MRC Awards Research Contract to Knoble Design to Develop Innovative Process for Recycling Pocket Coils

Pocket coils are one of the most challenging components to process in mattress recycling operations. Pocket coils (also known as Marshall Coils) are a common construction type for inner spring mattresses because they isolate the transfer of movement to individual coils.  About 20% of all discarded mattresses contain pocket coils which contain between 250 and 1,000 individual spring coils. These metal coils are individually encapsulated in either polypropylene or woven cotton fabric.

When a mattress is deconstructed, the pocket coil layer is easily separated from other components. However, it is impractical to manually separate the individual coils from their sleeves. Since most metal recyclers will not tolerate fabric contamination, the pocket coil units are often sent to landfills. Successful implementation of an alternative solution for separating pocket coil metal from fabric would significantly improve overall mattress recycling rates and create added revenue for recyclers.

In response to a request for proposals, Knoble Design, a Wisconsin-based custom engineering company, conceived a novel process which would quickly, affordably and efficiently separate the springs from their pockets without destroying either component. In their research, Knoble Design will design, test and optimize individual components of the process. If successful in meeting the design criteria, they will proceed to develop a pilot scale demonstration device.

The project is already underway and should be completed in early 2020. At that time, MRC and Knoble Design will determine if there is a good business case to develop a commercial scale machine.

For more information about MRC’s research efforts, visit

MRC Awards Lean Manufacturing Assessment Contract to MWS & Associates

As MRC continues to expand, we are looking to increase the efficiency of our recyclers and provide means to improve throughput and recycling rates. MRC contracted with MWS & Associates to provide on-site Lean Manufacturing assessments of its network of California recycling facilities.  Lean is a methodology that helps facilities systematically eliminate waste, achieve higher work quality, improve safety and worker morale, reduce costs, shorten lead times and increase both customer satisfaction and profitability.

The MWS team is led by Dr. Maria Williams-Slaughter (Principal/Owner). She has over 20 years of experience in continuous improvement. Her team has extensive experience in applying lean tools and techniques to a wide range of processes in a variety of industries and organizations, leading to significant improvements in service delivery, cost savings, customer service and cultural transformations.

MWS conducted recycling facilities assessments at 11 mattress deconstruction facilities throughout California. In October 2019, each recycler will receive a customized, confidential report summarizing findings. A nonconfidential public report summarizing overall findings and lessons learned will follow.

Through these assessments, MRC hopes our recyclers will become more informed about their recycling processes, identify opportunities to improve productivity and gain insights to inform future investments.

For more information about MRC’s research efforts, visit

MRC Awards More Than $120,000 in Grants to California Collection Sites

MRC has awarded more than $120,000 in grant funding to 15 mattress collection sites throughout the state. The funds will be used for equipment and infrastructure improvements to increase the recyclability of discarded mattresses and box springs by providing weather protection, or to achieve other efficiencies such as lowering costs and improving safety.

“We have more than 200 mattress collection sites in California that offer our residents free mattress recycling, a valuable service that plays a key role in the success of the Bye Bye Mattress Program,” said MRC’s Managing Director Mike O’Donnell. “Providing grant funding to eligible sites will help further improve our recycling rate and keep more material out of California landfills.”

Projects to be funded through the grants include the construction of weather coverings and cement pads to protect mattress integrity, mobile loading ramps to help with transportation and storage of mattresses and additional storage space to house and protect mattresses.

Grant awardees include:

• Coalinga Transfer Station (Fresno County)
• Florin Perkins Disposal Site (Sacramento County)
• Foothill Sanitary Landfill (San Joaquin County)
• Green Waste Recovery (Santa Clara County)
• Helendale Community Services District (San Bernardino County)
• Johnson Canyon Landfill & Recycling Center (Monterey County)
• Jolon Road Transfer Station (Monterey County)
• Kingsburg Transfer Station (Fresno County)
• Lovelace Materials Recovery Facility (San Joaquin County)
• Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility (Butte County)
• North County Recycling Center (San Joaquin County)
• Recology Vallejo (Solano County)
• City of Sanger (Fresno County)
• Sun Street Transfer Station (Monterey County)
• Turlock Transfer Station (Stanislaus County)

The grant program is part of MRC’s annual $1 million research fund designed to improve the recyclability of discarded mattresses and box springs and build new markets for recycled mattress materials. This initiative also includes evaluating and implementing efficiencies in the mattress recycling process.

For more information about the research fund, including the grant program, visit

Three Million Mattresses Recycled in California

The Mattress Recycling Council’s (MRC) Bye Bye Mattress Program (Program) announced today it has recycled more than 3 million mattresses in California since its inception in 2016. The Program offers no-cost, environmentally friendly alternatives to Californians disposing of old mattresses through local 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 MRC’s Managing Director Mike O’Donnell. “We share the Program’s success with our dedicated contractors and participating collection sites across California. We also have continued support from elected officials that voted for this law in 2013.”

More than 80 percent of mattresses 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 here.

“The MRC Program is one of the most effective Product Stewardship Programs Butte County is associated with,” said Steve Rodowick, recycling coordinator with Butte County. “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 from these sites 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 with 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 two thousand 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, which includes 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,” said O’Donnell. “After less than three years, we’ve made progress toward reducing our environmental footprint, conserving landfill space and supporting California’s statewide recycling goals.”

California’s Illegally Dumped Mattress Initiative

As part of California’s law, MRC developed the Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative to identify where mattresses are illegally dumped in the state, and proactively address the issue in affected communities. One component of this strategy includes financial compensation to entities responsible for collecting illegally dumped mattresses in their communities.

