CAW sponsored legislation is encouraging a new gold rush aimed at recycling mattresses and boxsprings in California. SB 254 (Hancock), passed last year, requires mattress producers and retailers to develop and implement a plan to provide a take back program for consumers so that they can discard their matresses and boxsprings at no cost.
According to Waste 360, Alameda County's Stop Waste Program has stepped up to help meet this challenge as quickly as possible, providing a $25,000 bounty program that has, in just a couple of months, helped DR3 Recycling and independent haulers pick up and recycle 630 abandoned mattresses.
"What we are doing is trying to find how many people who pick up an old filthy mattress that has been abandoned on the street and bring it in for somewhere between $6 to $12," says Robert Jaco, manager of DR3’s facility in San Leandro, Calif., adding that he expects to finish tagging the project’s allotted 1,000 mattresses by mid-March. "The program is definitely working because it is getting mattresses off the street. If you pay people, they will do it."
According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, "Californians buy about 4 million new mattresses and box springs a year. About half the time, the used mattresses that they replace end up in a guest room or go to friends or relatives. Many of the other two million discarded units get dumped on streets or sent to landfills. Fewer than one in ten is recycled for wood, plastic, fiber batting and springs to be used in other products, such as steel and carpet padding. Discarded mattresses cause blight on urban streets and are magnets for mold, rats, insects and other vermin."
Proven success in Alameda and other counties will help guide efforts as mattress producers and retailers implement plans to to increase recycling throughout California under SB 254.