Army goes green with eco-friendly mattress


Soldiers across the Army could someday have a new place to lay their heads.

Installation Management Command-Southeast has launched a pilot program for a new mattress that could save the Army millions of dollars, minimize waste and reduce harmful effects on the environment, officials said. If successful, it may spill over to other regions and possibly go Armywide.

A total of 240 new beds will be delivered June 28 to Soldiers with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry

Regiment, on Sand Hill as replacements for the unit's old mattresses, said SGM Cornelius Barlow of the Directorate of Public Works. It's part of a two-year study in which DPW will collect data from basic training Soldiers, drill sergeants and cadre with the company.

Developed by SKYDEX Technologies Inc., the Eco-Enhanced Mattress Unit, or EEMU, is made of recyclable and washable material that's longer lasting than the foam mattress now used in the Army, said CSM(R) Jose Silva, the company's military business coordinator. He said the pilot program's main objective is to make sure it's "Soldier-proof."

"The Soldier will benefit greatly by the overall durability of the materials, making for a more comfortable, supportive mattress, as well as a clean mattress," he said. "They will not have to worry about who has slept on the mattress before, or if it becomes soiled, because the unit is modular and comes apart for easy, thorough cleaning."

IMCOM spent more than $55,000 on the test mattresses - the EEMU costs about $230 each, according to a purchasing invoice provided by Marty Gutierrez, chief of Fort Benning's Single Soldier Housing Branch.

Silva said the traditional life cycle of the current Army mattress is two to three years, where the EEMU lasts more than a decade. Large disposal fees also will be eliminated and crowded landfills relieved through the use of a recyclable mattress.

Program officials said it's unclear if or how soon the EEMU could be distributed across the Army, but SKYDEX is moving ahead with its manufacturing plans.

"While we are eager to hear the feedback from the Soldiers at Fort Benning and work with them to produce the very best mattress, production of the current design is prepared for mass distribution," Silva said.


A closer look at the Eco-Enhanced Mattress Unit

Who's testing it'

A Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment

What is it made of'

All new material consisting of thermoplastic support, polyurethane foam, nylon and cotton fabric, and polystyrene lift riser.

What does it feature'

The EEMU Mattress consists of recyclable materials that can be easily cleaned if needed and disinfected between users, greatly expanding its life cycle and eliminating the hazardous effects disposal of a traditional mattress has on the environment. It's made of durable materials that greatly outlast the foam mattress now used in the Army. The open airflow design and patented SKYDEX material provide superior pressure distribution and comfort throughout the lifetime of the mattress.

Source: SKYDEX Technologies Inc.