Entities responsible for collection of illegally dumped mattresses from public rights-of-way can register to receive compensation in exchange for data identifying the location of dumping activities. These entities include California local governments, certain participating permitted solid waste facilities and authorized solid waste operations. It is important to note that units collected through bulky item and curbside mattress pick-up services are not eligible for reimbursement because those units are not illegally dumped.

Registered collectors of illegally dumped mattresses will be paid up to $15.00 per unit for data specific to illegal mattress dumping. The actual per unit rate is calculated at the close of a calendar year by dividing the total funded amount, by the number of illegally dumped units collected and reported in 2018.

If your organization is eligible to participate, please register! Contact Mark Patti, MRC’s Southern California Program Coordinator.

MRC Reaches New Heights
Surpasses 3 Million Mattress Milestone

Almost three years after MRC first launched Bye Bye Mattress, MRC recyclers have collected 3 million mattresses from hundreds of cities, towns, solid waste facilities, landfills, and other entities like retailers, hotels, and universities in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

MRC works with ten recyclers that dismantle the discarded mattresses and recycle the reclaimed steel, foam and other mattress components. These recyclers are located throughout the three states providing local jobs. Groups like the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Institutes of Health estimate that for every 10,000 pounds of material recycled, dozens of jobs are created.

“Although the early years of this Program have been successful, we still have lots of work to do,” said MRC Managing Director Mike O’Donnell. “We continue to focus on improving consumer access to recycling, deterring illegal dumping and growing public awareness of our programs.”

MRC’s progress has also attracted international attention. In 2017, IMM, an international interior furnishings show in Cologne, Germany, asked MRC to host a mattress recycling educational session. It provided MRC the opportunity to learn from similar programs in Australia, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. MRC is furthering those discussions at ISPA’s 2018 EXPO as leaders from mattress recycling programs in Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the European Union take part in a Mattress Recycling Summit.

New & Improved Recycling Locator

Before California, Connecticut and Rhode Island passed their recycling laws, The Mattress Recycling Council developed a list of recyclers across the country known as the recycling locator. Now that these states have implemented their Bye Bye Mattress program, the locator has grown to accommodate collection sites and collection events, as well as a growing audience of users. More complex listings and a demand for a better user experience both from the general public and industry has resulted in major redevelopments. These improvements include:

  • Personalized Map Display –The locator automatically knows where you are located based on your computer’s IP address. Nearby collection sites and recyclers are immediately visible and differentiated by color coded markers.
  • No More Scrolling for Results – Results are listed beside the map in order of proximity. Collection events are displayed separately.
  • Improved Filtering Capabilities – Only want to see the recycling facilities or places that will accept business/large volume at no-cost? Then check that box. Advanced search also allows further refinement of the results.

In addition to the improved power and intuitiveness of the search functionality and user-friendly results displays, we’ve leveraged the locator’s data to improve other portions of our websites. For example, state pages now display statewide location listings and a map view.

Please visit the new and improved to explore all the mattress recycling options available in your area.

COLLECTION SITES & EVENT HOSTS – Please verify the accuracy of your listing. Contact MRC’s Marketing & Communications with any revisions or questions.

Ocean State Waves Hello to Bye Bye Mattress

On Sunday, Rhode Island becomes the third state in the nation with a free recycling program for mattresses and box springs. The program, known as Bye Bye Mattress, has established free collection points in cities and towns across the state. Rhode Island residents can find their nearest participating collection site or recycling facility at beginning May 1.

Bye Bye Mattress is administered by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit 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. Consumers will notice this fee as a separate line item on their receipt. 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, like 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 will also work with mattress retailers, hotels, universities, healthcare 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 will also 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 & Planning for Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC). “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, will gather at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3 at RIRRC’s Central Landfill in Johnston to commemorate the launch of the program.

MRC Adds New Territory Representative to California Team

MRC would like to welcome Elizabeth Wagner to our California implementation team. She will be responsible for a variety of program tasks including working with municipalities, retailers, recyclers, and other mattress generators in Northern California.

Wagner’s previous experience includes over two years working for CalRecycle to oversee product stewardship programs affecting other product categories in California. Some of her responsibilities included tracking the development of new legislation and management strategies for difficult to manage materials. Wagner holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

“Liz is well respected in the environmental community and has a robust understanding of laws created to encourage recycling of consumer products at end of life,” said Mike O’Donnell, managing director of MRC. “We are pleased to have her join our team and look forward to expanding the program to more communities throughout California.”

The Mattress Recycling Council is a non-profit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in three states that have enacted mattress recycling laws; Connecticut, California and Rhode Island. Each state’s program will be funded by a recycling fee that is collected when a mattress or box spring is sold. The fees pay for the transportation and recycling of the mattresses. To learn more, go to

MRC launches Illegal Mattress Dumping Compensation Program in California

MRC has just launched a program to help mitigate costs of collecting illegally dumped mattresses in California communities. This program allows agencies responsible for the collection of illegally dumped mattresses from the public right-of-way, including California local governments, certain permitted solid waste facilities, and authorized solid waste operations to receive payment from MRC for the collection of illegally dumped mattresses. MRC has allocated a total of $750,000 to fund this effort for 2016. Eligible entities that wish to receive reimbursement must register and begin tracking the number of illegally dumped mattresses collected. Register for the program and see the complete eligibility requirements and reporting instructions at, or contact Mark Patti at