pretty safe to assume there is at least one mattress in each room. Assuming a thickness of 12 inches per mattress, the industry’s mattresses, stacked on top of one another, would reach 636 miles into the sky.
With mattresses replaced every seven years, on average, it is obvious the lodging industry has a huge waste management issue on its hands. Where do mattresses go when they are no longer useable? Most end up in landfills. Liability and hygiene issues prevent them from being donated to charities. Almost none are recycled. Mattresses are a significant capital expense so why not add years to their life? It is possible, several industry vendors say.
Just like any other business, mattress companies thrive on sales volume. It is not necessarily to their advantage to produce mattresses that don’t need to be replaced. Some vendors are beginning to acknowledge the waste problem that mattresses cause, however, and are now at least beginning to offer mattresses with replaceable mattress tops or other components. These features can extend mattress life significantly—as much as five to 10 years or more.
Zippered Mattress Covers
Sterling Sleep Hospitality, Garden Grove, Calif., offers a modular mattress system that allows one to replace interchangeable parts such as zippered mattress covers, foam overlays and other components instead of replacing the entire bed. Sterling, a registered EPA WasteWise endorser, offers six mattress models. Tony Hochschild, owner of Sterling Sleep Hospitality, says his company’s mattresses can be easily taken apart by housekeepers for cleaning.
“The part of the bed that is damaged most often is the mattress cover,” Hochschild says. “Housekeepers no longer have to remove entire mattresses from rooms if there is a problem.”
With hoteliers looking to add signature beds to increase guest loyalty, mattresses sold by companies like Sterling Sleep Hospitality present the option of upgrading quality simply by replacing the top.
While mattresses with replaceable pieces benefit the environment significantly, they also reduce capital, labor, and delivery and hauling costs. Whereas bed sets can cost hundreds of dollars, mattress covers that zip on range from $75 to a little less than $200.
Simmons Introduces EverNU
At this spring’s HD Expo and Conference in Las Vegas, Atlanta-based Simmons Hospitality Group introduced its EverNU mattress top to help hotels get the most use out of their Beautyrest or Beautyrest Black mattresses. Most hotel bed replacements occur because the mattresses’ comfort layers have compressed over time, causing the beds to lose their original feel. The EverNU top enables a hotel to replace the comfort layers of its mattresses without replacing the beds’ Pocketed Coil or Advanced Pocketed Coil springs, which last far longer than the fabrics and foams used in comfort layers.
In addition to Sterling Sleep Hospitality and Simmons Hospitality Group, MyBed Inc., Rockdale, Ill., offers a sleep system that allows one to select a combination of components such as innersprings, latex foam or air. With the pull of a Velcro strip, mattress tops or cushioning pads can be replaced.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.