Connecticut has passed the nation’s first-ever extended producer responsibility (EPR) bill for mattresses that supporters say will save local governments about $1.3 million and increase recycling opportunities for businesses. The law will require mattress manufacturers to finance and manage a mattress collection and recycling program.
The bill will now go to Gov. Dannel Malloy to sign into law.
Connecticut government officials estimate that municipalities across the state manage more than 175,000 discarded mattresses each year. Up to 95 percent of the mattress materials can be easily recycled — including steel, cotton and foam — but most mattresses in Connecticut are currently shipped to out-of-state landfills or waste-to-energy facilities.
Once signed into law, mattress manufacturers and renovators will be required to fund and manage a single stewardship organization, called the council, that will provide free collection and recycling services to municipalities, which include storage containers for municipalities to aggregate mattresses at transfer stations. A fee paid by mattress producers will fund the program. The producers will pass the fee onto retailers, who will then pass it on to consumers at point-of-sale.
The council must submit a plan to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) by July 1, 2014.
In December 2012, bill supporters collaborated with the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), the mattress manufacturer trade association, to prepare language that became the final bill. ISPA says this approach could establish model legislation for other states to follow.
Since 2010, the Product Stewardship Institute has worked with the city of Hartford, the Connecticut Product Stewardship Council, other Connecticut local governments, and DEEP to obtain support for the law from the mattress industry.
Two rival mattress recycling bills are currently moving through the California Legislature. Industry experts and environmentalists say some form of mattress recycling legislation is likely to be passed this year.
Last fall, Hilton began a mattress recycling program across all its US hotel chains that it says will recycle about 85 percent of its mattresses and box springs.