Learn about major developments with our Northeast programs, our current research and more! Also don’t forget America Recycles Day is approaching on November 15. It’s a good time to talk about mattress recycling!
More Than 1.5 Million Mattresses Recycled by Northeast Programs
MRC’s oldest program state, Connecticut, surpassed 1 million mattresses recycled. While the youngest program in Rhode Island passed the 500,000 mark. We recently filed annual reports with state regulators. Each highlights the latest efforts taken to continually strengthen the program and achieve performance goals.
In Connecticut, MRC collected 12% more units than the previous year. The program surpassed the established benchmarks for solid waste facility participation, units collected from mattress retailers, and participation from small waste haulers that would normally send units to volume reduction facilities or waste-to-energy facilities.
Meanwhile the Rhode Island program collected 20% more units from retailers than the year before and increased the number of units collected from educational facilities. Strong participation from solid waste service providers and small commercial haulers resulted in more mattresses being directly diverted to recyclers instead of the state’s central landfill. Learn more about MRC’s Connecticut and Rhode Island program. View annual reports in the public documents section.
What is the recycling fee used for? A Closer Look at Mattress Recycling
To help retailers better explain the purpose of the recycling fee to consumers, we are introducing a short series that discusses the activities funded by the fee and resulting benefits. We explained mattress collection and transportation last month. For this second installment, we focus on the mattress recycling process.
MRC contracts with recycling facilities to deconstruct mattresses. At these facilities, more than 75% of a mattress can be recovered and sold to companies that make new consumer and industrial products. Removing those valuable materials from the waste stream creates jobs and improves the communities we serve.
So what happens when a mattress arrives at a recycling facility? When a mattress arrives at a recycling facility, it is manually cut open and the layers are separated. The materials then get organized by type and sold to secondary markets. The steel from the springs is sold as scrap to be recycled into new steel products, the foam is recycled for use as carpet padding, the fibers are used to make insulation, and wood from box springs is recycled into mulch or used as a biomass fuel.
Not only does mattress recycling divert materials from the waste stream to make new useful products, but it also creates green jobs. MRC collaborates with local governments, solid waste facilities, waste haulers, nonprofit organizations and small- and minority-owned businesses, to create a collection footprint that spans rural and urban areas and provides both households and businesses with multiple options for recycling mattresses. By providing a variety of solutions, Bye Bye Mattress can mitigate illegal dumping through no-cost retailer take back and our network of free drop-off sites and collection events.
Next time we’ll look at education and outreach. For suggested answers to other common customer questions, check out our Customer FAQ.
Tap into America Recycles Day to Stress Merits of Mattress Recycling
Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) is a great opportunity to increase attention and awareness of proper recycling. Don’t let residents forget that big items like mattresses can be recycled too! Use our marketing toolkit for content that is easy to plug into your recycling guides, newsletters, social media or other resident communications. MRC would love to work with you on an op-ed or letter to the editor in your local media. Not finding exactly what you need? Contact us.
Bye Bye Mattress Visits The 2021 Lodi Street Faire
More than 2,000 residents attended this twice a year event featuring live music and local vendors. Our booth consisted of engaging displays and infographics that explained what happens to mattresses as they are recycled.
“I am a teacher, and I am going to use this demonstration of the recycled items to teach my students how important it is to recycle,” said one of the 160 Lodi residents visiting our booth.
RENUVA™ Closing the Loop for Mattresses Webinar
Dow chemical has developed a new process to recycle old mattress foam back into new foam products. This is an important step to develop a circular economy for polyurethane foams and a very encouraging development for the mattress recycling industry. This Dow Chemical webinar explains the new process.
Using Enzymes to Dissolve Blended Fabrics
MRC is funding research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to explore the use of commercially available enzymes to recycle mattress textiles. The enzymes are already proven to individually digest homogeneous cotton or polyester fabrics. This study will evaluate if a mixture of these enzymes can be used in sequence to digest blended fabrics such as those found in discarded mattresses. Work on the study began in September 2021 and is expected to conclude in late 2022. Richard Gross, RPI’s professor of chemistry and biology and the Constellation Chair of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering, is directing the research. When completed, details will be provided on MRC’s research page.
Funds Awarded for 3 Additional Collection Facility Improvement Projects
MRC has approved three additional awards through its California mattress collection facilities improvement funding program to increase mattress recyclability, efficiency and safety at our collection sites. The three new awardees are: Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority’s Highway 59 Landfill in Merced, Turlock Transfer Company Inc. in Turlock and Placer County Eastern Regional Sanitary Landfill Inc. in Tahoe City. One public collection site anticipates increasing the number of units recycled and the other two public collection sites anticipate a significant decrease in transportation emissions annually. In 2021, MRC has so far awarded $65,572 for weather protection, security infrastructure and equipment to assist with handling recyclable mattresses. Visit the MRC website for more program information and the application.
New Collection Sites
Welcome ASAP Movers
925 Buckley Rd.
San Luis Obispo, California 93401
Mattresses and box springs accepted from state residents and businesses Monday-Saturday 8am-5pm. Visit their listing on our recycling locator for more information.
Jobs & the Economy Thanks to Recycling: Recycling Economic Information Studies
The Northeast Recycling Council shares information demonstrating the value of the recycling industry. Register here.
Online hotel reservation system now open.