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.