Since the program began in 2016, five million mattresses have been recycled by the Bye Bye Mattress program in the state of California. 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 has 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.”
New Uses For Mattresses
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.)
So how is a mattress recycled?
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.
Funded through a recycling fee collected when a mattress or box spring is sold, Bye Bye Mattress and the MRC use 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.
About MRC and Bye Bye Mattress: The Mattress Recycling Council was formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs (known as Bye Bye Mattress) in states that have enacted mattress recycling laws – California, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Since its inception in 2016, the program has recycled more than 5 million mattresses in California collected from a network consisting of local governments, solid waste facilities, nonprofit organizations and small and minority-owned businesses throughout the state.