In partnership with the Isaiah 58 ministry at Belmont Church, the Belmont University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team is making a difference in the lives of a group of Nashville’s homeless and formerly incarcerated via a rather unusual means—recycling mattresses.
The non-profit, Spring Back Recycling, launched “Spring Back Nashville” just over six months ago and already more than 1,700 mattresses have been disassembled and recycled. The Belmont SIFE students spent a full year developing the business model for Spring Back, analyzing operations, accounting, marketing, legal contracts and safety procedures. Belmont Church’s Isaiah 58 ministry thereafter partnered with the team, providing an available facility, equipment, as well as an eager and capable workforce for the start-up business. Isaiah 58’s School of Life ministry is a residential program that helps formerly incarcerated men get back on their feet. With Spring Back Nashville, the men are disassembling old mattresses into scrap metal, cotton and foam—more than 85 percent of each mattress can be fully recycled.
Dr. John Gonas, associate professor of finance and SIFE advisor at Belmont, said, “I’m amazed that the Belmont students have created such a sustainable, scalable and economically viable business that blesses the community with a solid employment opportunity while simultaneously keeping so much recyclable waste out of landfills.”