The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) worked closely with Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chair Representative Arthur Handy to craft legislation that will recycle used mattresses in Rhode Island. The legislation tasks mattress manufacturers in Rhode Island with creating an organization to responsibly collect and process discarded mattresses throughout the state.
The new law requires mattress manufacturers to propose a detailed plan for mattress recycling in Rhode Island by July 1, 2015. The program will create opportunities for all mattresses in Rhode Island to be recycled and will help combat the issue of illegally dumped mattresses.
“We were pleased to work with state officials to develop legislation that promotes the proper disposal of mattresses while keeping costs low and creating jobs,” noted ISPA Vice President of Government Relations and Policy Christopher Hudgins. “The Rhode Island law follows industry-supported legislation that recently passed in Connecticut and serves as a model for other states interested in tackling this important issue.”
In May, Connecticut 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.
Connecticut government officials estimate that municipalities across the state manage more than 175,000 discarded mattresses each year. Up to 95% 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.
Similar mattress recycling legislation requiring the industry to recover springs, wood and fiber from old mattresses is currently working its way through the California Legislature.
According to the Los Angeles Times, California residents buy about 4 million new mattresses and box springs each year — and half of the used mattresses that those new mattresses replace end up in landfills or simply dumped on city streets. The city of Oakland, for example, spends $200,00 per year to collect mattresses that have been illegally dumped by the side of the road.
Fewer than 10% of old mattresses are recycled in California.