Don’t Dump It, Recycle It: Free Recycling Lesson Plan

The Mattress Recycling Council’s Bye Bye Mattress program is proud to share an originally commissioned lesson plan for youth and young adults to learn about recycling, the impact of illegal dumping and what happens to waste in a landfill.

MRC worked with a local teacher and environmental justice advocate in Fresno, California, to develop a series of activities that help students become more observant of their own household waste generation and discover how to recycle items that cannot be placed inside of a bin, like mattresses. Along the way, they learn about the impact of illegal dumping on the environment and what happens to recyclable materials that are landfilled instead.

“Combatting illegal dumping takes a comprehensive approach from all aspects of society,” said Taylor Grimes, MRC’s California Special Projects Coordinator and administrator of its Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative. “We hope this lesson plan helps those that can influence the behavior of youth and young adults to value environmental stewardship and to understand the impact they make when they choose to recycle.”

The project was started in late 2020 with the goals of:

  • Empowering students with basic knowledge of how they can help their communities
  • Increasing students’ awareness about taking responsibility of their own waste
  • Understanding the impacts of illegal dumping on the natural environment
  • Helping students understand how to properly dispose of a mattress
  • Inspiring civic and environmental efficacy

The lesson plan can be used in school settings and with afterschool programs and youth-based groups too. Nyamin Martinez, Executive Director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network and leader of its environmental justice student program, Fresno YES! (Youth Environmentally Savvy) got a first peek at the lesson plan.

“Educating youth and community members on the multiple problems that illegal dumping causes, the resources available for them to prevent illegal dumping, and most importantly the benefits of recycling and reducing our waste generation, is vital to make our communities healthier, more sustainable and resilient,” Martinez said. She plans to use the lesson plan with her next cohort this summer.

Teachers, volunteers and educational leaders are encouraged to download, share and print the free lesson plan available on MRC’s Bye Bye Mattress program website.

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2019 Earth Day Tour

We are proud to be out and about for Earth Day 2019 this year. We will be exhibiting at a number of local events across California and Connecticut. Participants are invited to stop by and play our popular stacking tower game that reinforces the benefits of mattress recycling and how to do it.
Look for Bye Bye Mattress at the following events:
April 7
STAR Eco Station Children’s Earth Day
April 11
Earth Day L.A.
April 13
Visalia Earth Day 2019 “Keep On Rolling”
2019 Earth & Arbor Day
Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County Earth Day
Marine Science Institutes’s Earth Day on the Bay
April 14
Stockton Earth Day Festival “Move Green San Joaquin: Bus, Bike or take a Hike.”
April 20
Earth Day Fresno
April 27
LA Sanitation & Environment Earth Day LA
Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival
Green Oceanside and Earth Festival
April 28
ECOS Sacramento Earth Day
April 27
Newtown Earth Day
May 4
Woodbury Earth Day
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We're Reaching New Heights: 3 Million Mattresses Collected

Almost three years after MRC first launched Bye Bye Mattress, MRC recyclers have collected 3 million mattresses from hundreds of cities, towns, solid waste facilities, landfills, and other entities like retailers, hotels, and universities in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

MRC works with ten recyclers that dismantle the discarded mattresses and recycle the reclaimed steel, foam and other mattress components. These recyclers are located throughout the three states providing local jobs. Groups like the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Institutes of Health estimate that for every 10,000 pounds of material recycled, dozens of jobs are created.

“Although the early years of this Program have been successful, we still have lots of work to do,” said MRC Managing Director Mike O’Donnell. “We continue to focus on improving consumer access to recycling, deterring illegal dumping and growing public awareness of our programs.”

MRC’s progress has also attracted international attention. In 2017, IMM, an international interior furnishings show in Cologne, Germany, asked MRC to host a mattress recycling educational session. It provided MRC the opportunity to learn from similar programs in Australia, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. MRC is furthering those discussions at ISPA’s 2018 EXPO as leaders from mattress recycling programs in Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the European Union take part in a Mattress Recycling Summit today.

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We've Recycled One Million Mattresses!

The Mattress Recycling Council’s Bye Bye Mattress program announced that it has recycled its one millionth mattress. This means that Bye Bye Mattress has diverted nearly 25,000 tons of materials from landfills in the three states that MRC serves – California, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Each state enacted its own mattress recycling law to reduce the number of mattresses sent to landfills, combat illegal mattress dumping, and increase recycling rates.

The mattresses are collected from more than 300 collection sites, which allows the public to drop-off old mattresses and box springs for recycling at no cost. Now that consumers have a new option to recycle, Bye Bye Mattress has saved more than 11 million cubic feet of landfill space.

“During the initial year of its program, Bye Bye Mattress has significantly increased mattress recycling for communities across the states served. Having surpassed one-million units shows that the mattress industry has created a practical solution that is showing real promise,” said Ryan Trainer, President of the Mattress Recycling Council. “It is a major milestone, but is also just the beginning. We are still committed to making mattress collection and recycling in these states easier and more efficient for everyone.”

