Weird Wednesday: Used Mattress Design Competition

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What do facility managers (fms) for hotels, dormitories, prisons, and hospitals all have in common? Mattresses, of course! And now, fms with an excess of used mattresses can transform this massive burden on the waste stream into something positive, thanks to a design competition sponsored by Architecture for Humanity and Rubicon National Social Innovations.

Discarded Dreams: Used Mattress Design Competition answers the question: What can you do with a million mattresses? Every year in the U.S. 40 million mattresses end up in landfills because they cannot be broken down and their component parts are hard to utilize. Until now.

In this competition, entrants are invited to create innovative ways of converting used mattresses into useful consumer products that can be manufactured on a larger scale. Entrants must create designs that take into account the volume of mattress waste generated each year. Prizes are $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place. Third place winners will receive Rubicon Bakery baked goods delivered to their door.

The winner/winners will also be invited to collaborate with Rubicon to design and execute a method of collecting and converting the mattresses into their value-added product, and potentially distributed for commercial use. This would be a unique opportunity to help an emerging social enterprise develop a product line with 100% reclaimed materials, create green-collar jobs, and support individuals in moving out of poverty.

The competition is open from now until December 5, 2008, which is the deadline for registration and submission. Winners will be announced in February 2009.

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