Fees, education, legislative outlook top ISPA EXPO session
The International Sleep Products Association announced several important updates regarding recent mattress-recycling laws at ISPA EXPO, March 26-29 in New Orleans. Legislation was passed in 2013 in Connecticut, California and Rhode Island.
The session included the following information for bedding retailers:
Point-of-purchase recycling fee
According to Mike O’Donnell, program director of the Mattress Recycling Council, an industry-created nonprofit organization formed to develop and implement mattress-recycling programs, retailers must collect a fee on each mattress and foundation sold in the three affected states, as required by law.
“The fee will be a flat rate per unit, regardless of mattress type or size,” he said. Each mattress and each foundation is considered a separate unit. It must be visible on the customer’s invoice or receipt that the retailer provides the customer. Retailers will remit the fees they collect at regular intervals through a secure online reporting system.
The fee will be based on actual costs for running these programs. In Connecticut, for example, the MRC is in the process of reviewing vendor proposals for recycling and transportation services.
“This will be the single-biggest cost in MRC’s budget,” O’Donnell said. “Once we have this finalized, we can gather the remaining information necessary to calculate the recycling fee. The exact fee will depend on the cost of the recycling plan approved by the state, but MRC’s goal is to keep the fee as low as possible.”
Direct consumer communication also will play an important part in the mattress-recycling efforts. To this end, the MRC will provide retailers with educational materials to explain the fee, mattress recycling and the program to consumers.
According to veteran mattress retailer Barrie Brown, owner of Sleep. You Deserve More in Campbell, Calif., and a longtime mattress-recycling advocate, direct MRC-to-consumer communications will include critical program information, such as who can use the program, how they can participate, what the fees pay for and why it is important to recycle their mattresses and foundations.
The mattress-recycling law in Connecticut will take effect in early 2015. Laws in Rhode Island and California should be implemented in early 2016.
“As we work through the details surrounding these programs, clear skies will return to the industry landscape and a sunny, milder future is in the forecast for used mattresses,” said Chris Hudgins, ISPA vice president of government relations, using a weather metaphor to refer to recycling laws.
Currently, no other states are actively pursing mattress-recycling bills, according to Hudgins. ISPA and the MRC plan to remain focused on Connecticut, Rhode Island and California.