The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) supports the EPA’s National Recycling Strategy, which champions building a circular economy and recognizing the benefits recycling provides in the fight against climate change. We applaud EPA’s addition of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to the list of policy approaches governments should consider and the acknowledgment of the value of public-private partnerships.
The strategy’s five objectives are sound.
- improve markets for recycled commodities
- increase collection and improve materials management infrastructure
- reduce contamination in the recycled materials stream
- enhance policies and programs to support circularity
- standardize measurement and increase data collection
MRC embraces these same objectives to improve mattress recycling. Our Bye Bye Mattress programs in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island have each operated for at least five years. It’s led to the recycling of more than 8 million mattresses, diverting more than 300 million pounds of material from landfills and incineration.
The mattress recycling fee that is collected when mattresses and box springs are sold to consumers in these states is used by MRC to enable mattress collection in underserved areas, to help collection sites operate more efficiently and to implement infrastructure improvements that reduce mattress contamination.
MRC also supports valuable and forward-looking research. We invest in projects to identify new end markets, increase recycling rates, improve the efficiency of used mattress collection and help contracted recyclers increase profitability by identifying mattress dismantling and recycling best practices.
We are also using the fee to spur a circular economy for mattresses. Our Sleep Products Sustainability Program provides California manufacturers a pathway for reducing their environmental impact. Other efforts are facilitating information sharing between recyclers and manufacturers that will help recyclers prepare to handle changes in mattress products, and also lead manufacturers to consider more recyclable product designs.
Up to 75% of a mattress is recyclable. The steel, foam, fibers and wood are used to make hundreds of consumer and industrial products. The mattress industry is invested in continuing to make mattress recycling successful.
MRC’s model for EPR for mattresses works and states that consider these products challenging for their waste stream are encouraged to contact us.