Mattress manufacturers get out in front of proposed tax


August 11th, 2013
By Katy Grimes

Many still believe it’s a crime to remove the “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law” tag from a mattress. Chances are they would never illegally dump an old mattress either. But, in many areas of the state, illegally dumped mattresses are a problem — a big enough problem that the Legislature is now addressing it.

National Lampoon 'Crime' cover, Feb. 1972SB 254 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, would mandate mattress manufacturers to pay the entire cost of mattress recycling — a cost which would undoubtedly be tacked on to the price of a new mattress. It  has already been passed by the Senate and will be heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday.

The bill would require mattress manufacturers to organize, operate and pay for all mattress recycling in the state. “Illegally dumped mattresses are a terrible blight on our communities,” Hancock said in a press release.  “They not only deface a neighborhood but they can become a health hazard and a breeding ground for mold and pests. Cash-strapped cities are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars collecting and disposing of abandoned mattresses.  That’s money that could be better spent on police and other vital services for the community.”

But it’s already illegal to dump a mattress, isn’t it? Yes it is.

Hancock says that doesn’t mean the problem of mattress dumping isn’t real. And while she acknowledges that mattress recycling is a very labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive business, she maintains SB 254 will alleviate that.

Why are manufacturers held responsible? This is California

So why is the illegal dumping of old mattresses the responsibility of manufacturers? Old abandoned cars are not the responsibility of General Motors. Abandoned homes are not the responsibility of the builder.

Adding another fee to consumers is rarely a good option. But faced with the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature, which almost always seeks to impose mandates, regulations and additional costs on private sector businesses, mattress manufacturers chose to get out in front of the problem rather than wait to be regulated without any input. SB 254 could be a win-win, without actually costing Californians much more at checkout.

In an interview in April with Christopher Hudgins, with the International Sleep Products Association, he said there are several issues with old mattresses, besides the unsightly abandoned mattress street litter in some areas of the state. Faced with Hancock’s bill and a potential mandate, his association worked up an alternative solution.

Many mattress manufacturers already recycle old mattresses — the materials are highly recyclable.  But it is expensive and labor-intensive, according to Hudgins. And some mattress manufacturers say they recycle the old mattresses, not by destroying them, but by selling them to a third party for refurbishment and eventual resale. The problem is, the old mattresses aren’t always refurbished properly prior to being sold again.

Mattress recycling could become much bigger business

There are currently eight locations which recycle mattresses in California. While the current process to dismantle and turn used mattresses into raw materials for reuse is arduous, this is the reason a fee is needed to offset these costs.

However, supporters of SB 254 believe as the recycling law is implemented, and the financial incentive is created, more recycling centers will open. Some will become more automated than others, supporters claim this will create jobs, while removing the burden of having used mattresses in our landfills, and diminishing the illegal dumping of used mattresses.

I asked Shelly Sullivan, the spokeswoman for Californians for Mattress Recycling, what this program will cost the state. Sullivan said the newly created organization would reimburse the state for appropriate oversight costs.

As for a mechanism to measure accountability, Sullivan said, “The organization’s activities will be transparent and open to public input, and subject to annual performance and financial audits that would be published on its website.”

What criteria will be used to measure the success of the program? “The state’s oversight authority would confirm whether the organization has met its statutory obligations,” Sullivan explained.

Mattress recycling organization would be non-profit

If enacted, SB 254 would create a non-profit mattress recycling organization made up of retailers and manufacturers whose duty would be to plan, implement, and administer a state system to collect discarded used mattresses, dismantle them and recycle their materials for use in new products.

According to the bill analysis, “This bill establishes the Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act (Act), which requires mattress manufacturers and retailers to develop a mattress stewardships program to increase the recovery and recycling of used mattresses to reduce illegal dumping.”

SB 254 would require mattress manufacturers to submit a recovery and recycling plan to CalRecycle by April 1, 2015. Consistent with existing state policy, the plans would have a goal of recycling at least 75 percent of used mattresses in California by Jan. 1, 2020.

– See more at:


If you didn't read it, you should!

Bakersfield Californian op-ed authored by Mr. Eric Slagle, supporting SB 254 (Hancock/Correa), was reposted on a Capitol insider political news website FLASHREPORT.

Thank you Flashreport for covering California’s most significant political news!

Mattress Recycling Finally Getting Attention It Deserves—At Least in Three States

One down and 49 more to go could soon turn into three down and 47 more to go.  What I am referring to is efforts in the 50 states to create statewide recycling programs for used mattresses. As reported in Green Lodging news, earlier this year Connecticut passed legislation to create the infrastructure for a mattress recycling program.  Read more about Mattress Recycling finally getting the attention it deserves!

Mattress Recycling - It's the Law!

Connecticut passes the nation’s first mattress recycling law! California and other states are taking a similar course.

What does this mean for you?

These laws will substantially change how retailers, manufacturers, consumers and others handle discarded mattresses.

Join us for an interactive presentation on the latest developments in mattress recycling and how it will impact you and your business — no matter where you operate.

Tuesday, July 30 | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Las Vegas Market
World Forum, Building B, 16th Floor

Sponsored by ISPA and International Market Centers

Discarded Mattresses -- is it art?

