The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), operator of the Bye Bye Mattress program, announced the continued expansion of its relationships with local conservation corps (LCC) in California. What started in 2016 with the Greater Valley Conservation Corps in Stockton has extended to nine of the state’s 14 LCCs. These Corpsmembers are obtaining critical job skills as they operate collection sites and collection events in their communities, giving area residents additional no-cost ways to recycle mattresses and furthering the LCC’s commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment.
“The growth of this relationship is making a difference for the environment and changing lives,” said MRC’s Managing Director Mike O’Donnell. “These Corpsmembers are young adults that are working hard to put themselves on a path to success. Essentially, when you pay the recycling fee on your new mattress, portions of it support opportunities created by these various local conservation corps.”
The most recent LCCs to join the network include Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps, Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, San Jose Conservation Corps and Chater School and San Francisco Conservation Corps. These partnerships are already making a big impact on California.
Other LCCs MRC works with are the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Urban Corps of San Diego and the Conservation Corps North Bay. Other nonprofits MRC works with include Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and St. Vincent de Paul.
Upcoming collection events and details regarding collection sites are available at ByeByeMattress.com.
Highlights from MRC’s newest LCC partnerships
In the Central Valley, Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps provides two permanent mattress collection sites – one at its main base in southwest Fresno, the other at the Friant Buyback Center. Corpsmembers also provide labor for mattress collection events in Fresno and Madera counties as well as surrounding areas.
“This collaboration with the Mattress Recycling Council has been several years in the making and we’re eager to make an impact in our community together,” said Director of the Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corp Shawn Riggins. “Collecting mattresses for recycling will greatly complement our current services and help eliminate some of the illegal mattress dumping experienced in our service area.”
In February, MRC and the corps collaborated with the Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN) and students involved in the Fresno YES! program to provide a community wide collection event. The students led the effort, which was aimed at reducing the items often dumped in the alleyways in their neighborhood. This event format was so successful that CCEJN has plans to replicate it with YES! programs elsewhere in the county.
In Northern California, MRC’s partnership with the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps is elevating the effectiveness of collection events. In October 2020, it assisted the Western Placer Waste Management Authority with an event that collected over 600 mattresses from Placer County residents, the largest event in the history of MRC’s program.
In the Bay Area, the San Jose Conservation Corps and Charter School provides labor for mattress collection at the Goodwill of Silicon Valley three days a week. Since the partnership started in June 2020, more than 24,000 mattresses have been collected at this site.
“Our work with the Mattress Recycling Council allows us to reach more young adults and provides them with job opportunities that focus on improving our communities and our environment,” said San Jose Conservation Corps Director of Zero Waste and Emergency Operations Louise Bruce. “We look forward to further developing this relationship and expanding the impact we can have on the South Bay together.”
Meanwhile, on May 1, the San Francisco Conservation Corps (SFCC) will assist with its first collection event. As part of Daly City’s Earth Day event, corpsmembers will handle the mattresses dropped off by city residents.
“Every opportunity to divert household items like mattresses from the landfill is a win for the environment,” said Sharon Holly, Recycling Program Manager at SFCC. “Our joint mattress recycling events provide our Corpsmembers with another opportunity to bring conservation to their communities.”
Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative Pilot
MRC is piloting a method for involving LCCs in its Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative (Initiative). Each year, MRC dedicates at least $1 million to the initiative, which provides funding to eligible entities in exchange for data about the illegally dumped mattresses collected by the entity in their service area. This allows MRC to direct resources to areas that need them most. In 2021, the San Jose Conservation Corps, Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps and Greater Valley Conservation Corps will each partner with municipalities in their local jurisdiction to remove and track illegally dumped units in their communities.
“Similar arrangements between a local conservation corps and a municipality have been successful for tires and electronic waste,” said O’Donnell. “We are looking to implement those best practices and create a process that makes it possible for similar nonprofits to participate in our initiative.”
Originally posted Nov. 23, 2020. Last updated April 29, 2021.