Latest annual report highlights expanded access across the state, an increasing recycling rate and efforts to address illegal dumping
The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) continues to lead the way in product stewardship in California. The organization’s 2020 Annual Report, recently submitted to state officials, shows that despite the disruptions and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, MRC continued to strengthen its California mattress recycling program known as Bye Bye Mattress, worked with local and state leaders to address illegal dumping and took steps to encourage manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of their processes and products.
Program Recyclers Achieve Highest Recycling Rate
In 2020, MRC’s Bye Bye Mattress program recycled more than 1.5 million mattresses and diverted over 64.8 million pounds of material from landfills. The program’s recyclers achieved a 77.1% recycling rate – the highest in the program’s history and an improvement of more than 6 percentage points from the previous year. MRC actively invests in research projects to identify new end markets and create program efficiencies to drive incremental improvements in the recycling rate.
Easy Access to Free Mattress Recycling Continues
“MRC was created to efficiently divert mattresses from landfills by developing a comprehensive and diverse collection network that is available and accessible to all Californians,” said Mike O’Donnell, MRC’s Managing Director. “This is especially important in communities that experience higher instances of illegal mattress dumping.”
MRC continued to exceed program accessibility goals by adding more collection sites and bulky item collection programs to the Bye Bye Mattress network. In 2020, MRC focused on adding collection opportunities to rural counties, communities experiencing high per capita rates of illegal dumping and underserviced areas. Overall, 98.6% of Californians have access to MRC’s no-cost collection sites or events, up from 94.8% in 2019. Additionally, mattress retailers provide no-cost take back of an old mattress to any consumer that has a new mattress delivered anywhere in the state.
Finding and Funding Solutions to Address Illegal Dumping
MRC continues its commitment to finding solutions that reduce illegal dumping of mattresses. In addition to dedicating over $1 million to its statewide data collection effort known as the Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative, MRC provided more than $200,000 in funding for prevention and mitigation projects in three especially hard-hit areas.
“While yearly analysis of our Initiative and collection network data is showing that communities with collection sites and events are experiencing less illegal mattress dumping, we also know it takes an integrated approach that includes enforcement and education to mitigate and prevent this behavior,” said O’Donnell. “We are active in local and state illegal dumping task forces and offer consumer education resources to change behaviors that lead to illegal dumping.”
Leading the Way in Improving Mattress Recycling
In addition to taking responsibility for keeping old mattresses out of landfills and abandoned ones from adding to the nuisance of blight, MRC is joining other mattress recycling organizations from around the world to improve mattress recycling efforts across the value chain. MRC initiatives such as the Sleep Products Sustainability Program encourage manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of their processes and other efforts launching this year will help facilitate information sharing between the mattress industry and recyclers.
“We are proud of the success of the California mattress recycling program and our statistics proves our dedication to making California greener and cleaner,” said O’Donnell.
Since the program started in California in 2016, more than 7 million mattresses have been recycled in the state and more than 230 million pounds of materials have been kept out of landfills. Learn more at mattressrecyclingcouncil.org/programs/california.