Statewide mattress recycling program to begin May 1
The approved plan requires that retailers add a $10 recycling fee to each new or renovated mattress and box spring sold to Rhode Island consumers, who will see the charge as a separate line item on their receipt. Retailers and other businesses selling mattresses will remit those fees to MRC. They will pay for transportation and recycling of discarded mattresses.
Rhode Island’s law resulted from the International Sleep Products Association’s effort to develop a practical and economically efficient approach to mattress recycling.
“Resource Recovery couldn’t be happier to see this program on the near horizon,” said Michael OConnell, executive director of RIRRC. “Mattresses and box springs are made from nearly 90% recyclable materials. These materials are valuable to manufacturers and do not belong in our state’s landfill. Proper recycling of discarded mattresses means that the Rhode Island Central Landfill’s life will be further extended and cities and towns will save money.”
This program is intended to divert mattresses from landfills to recyclers, who will extract valuable resources, including cotton, foam and steel, from each. The program also allows consumers to drop off their discarded mattresses free of charge at designated locations.
“The mattress industry is leading the way in responsibly managing discarded mattresses. This program benefits consumers, local and state governments, and the environment,” said Ryan Trainer, president of MRC and ISPA. “Through this law, the industry has developed an efficient infrastructure for handling these products and a sustainable means for funding this work.”
MRC estimates that in the United States at least 20 million mattresses and box springs are discarded each year. This averages to about 50,000 units per day.
About the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp:
Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. is the quasi-state environmental agency dedicated to providing the public with environmentally sound and cost-effective programs and facilities to manage Rhode Island’s waste. The agency manages the state’s recycling program, and owns and operates the Materials Recycling Facility and Central Landfill in Johnston, Rhode Island.
Frequently asked questions about the Rhode Island program
Is the fee charged on any type of mattress?
The law defines mattress as a new, used or renovated mattress or box spring.
How can consumers recycle a mattress?
Consumers will continue to dispose of mattresses through traditional methods, such as municipal collection or drop off, or retailer take-back when a new mattress is delivered. These mattresses, which may have previously gone to a landfill or waste-to-energy facility, can now be recycled. Consumers also may drop off mattresses at designated recycling facilities at no charge.
What types of mattresses will the program accept for recycling?
Any mattress or box spring discarded by Rhode Island residents is eligible for recycling. The program, however, will not accept:
- Severely damaged, wet, twisted, frozen or soiled mattresses or box springs
- Mattresses or box springs infested with bedbugs
- Mattress pads or toppers
- Sleeping bags
- Car beds
- Juvenile products (i.e., carriages, baskets, dressing tables, strollers, playpens, infant carriers, lounge pads or crib bumpers)
- Crib and bassinet mattresses
- Waterbeds or camping air mattresses
- Fold-out sofa beds
- Futons and furniture
Where can consumers receive more information, including recycling locations?