In 2013, Connecticut became the first state to pass comprehensive laws for recycling mattresses, which require mattress manufacturers to establish a program to manage unwanted mattresses in the state, reduce illegal dumping, and even help create jobs in the recycling sector.
California and Rhode Island soon followed suit, and together formed an organization called the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC). And just last month, they announced they’ve recycled 10 million mattresses through its statewide programs in the three states.
That means more than 380 million pounds of steel, foam, fiber, and wood have been diverted from landfills and recycled into new products.
For its next 10 million mattresses, MRC plans to research and promote product circularity in the industry and improve the collection and recycling processes.
For perspective, 10 million mattresses translates to 10,000 truckloads annually for nine years.
Now Oregon is the fourth state in the nation to enact a mattress recycling program by 2024.
Oregon’s law directs mattress manufacturers to set up and operate a recycling program that’s overseen by the state. It aims to make it easier for consumers to recycle their unwanted mattresses at new, convenient locations in each county across the state. And retailers will collect a small fee from consumers to fund the program.
And the way we see it, you don’t need to live in any of the four states that have mattress recycling laws to set up a recycling program—you can set one up in your local community.
Here are a few ideas
Live on the border of Connecticut, California, Oregon, or Rhode Island? Set up a program where you have customers bring you old and used mattresses and then you deliver them to the nearest recycling center in one of those states.
Talk to your local lawmakers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, or community members and ask them to create or help you create a mattress recycling program. If you explain the importance and how it can help the economy and environment, there’s someone who can likely help with the logistics and details. In fact, Terrence McDonald, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Oregon, helped Houston Furniture Bank found their Mattress Recycling Center.
Recycle mattresses in your own store. Have people bring their gently used mattresses to your and you can donate them to those in need—whether it’s homeless shelters, low-income families, or others. You can even make a store event out of this where you invite customers to help you get the mattresses and deliver them.
When other states hear about the economic and environmental benefits of mattress recycling programs, they’re bound to are bound start talking about how to make it happen. But there’s no need to wait for them—you can start on your own today.
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