Bye Bye Mattress debuted in Connecticut in May 2015, California in December 2015 and Rhode Island in May of 2016. Each state program is funded through a small recycling fee that is collected when mattresses and box springs are sold. The fee is used to operate the program in each state by providing containers for collection sites and transportation of mattresses to contracted recyclers for deconstruction.

Throughout the three participating states, 11 recycling facilities process mattresses on behalf of the program. They deconstruct the unit, separating it into general components – steel, foam, fibers and wood. The materials are then prepared for sale to scrap dealers or other end markets. MRC expects Bye Bye Mattress to recycle another million units or more in 2017. The increased volume is creating jobs and driving innovation.

In California and Connecticut, nonprofit organizations like Goodwill of Silicon Valley, DR3 and Park City Green use mattress recycling as the basis for a jobs training program to help veterans, ex-offenders, the homeless and others who have trouble finding work. For example, Skylar Richardson of San Jose stepped foot into Goodwill’s mattress recycling facility determined to rebuild his life after struggling with addiction. He moved from dismantling and bailing mattresses to logistical responsibilities and managing a crew of 14 people.

“I’m focused on improving my supervisory skills and leading the department helps me with that,” said Richardson.

In the past year, more than 200 other people like Richardson have relied on these organizations to learn job skills and secure employment. While these nonprofits were successfully recycling mattresses and training job seekers before Bye Bye Mattress began, the program has increased the volume of mattresses recycled and the number of people benefiting from their services.

“As Bye Bye Mattress’ collection network expands to serve more and more municipalities and institutions such as universities and hospitals, retailers, and hotels, we will continue to build our capacity, which we hope to increase significantly over the next two years,” said Adrienne Farrar Houël, President and CEO of the Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, which founded and operates Park City Green in Bridgeport, Conn.

Meanwhile, for other recyclers contracted to recycle on behalf of the program, the increased mattress volume has driven their companies to expand or innovate the mattress deconstruction process. This has resulted in hiring more highly skilled workers and entry-level jobs in transportation, logistics, deconstruction and administration.

To keep in touch with the Mattress Recycling Council’s Bye Bye Mattress program, follow @ByeByeMattress on Facebook and Twitter.

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150,000 Mattress Diverted From Landfill in Connecticut

Last week, the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) presented its inaugural Annual Report of the Connecticut Bye Bye Mattress Program to Connecticut municipal leaders and state regulators. The report summarized the Program’s performance from its inception in May 2015 through the end of the state’s 2016 fiscal year (June 30).

The Program has already exceeded, met or is on pace to achieve nearly all benchmarks set in its plan, which was approved by the state in 2014. Highlights of the Program’s initial success in Connecticut include:

  • Recycled 150,000 mattresses. If these mattresses were laid end to end, they would span the state of Connecticut and then some – that’s more than 100 miles!
  • Recovered more than 2,800 tons of steel, foam and other materials that will be made into new useful products. That’s equivalent to 400 elephants.
  • Expanded the collection network to 101 free drop-off sites. More than 2.3 million residents across Connecticut have easy access to the Bye Bye Mattress collection site network.

“We are pleased with the Program’s productive start and will continue to work with city leaders, businesses and the state to improve the Program, expand the number of communities served, and increase the volume of mattresses recycled,” said Ryan Trainer, President of MRC and the International Sleep Products Association.

Industry-led recycling programs like Bye Bye Mattress will play an important part in helping Connecticut reach its goal to divert 60 percent of materials from disposal by 2024.

“We applaud the mattress industry for developing a successful statewide program under the mattress stewardship law that has already recycled thousands of mattresses in an environmentally sound manner,” said Robert Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  “This program has created jobs, recovered vast quantities of resources to be reused, saved municipalities $1.5 million in disposal costs and given residents an easy way to recycle a cumbersome item.”

Bye Bye Mattress allows Connecticut residents to drop-off used mattresses at participating collection sites, collection events and recycling facilities free of charge. This collection network is made possible by the $9 recycling fee that Connecticut consumers pay when they buy a new mattress or box spring. The fee provides for collection containers, transporting the discarded mattresses and recycling costs. Connecticut residents can find their nearest participating collection site, collection event or recycling facility by using the recycling locator.

MRC is also working with more than 130 other public and private entities, including mattress retailers, hotels, military bases, universities and healthcare facilities in Connecticut to divert their discarded mattresses from the solid waste stream.

In addition to its Connecticut program, MRC operates Bye Bye Mattress in California and Rhode Island.

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We’ve Improved Our Recycling Locator – Check it Out!

We’ve said “Bye-Bye” to our old recycling locator technology. Getting rid of your mattress is hard enough, searching our site shouldn’t add to that frustration. We hope you’ll agree that these improvements have made a big difference.

