New law funded through $10 fee for each mattress, box spring
On May 1, Rhode Island became the third U.S. state to launch a free mattress recycling program for mattresses and box springs. The program, called Bye Bye Mattress, establishes free collection points in cities and towns across the state. Rhode Island residents can find their nearest participating collection site or recycling facility at www.byebyemattress.com.
Bye Bye Mattress is administered by the Mattress Recycling Council, a nonprofit organization created by the mattress industry to develop and manage the recycling program mandated by law in 2013. The program is funded through a $10 recycling fee that is collected when a mattress or box spring is sold to Rhode Island consumers. The fee is used to pay for transporting and recycling the discarded mattresses.
“Combating illegal dumping and reducing the impact on landfills have always been concerns for the mattress industry,” said Ryan Trainer, president of MRC and the International Sleep Products Association. “We have found that recycling can be a realistic option for these products and help us address these issues when, as in Rhode Island, a program has the support of state and local governments, consumers and businesses.”
Solid-waste facilities in 31 towns are participating as designated collection locations and more are expected to join throughout 2016. MRC also will work with mattress retailers, hotels, universities, health care facilities, and other public and private entities in Rhode Island to divert mattresses from the solid-waste stream.
In addition to establishing these free collection points, the program also will provide a $2 consumer incentive when an individual chooses to drop off a mattress or box spring at Ace Mattress Recycling in West Warwick. No more than eight mattresses per household per year are eligible for the incentive and individuals may not deliver more than four mattresses at a time.
“We currently handle approximately 32,000 mattresses a year at the Central Landfill,” said Sarah Reeves, director of public policy programs and planning for Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. “With recycling now a more convenient and free option for all state residents, we hope to see that number decrease significantly.”
RIRRC and other stakeholders in the program, including government officials, municipal and solid-waste representatives and the mattress industry, gathered May 3 at RIRRC’s Central Landfill in Johnston to commemorate the launch of the program.