The MRC stewardship plan would be called "Bye Bye Mattress" and include an $11 recycling fee on mattresses that would pay for collection, transportation and recycling for cities, military bases, universities, hospitals and private-sector businesses, including retailers and hotels.
The fee would also pay for locations where people can drop-off their mattresses and receive a partial reimbursement that has not yet been determined. Additionally, part of the fee would be used to help communities reduce illegal dumping. Pending CalRecycle’s approval of the plan, the program could start as early as January 1, 2016.
With support and cooperation from several cities and counties, recycling companies and mattress retailers, Californians Against Waste sponsored SB 254 to reduce the blight and pollution caused by discarded or abandoned mattresses. And because up to 90 percent of a mattress' materials can be recycled, the bill will help California reach its goal of having a 75 percent recycling rate by 2020.
The bill sets the fine for non-compliance at up to $500 per day, and up to $5,000 per day for intentional, knowing, or reckless violations.
Teresa Bui, legislative analyst for Californians Against Waste and a mattress advisory committee member for MRC, says that "This mattress stewardship plan will make it easier for consumers to reduce the waste that is often being abandoned in their communities and ending up in their landfills. But for this plan to really reach its potential and maximize recycling, we need to have shared responsibility and a strong working relationship between the public and private sectors, and we're working hard to make sure that this happens in California.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that "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."