The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) has seen ongoing success with its across both Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Connecticut-based Bye Bye Mattress program was the country’s first statewide mattress recycling program, and after six years of steady growth it has now recycled more than one million mattresses and box springs, resulting in the diversion of more than 18,000 tons of steel, foam, fibers and wood from landfill and incineration. Over the last five years, Rhode Islanders have paid a recycling fee when buying mattresses and box springs. That fee has enabled the MRC to create a Bye Bye Mattress program to recycle these products from Rhode Island residents and commercial sources at no-cost. As a result, more than 500,000 mattresses have already been recycled, diverting more than 8,000 tons of steel, foam, fibers and wood from the state’s central landfill.
Bye Bye Mattress: Connecticut
MRC’s 2020-2021 Annual Report, which was submitted recently to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, highlights the latest efforts taken to continually strengthen the program and achieve performance goals. MRC again surpassed the established benchmarks for solid waste facility participation, units collected from mattress retailers and participation from small waste haulers that would normally send units to volume reduction facilities or waste-to-energy facilities. Overall, MRC increased the number of mattresses collected from the previous year by 12% to 213,540.
To collect mattresses discarded from residents and businesses across the state of Connecticut, MRC has recruited nearly 300 entities including municipal transfer stations, waste haulers, nonprofit organizations, mattress retailers, hotels, universities and hospitals to recycle through Bye Bye Mattress. Residents in 140 municipalities have the option to drop off old mattresses at no-cost at collection sites, collection events or through their municipality’s bulky item curbside program. This comprehensive network provides coverage to nearly 98% of the state’s residents.
Once the mattresses arrive at a recycling facility, they are cut open and layers of material are separated and prepared for sale. Major uses for the reclaimed material include carpet padding, insulation, filters and new steel products.
“MRC and the mattress industry are encouraged by the continued growth of mattress recycling efforts in Connecticut,” said Mike O’Donnell, managing director of MRC. “We are creating solutions to Connecticut’s solid waste challenges, and we share the state’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.”
Bye Bye Mattress: Rhode Island
Since its 2016 launch, MRC has recruited municipal transfer stations, waste haulers, nonprofit organizations, mattress retailers, hotels, universities and hospitals to divert their discarded mattresses to recycling. Currently, 37 Rhode Island cities and towns and more than 200 Rhode Island-based public and private entities participate in the program.
“MRC’s Bye Bye Mattress is keeping mattresses out of the central landfill and off streets, alleys and other public spaces that are often targets of illegal dumping,” said O’Donnell. “This program is also conserving valuable resources and supporting green jobs.”
In its most recent annual report submitted to Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC), MRC emphasized meeting all established performance goals and described the efforts taken to achieve them. The report also highlights MRC’s research projects which include conducting studies to identify new end markets, testing the physical properties of mattress components and establishing collaborative industry relationships to create a circular economy for polyurethane foam.
For more information, visit ByeByeMattress.com, MattressRecyclingCouncil.org/Programs/Connecticut And MattressRecyclingCouncil.org/Programs/Rhode-Island/
About the Mattress Recycling Council and Bye Bye Mattress: The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) is a nonprofit organization that operates recycling programs in states that have passed mattress recycling laws: California, Connecticut and Rhode Island. MRC was founded by the bedding industry and recycles more than 1.7 million mattresses each year.