Through the “Bye Bye Mattress” program, Tulare County, CA residents properly disposed of an estimated 30,000 mattresses last year, according to officials. Across the state, the program has recycled more than 3 million mattresses since 2016. The increasing numbers don’t mean mattresses still aren’t tossed on the side of rural roads, but it’s a start in getting them properly to a landfill. “Reaching this milestone in less than three years of operation is a significant achievement,” said Mike O’Donnell, Mattress Recycling Council’s managing director.
MRC oversees the program, which also recycles mattresses collected by retailers, hotels, universities and other sources that discard mattresses in large volumes. “The Bye Bye Mattress Program exemplifies California’s leadership in a sustainable and circular economy by creating green jobs,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve made progress toward reducing our environmental footprint, conserving landfill space and supporting California’s statewide recycling goals.”
The number of recycled mattresses makes Tulare County one of the highest contributors to the effort, Feldstein said. Most of the materials in each mattress can be recycled, O’Donnell said. As much as 80 percent of the material in a mattress can be reused. The program is funded through a recycling fee collected when consumers buy mattresses and box springs in California. MRC uses the fee to establish free drop-off locations and collection events. There are 12 Tulare County locations.
The foam from mattresses is for carpet padding and the wood from spring boxes are chipped and used as landscape mulch. The springs are sold as scrap steel, which is melted to make building materials and other items. Nathan Garza, Visalia’s Natural Resource Conservation technician, gave the program two thumbs up. “It has been a great benefit to know the mattresses will get a second life,” he said.
The national program is expected to net an estimated 1.5 million units this year.