Mattress Recycling Update
Manufacturers Slow to Get On Board with Giving Their Products a Second Life
The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), another industry-sponsored nonprofit, runs mattress recycling programs in three states with recycling laws: Rhode Island, Connecticut and California. Like with the paint model, consumers pay a fee at time of purchase that funds the three programs, primarily helping pay recyclers’ expenses with some spent on consumer education.
No other states are on board yet.
“Maine was considering legislation to begin a program, but there are no recyclers in Maine to handle mattresses, and the bill was vetoed,” says Ryan Trainer, president of MRC. “We continue talking to other states, but our challenge is the same as in Maine: there is not enough infrastructure to support this program. Either there are no [mattress] recyclers, or they can’t handle the volume a statewide program would generate.”
Connecticut and Rhode Island have at least two recyclers to take the mattresses, and there are about 10 in California. Collectively, more than two million mattresses have been recycled through the program.
The Mattress Recycling Council is looking for new markets and asking states to put aside funding for recyclers, working with them to create educational materials for potential recyclers.
Meanwhile, says Trainer, “It comes down to investments from private recyclers. Developing new markets will hopefully make it profitable, and more recyclers will jump in.”
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