We are waiting for the date to be set for SB 254 (Hancock/Correa) to be heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.  We hope to hear very soon and will post an update as we receive more details.

In the meantime, here’s a remarkable link  to a California blogger’s ‘mattress project‘ that demonstrates the need for SB 254 (Hancock/Correa) — mattress recycling done right.

Now, it isn’t that we don’t appreciate public art, but rather than treat used mattresses as art let’s turn them into repurposed products — and do a little good for mother nature!  Let’s leave the art to the likes of Matt Lipps or Sanya Kantarovsky.  

As a reminder, the goal of SB 254 is to create a program that advocates the recycling of used mattresses in a manner that provides Californians with a comprehensive mattress recycling solution that is consumer-friendly, cost-effective and efficient.

For more information on SB 254 (Hancock/Correa) or to take action today!
Stay tuned, there’s always more mattress news!

Latest C4MR Blog by Shelly Sullivan

SB 254 (Hancock/Correa) Now Moves To The Assembly

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, California’s State Senate approved SB 254 (Hancock/Correa) by a 32-5 bipartisan vote.

SB 254 creates a used mattress recycling program that will reduce the impact of illegally dumped mattresses, harness existing infrastructure for transporting used mattresses to recyclers, create jobs, and minimize costs to both government and consumers.

International Sleep Products Association President, Ryan Trainer commented,  “We are very pleased the California State Senate recognizes that SB 254 will improve used mattress recycling in the state in a practical and efficient manner. Since its inception, all stakeholders have been diligently working to craft sound used mattress recycling policy that will benefit consumers, retailers, manufacturers, and the environment. I want to thank the bill’s authors, Senators Loni Hancock and Lou Correa, for their leadership on this issue.”

SB 254 enjoys a broad range of support from industry, retailers, cities, counties, local elected officials, and waste management organizations.  It simply puts a nominal fee on used mattresses akin to California’s paint recycling program.  SB 254 is a common sense approach that helps Californians improve their recycling performance.

SB 254 (Hancock/Correa) now moves to the Assembly for Committee hearings and a floor vote.  Which means our work on SB 254 continues.

We need your renewed support in our efforts in the California State Assembly.  If you are a mattress manufacturer, retailer or component supplier in California, Take action today and contact your California Senator.

From that website you can send an electronic letter to your Assembly Member asking that he or she SUPPORT SB 254 (Hancock/Correa).  In addition, please call your Representative’s District Office and the Capitol Office.  Email or call, C4MR spokeswoman Shelly Sullivan, at or (916) 858-8686, for  the call-in numbers for your Assembly Member.


California Mattress Recycling Bill Heads to Senate Floor -- Take Action Today!

ISPA-supported California mattress recycling legislation, SB 254 (Hancock/Correa), was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee today. As you will recall, the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee approved SB 254 earlier this month and sent the bill to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which was the next step in the process. Following today’s vote, SB 254 is headed to the Senate Floor for a vote next week. After that vote, SB 254 will move to the Assembly.

We need your continued support in our efforts. If you are a manufacturer, retailer or industry vendor in California please take action today. At that website you can send a letter to your Senator asking that he or she SUPPORT SB 254 (Hancock-Correa). We would also like you to call your Representative’s District Office and the Capitol Office. Please email Shelly Sullivan, or call (916) 858-8686 and she will be happy to provide you with the call-in numbers.

Both tactics will not take much time out of your busy schedules, but the value they will provide will help ensure our legislation continues with support from both the Senate and Assembly and both parties.

Thank you for your time and commitment to our efforts to ensure SB 254 succeeds. As you know, it will establish a single program for recycling used mattresses that will be both economical and practical, reduce the impact of illegally dumped mattresses, harness existing infrastructure for transporting used mattresses to recyclers, and minimize costs to industry, government and consumers.

Mattress recycling - where commerce and legislation meet

In this video you will hear from 2 California legislators (Correa and Calderon) on why Californians for Mattress Recycling (C4MR) supports legislation- SB 254.  SB 254 strives to establish a mattress recycling system in California. The primary goals of this plan are to:

  • Create an economically practical system for recycling used mattresses;
  • Reduce the impact of illegally dumped mattresses;
  • Harness existing infrastructure for getting used mattresses to recyclers;
  • Minimize cost to governments and consumers.


SB 254 is supported by the mattress industry and its Association, the International Sleep Products Association.

SB 254 - where are you today?

On April 29, 2013 our legislation, SB 254 (Hancock-Correa) was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Senate Appropriations is where any legislation with a fiscal impact to the state must be heard.  The Appropriations Chairman, Senator Kevin de Leon ordered the bill to the ‘suspense file.’  All ‘suspense file’ bills will be heard toward the end of May.  We expect SB 254 to come off the ‘suspense file’ and move to the Senate Floor for a vote before May 31st, which is the deadline for all bills to be passed out of the house of origin (in this case the Senate).

California is not alone in its "Recycling Sate of Mind"

Prior to adjourning on March 14, the Utah Legislature passed a resolution announcing its intent to study “the creation and implementation of a program to recycle mattresses.” 
read more