MRC’s program in California also has diverted more than 100 million pounds of materials from landfills
The Mattress Recycling Council’s Bye Bye Mattress program has recycled more than 3 million mattresses in California since its inception in 2016. It offers no-cost, environmentally friendly alternatives to Californians disposing of old mattresses through collection sites, public events and collaborations with local retailers and solid waste providers.
“Reaching this milestone in less than three years of operation is a significant achievement,” said Mike O’Donnell, MRC managing director. “We share the program’s success with our dedicated contractors and participating collection sites across California. We also have continued support from elected officials who voted for this law in 2013.”
More than 80% of mattress components can be recycled and turned into new consumer and industrial products. For example, old mattress foam is recycled into carpet padding; mattress springs are sold as scrap steel, which is melted to make building materials and other steel products; and wood from box springs is chipped and used as landscape mulch. More about the mattress recycling process can be found at YouTube.com.
“The MRC program is one of the most effective product stewardship programs Butte County is associated with,” said Steve Rodowick, recycling coordinator for Butte County, which is in California’s Central Valley. “This program saves us money, manpower and, above all, valuable landfill space.”
A recycling fee collected when consumers buy mattresses and box springs in California funds the program. MRC uses the fee to establish free drop-off locations and collection events throughout the state. Collected mattresses are then transported to regional recyclers that dismantle and recycle mattress components. Consumers may take their old mattresses to more than 230 drop-off locations and collection events throughout California. The program also recycles mattresses collected by retailers, hotels, universities and other sources that discard mattresses in large volumes.
“Our work with the Mattress Recycling Council fulfills our mission to provide youth in San Joaquin and Tuolumne counties with an opportunity to develop work skills and preserve California’s environment,” said Deborah Phillips, an outreach specialist for the Greater Valley Conservation Corps, a San Joaquin Office of Education program. “In less than a year, Greater Valley Conservation Corps crew members have helped recycle more than 2,000 mattresses, while also gaining the experience they need to move into green sector careers.”
In addition to recycling, the program works to prevent illegal dumping through its efforts with ventures such as the Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative. By working with local communities, this $1 million initiative has helped remove more than 63,000 improperly disposed of mattresses from alleys, sidewalks and other public spaces throughout California since 2016.
“The Bye Bye Mattress program exemplifies California’s leadership in a sustainable and circular economy by creating green jobs,” O’Donnell said. “After less than three years, we’ve made progress toward reducing our environmental footprint, conserving landfill space and supporting California’s statewide recycling goals.”
MRC is a nonprofit organized formed in 2014 by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs, known as Bye Bye Mattress, in states that have enacted mattress recycling laws. These include California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.