Mattress Industry Withdraws Support From New York Recycling Bills Due to Amendments

Mattress Industry Opposes Recycling Bills. ispa vertical logo

The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) learned this past week that the New York Legislature amended their mattress recycling bills in both the Assembly and Senate (A.6436-B (Paulin)/S.6419-E (Kavanaugh)). Unfortunately, and importantly, the most recent amendment eliminated a provision in the Assembly bill which provided for a small recycling fee to be collected by retailers from consumers at the point of sale. This fee would finance a robust recycling program on an ongoing basis and is critical to effective administration of the program. This amendment is significant, and as a result, ISPA has changed its position on the legislation from support to opposition.

“Although the mattress industry has a proven record of recycling millions of mattresses annually and is prepared to do similar work in New York, we regrettably must oppose the legislation as it has recently been amended,” said Ryan Trainer, president of ISPA. “ISPA continues to encourage the New York legislature to adopt a much simpler system that fairly and transparently distributes the cost across all mattresses sold in the state through a nominal fee collected at the time of purchase. This approach has worked well in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island and is good for the consumer, the worker, the industry, and the environment. We urge the Legislature to reconsider these amendments.”

The mattress industry strongly supports legislation to authorize statewide mattress recycling programs and it specifically created the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit company, in 2014 to implement such laws. Since its inception, MRC has recycled over 13 million discarded mattresses and box-springs in the three states in which it currently operates, and today processes nearly 2 million units annually. ISPA believes that legislation without a trackable and transparent funding mechanism harms New York consumers, US mattress producers and their New York employees.

The consumer fee provides an equitable and transparent process for funding mattress recycling that is easy to administer, is a simple and familiar process for retailers to apply and remit, and is transparent for consumers. This mechanism eliminates the possibility of some manufacturers escaping the charge. It protects the consumer from unnecessary increased charges for their new mattress by specifically requiring that an equal and actuarily sound charge be collected on all mattresses sold to New York residents. No hidden charges can be included in the cost of the mattress.

By contrast, the amended bill contains no clear funding mechanism. This approach does not provide a certain and transparent approach to finance the costs of implementing the comprehensive mattress recycling program outlined in the legislation. ISPA strongly believes that consumers should be aware of the costs of the recycling program.

Finally, a substantial percentage of mattresses sold in New York today are manufactured in foreign countries and sold online to consumers. Without a retail point-of-sale collection fee, tracking and accounting for sales by non-US-based manufacturers becomes much more difficult. The purpose of Extended Producer Responsibility programs is that all producers must be equally responsible for financing recycling. If US companies must pay more than their share of the recycling costs, they will be at a competitive disadvantage. This will hurt workers in those US companies’ plants.

For these reasons, ISPA regrettably opposes the mattress recycling legislation.

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