Oregon enacts statewide mattress recycling law
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signed legislation establishing an industry-led statewide mattress recycling program. This action caps a multi-year effort by the mattress industry and other stakeholders to negotiate a practical recycling law for the state.
The mattress industry supports this new law, which authorizes an industry-organized nonprofit like the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), to provide residents with free, convenient, and accessible opportunities to discard old mattresses and divert them from waste to recycling. MRC will submit a program plan to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) no later than October 1, 2023, and will propose launching the program in 2024. This legislation is aligned with other successful recycling programs administered by MRC in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Since 2015, MRC has recycled more than 10 million mattresses and diverted more than 380 million pounds of steel, foam, fibre, and wood from landfills.
"By giving Oregonians a convenient way to recycle mattresses, we are reducing both waste once destined for the landfill and the likelihood of these items being illegally dumped," said Senator James Manning (D-Eugene), Co-Chief Sponsor of Senate Bill 1576, who carried the bill on the Senate floor. "The public-private partnership authorized by this legislation will be good for state residents and the environment, and will create good green jobs."
The MRC will propose funding its activities through a stewardship fee added to the cost of all mattresses and box springs purchased in Oregon, including online sales. MRC would then use the fee to establish collection sites and events where residents can drop off mattresses for free. In current program states, MRC accomplishes this by working with mattress retailers, the existing solid waste infrastructure, waste haulers, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. MRC would also recycle mattresses from commercial sources, including hotels and universities.
"MRC has developed a successful approach to mattress recycling. We continuously seek to improve the service we provide residents, increase the amount of each mattress that can be recycled and reduce the environmental impact of our operations," said Ryan Trainer, President of MRC and the International Sleep Products Association. "We look forward to working with mattress manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, local governments and state officials to develop an efficient and effective program for collecting and recycling mattresses discarded by Oregon residents."
MRC also uses its expertise in mattress recycling to foster innovation and cooperation across the supply chain to develop a circular economy for mattress products.
"What to do with an old mattress has been an age-old challenge for both the mattress and solid waste industries. MRC's approach offers a practical and efficient solution to this problem," said Doug Guffey MRC Board Chair and Senior Vice President of Sales at Atlanta Attachment Company/Vice President of Sales at Hickory Springs Manufacturing. "MRC welcomes the opportunity to add Oregon to its recycling network."