Rhode Island Plan Approved

On January 13, 2016, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) approved the Rhode Island Mattress Recycling Plan proposed by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit organization created by the mattress industry to develop and manage the statewide mattress recycling program established by General Law 23-90.  This makes Rhode Island the third state to authorize MRC to implement a statewide mattress recycling program.  Connecticut and California launched their programs in 2015.  MRC will launch the Rhode Island program on May 1, 2016.

The approved plan requires that retailers add a $10 recycling fee to each new or renovated mattress and box spring sold to Rhode Island consumers.  Consumers will see this fee as a separate line item on their receipt beginning May 1.  Retailers and other businesses selling mattresses will remit those fees to MRC.  The fees will pay for transportation and recycling of discarded mattresses. Rhode Island’s law resulted from the International Sleep Products Association’s (ISPA) effort to develop a practical and economically efficient approach to mattress recycling.

“Resource Recovery couldn’t be happier to see this program on the near horizon,” said Michael OConnell, Executive Director of RIRRC. “Mattresses and box springs are made from nearly 90% recyclable materials. These materials are valuable to manufacturers and do not belong in our state’s landfill. Proper recycling of discarded mattresses means that the Rhode Island Central Landfill’s life will be further extended and cities and towns will save money.”

This program will divert mattresses from landfills to recyclers who will extract valuable resources including steel, foam, and cotton from each mattress.  The program will also allow consumers to drop-off their discarded mattresses free of charge at designated locations.

“The mattress industry is leading the way in responsibly managing discarded mattresses. This program benefits consumers, local and state governments, and the environment,” said Ryan Trainer, president of MRC and ISPA.  “Through this law, the industry has developed an efficient infrastructure for handling these products and a sustainable means for funding this work.”

MRC estimates that in the United States at least 20 million mattresses and box springs are discarded each year.  This averages to about 50,000 units per day.


Is the fee charged on any type of mattress?
The law defines mattress as a new, used or renovated mattress or box spring. It does not include: any mattress pad, mattress topper, sleeping bag, pillow, car bed, carriage, basket, dressing table, stroller, playpen, infant carrier, lounge pad, crib bumper, waterbed or air mattress, fold-out sofa bed or futon.

How can consumers recycle a mattress?
Consumers will continue to dispose of mattresses through traditional methods such as municipal collection or drop off, or retailer take back when a new mattress is delivered.  These mattresses, which may have previously gone to a landfill or waste-to-energy facility, can now be recycled.  Consumers may also drop off mattresses at designated recycling facilities at no charge.

What types of mattresses will the program accept for recycling?
Any mattress or box spring discarded by Rhode Island consumers is eligible for recycling. However, the program will not accept:

• Severely damaged, wet, twisted, frozen or soiled mattresses or box springs
• Mattresses or box springs infested with bed bugs
• Mattress pads or toppers
• Sleeping bags
• Pillows
• Car beds
• Juvenile products (i.e., carriage, basket, dressing table, stroller, playpen, infant carrier, lounge pad, or crib bumpers)
• Crib and bassinet mattresses
• Water beds or camping air mattresses
• Fold-out sofa beds
• Futons and furniture

Where can consumers receive more information including recycling locations?
Visit www.byebyemattress.com for more information.

About Mattress Recycling Council
The Mattress Recycling Council is a non-profit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in states that have enacted mattress recycling laws – Connecticut, California and Rhode Island.  Each state’s program will be funded by a recycling fee that is collected when a mattress or box spring is sold. The fees pay for the transportation and recycling of the mattresses.  To learn more, go to www.mattressrecyclingcouncil.org.

About ISPA
Established in 1915, the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the growth, profitability and stature of the mattress industry. As the industry’s trade organization, ISPA is the voice of the mattress industry, representing mattress manufacturers and suppliers throughout the world. To learn more, visit www.sleepproducts.org or contact info@sleepproducts.org.

About Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation
Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation is the quasi-state environmental agency dedicated to providing the public with environmentally sound and cost-effective programs and facilities to manage Rhode Island’s waste. The agency manages the state’s recycling program, and owns and operates the Materials Recycling Facility and Central Landfill in Johnston.