Ocean State Waves Hello to Bye Bye Mattress

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Rhode Island Becomes Third State With Mattress Recycling Council's Free Mattress & Box Spring Recycling Program

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Combating Illegal dumping and reducing the impact on landfills have always been concerns for the mattress industry.

On Sunday, Rhode Island becomes the third state in the nation with a free recycling program for mattresses and box springs. The program, known as Bye Bye Mattress, has established free collection points in cities and towns across the state. Rhode Island residents can find their nearest participating collection site or recycling facility at http://www.byebyemattress.com beginning May 1.

Bye Bye Mattress is administered by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit organization created by the mattress industry to develop and manage the recycling program mandated by law in 2013. The program is funded through a $10 recycling fee that is collected when a mattress or box spring is sold to Rhode Island consumers. Consumers will notice this fee as a separate line item on their receipt. The fee is used to pay for transporting and recycling the discarded mattresses.

“Combating Illegal dumping and reducing the impact on landfills have always been concerns for the mattress industry,” said Ryan Trainer, president of MRC and the International Sleep Products Association. “We have found that recycling can be a realistic option for these products and help us address these issues when, like in Rhode Island, a program has the support of state and local governments, consumers and businesses.”

Solid waste facilities in 31 towns are participating as designated collection locations and more are expected to join throughout 2016. MRC will also work with mattress retailers, hotels, universities, healthcare facilities and other public and private entities in Rhode Island to divert mattresses from the solid waste stream.

In addition to establishing these free collection points, the program will also provide a $2 consumer incentive when an individual chooses to drop off a mattress or box spring at Ace Mattress Recycling in West Warwick. No more than eight mattresses per household per year are eligible for the incentive and individuals may not deliver more than four mattresses at a time.

“We currently handle approximately 32,000 mattresses a year at the Central Landfill,” said Sarah Reeves, Director of Public Policy Programs & Planning for Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC). “With recycling now a more convenient and free option for all state residents, we hope to see that number decrease significantly.”

RIRRC and other stakeholders in the program, including government officials, municipal and solid waste representatives and the mattress industry, will gather at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3 at RIRRC’s Central Landfill in Johnston to commemorate the launch of the program.

Recycling Facts
Each year, 35 to 40 million new mattresses and box springs are sold in the United States, and at least 15 to 20 million used mattresses and box springs are discarded.

More than 80% of a used mattress’ components can be recycled —the metal springs, foam, wood and fibers — and made into new useful products. For example:

  • The steel springs are recycled as metal scrap and can be melted and used to make new appliances, building materials and other steel products.
  • The foam can be turned into carpet underlayment or animal bed padding.
  • The wooden frames can be shredded to produce landscaping mulch.
  • The cotton and other fiber can be used in industrial oil filters and other textile applications.

The Recycling Process
Most recyclers currently use the following process to dismantle a mattress:
1. The top mattress layer (including the outer fabric) is cut, peeled and separated from the mattress’ interior materials (which can include fiber, polyurethane or latex foam and steel springs).
2. The interior materials are pulled apart and separated by type.
3. Foam, fiber and other soft commodities are baled and compressed for transport to scrap dealers or companies that will consume them to make new products.
4. Metal springs from mattresses and box springs are extracted and sent to scrap recyclers that will sell them to steel mills and foundries.
5. Wood is chipped or shredded.

About Mattress Recycling Council
The Mattress Recycling Council is a non-profit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in states which have enacted mattress recycling laws – Connecticut, California and Rhode Island. Each state’s program is 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 http://www.mattressrecyclingcouncil.org.

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Amanda Wall
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