  • Personalized Map Display – No, we don’t know where you live, but you might think we do, because the map automatically finds your nearest locations based on your computer’s IP address. We’ve even color coded the collection sites and recyclers.
  • No More Scrolling for Results – Those annoying search fields that liked to stay put at the top of the page are gone! Results now display right beside the map, and special collection events even have their own special area.
  • Improved Filtering Capabilities – Only want to see the recycling facilities so you can redeem your reimbursement? Just check the box! Advanced search allows further refinement of the results.

Please let us know if there are other changes you would like to see to the recycling locator, or have experienced a technical error or issue.

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Ocean State Waves Hello to Bye Bye Mattress

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 beginning May 1.

Bye Bye Mattress is administered by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a nonprofit 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.


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Bye Bye Mattress Is Springing Up In Your Area This Earth Day

We are springing into action with various appearances at Earth Day events in our operating states. Come say hello to Bye Bye Mattress in:

In Northern California we’ll be participating in several family-friendly events aimed at educating these communities about recycling, sustainability and preserving the planet. Meet our team and learn how and where mattresses are recycled in your area.

April 16
Earth Day Santa Cruz
San Lorenzo Park
11am – 4pm

April 23
City of Visalia 2016 Earth Day Festival
St. Johns Riverwalk Park
10am – 2pm

April 24
Sacramento Earth Day
Southside Park
11am – 4pm

Since the December 2015 launch of the MRC’s California Bye Bye Mattress Program, more than 100,000 mattresses have been recycled. The number of collection sites has also increased steadily to 85.Rodney Clara, Northern California Program Coordinator, is optimistic about the collection site growth in the area. “We are actively working to get information out to the public, for example, these Earth Day events, they are great opportunities to show the community we are there for them and we are growing, and growing fast,” said Clara.

We’ve partnered with the Town of Cheshire to host a collection event for residents. Mattresses, box springs and crib mattresses will be accepted.

April 30
Cheshire’s Community Wide Free Mattress Recycling Event
9am – 1pm
Darcey School
1686 Waterbury Road (Route 70)

MRC’s Connecticut Bye Bye Mattress Program is approaching the completion of its first year. The program now averages recycling 10,000 mattresses a month and is up to approximately 100 collection sites. In addition, nearly 100 Connecticut businesses and organizations such as retailers, universities and hotels have voluntarily agreed to divert their used mattresses to recycling.

“We are excited to be a part of this event and hope to bring more special collection opportunities to towns like Cheshire,” said Justine Fallon, MRC’s Northeast Program Coordinator. “We are dedicated to making mattress drop-off or collection more easily accessible and would love to hear from property managers, campus directors, civic groups or community organizers that want to arrange an event for their area.”

To find a free drop-off location or recycling facility nearest you search the recycling locator.   

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Rhode Island Plan Approved


ALEXANDRIA, VA – On January 13, 2016, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) approved the Rhode Island Mattress Recycling Plan proposed by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a nonprofit organization created by the mattress industry to develop and manage the statewide mattress recycling program established by General Law 23-90.  This makes Rhode Island the third state to authorize MRC to implement a statewide mattress recycling program.  Connecticut and California launched their programs in 2015.  MRC will launch the Rhode Island program on May 1, 2016.

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.  Consumers will see this fee as a separate line item on their receipt beginning May 1.  Retailers and other businesses selling mattresses will remit those fees to MRC.  The fees will pay for transportation and recycling of discarded mattresses. Rhode Island’s law resulted from the International Sleep Products Association’s (ISPA) 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 will divert mattresses from landfills to recyclers who will extract valuable resources including steel, foam, and cotton from each mattress.  The program will also allow 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.

Is the fee charged on any type of mattress?
The law defines mattress as a new, used or renovated mattress or box spring. It does not include: any mattress pad, mattress topper, sleeping bag, pillow, car bed, carriage, basket, dressing table, stroller, playpen, infant carrier, lounge pad, crib bumper, waterbed or air mattress, fold-out sofa bed or futon.

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 may also 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 consumers is eligible for recycling. However, the program will not accept:

• Severely damaged, wet, twisted, frozen or soiled mattresses or box springs
• Mattresses or box springs infested with bed bugs
• Mattress pads or toppers
• Sleeping bags
• Pillows
• Car beds
• Juvenile products (i.e., carriage, basket, dressing table, stroller, playpen, infant carrier, lounge pad, or crib bumpers)
• Crib and bassinet mattresses
• Water beds or camping air mattresses
• Fold-out sofa beds
• Futons and furniture

Where can consumers receive more information including recycling locations?
Visit for more information.

About Mattress Recycling Council
The Mattress Recycling Council is a nonprofit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in states that have enacted mattress recycling laws – Connecticut, California and Rhode Island.  Each state’s program will be 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

About ISPA
Established in 1915, the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the growth, profitability and stature of the mattress industry. As the industry’s trade organization, ISPA is the voice of the mattress industry, representing mattress manufacturers and suppliers throughout the world. To learn more, visit or contact

About Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation
Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation 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.