Five million mattresses have been recycled by the Bye Bye Mattress program in the state of California since the program began in 2016, the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) announced. If these mattresses were laid end to end they would span nearly 6,000 miles – enough to build a bridge from California to Hawaii and back. By recycling these units, Bye Bye Mattress helped California save more than 6 million cubic yards of landfill space.
“California is a global leader in mattress recycling, as evidenced by this significant milestone achievement,” said Mike O’Donnell, managing director of MRC, which operates the Bye Bye Mattress program. “We continue to build on this leadership by growing no-cost mattress recycling options statewide and helping ensure a greener California.”
More than 80 percent of a mattress can be recycled and turned into new consumer and industrial products. The five million mattresses recycled to date in California through MRC’s Bye Bye Mattress program equate to more than 168 million pounds of material kept out of state landfills and recycled into new products or diverted for other uses including:
• 84,318,480 pounds of steel
• 26,344,803 pounds of foam
• 26,853,401 pounds of cotton, quilt and other fibers
• 21,978,631 pounds of wood
• 8,883,028 pounds of other materials (cardboard, plastics, etc.)
When a mattress is recycled, it is cut open, the layers separated and interior materials organized by type for reuse. For example: the foam is recycled into carpet padding, the springs are used to make new appliances or other steel products, the fabric can be made into industrial filters and the wood from box springs is chipped for use as mulch or biomass fuel.
Bye Bye Mattress operates through a statewide network of permanent collection sites, public collection events and collaborations with solid waste providers, nonprofit organizations and small and minority-owned businesses. Collected mattresses are then transported from these sites to regional recyclers that dismantle and recycle mattress components.
Mattresses are also delivered to recyclers through Retailer Take-Back and Commercial Volume Pickup programs. Mattress recycling through Bye Bye Mattress is offered in all 58 California counties and 93 percent of residents have access to the program within 15 miles or less, according to MRC.
Bye Bye Mattress is funded through a recycling fee collected when a mattress or box spring is sold. MRC uses the fee to establish free drop-off locations and collection events throughout the state, combat illegal dumping and to further research that improves mattress recycling and develops new uses for the materials.