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Californians Can Recycle Mattresses For Free

Credit / OaklandLocal via Flicker Creative Commons

Credit / OaklandLocal via Flicker Creative Commons

A new program called Bye Bye Mattress is designed to eliminate illegal dumping of mattresses.

A law passed in 2013 required the mattress industry to develop a program that allows consumers to drop-off used mattresses at collection sites and recycling facilities for free.

Democratic Senator Loni Hancock, who authored the legislation, says illegal dumping in communities was creating a public health problem and recycling facilities often charged consumers.

“These mattresses were an enormous problem the minute they hit the street or the landfill, while the people who were recycling couldn’t get enough product," says Hancock. "With this effort, we hope to close that loop and really have it work for everyone.”

The mattress industry says it's been a challenging problem to tackle.  

“At the end of its useful life, a used mattress has relatively low value, " says Ryan Trainer, president of the Mattress Recycling Council, a non-profit group created by the mattress industry to run the program.  "It’s a very bulky product and so we don’t want to handle it multiple times before it gets to the recycler and in turn to the scrap markets where the foam and steel can be reused in making new products.”

The Bye Bye Mattress program is funded through an $11 recycling fee when a mattress or box spring is sold. Trainer says more than 60 solid waste facilities have joined the program so far.
California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island require retailers to collect a fee on each mattress sold to fund a recycling program.  

 WasteRecyclingmattressmattress recycling

Amy Quinton

Former Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio 

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