AN EYE ON THE ENVIRONMENT | Mattress Recycling Options Begin With Retailers – VC Reporter – Low Calorie Diets Tips

SHOWN: Mattress disposal facilities are available. photo submitted

by David Goldstein

If you want to recycle a mattress in Ventura County, five locations, found at byebyemattress.com, allow for free donation. Curbside bulky waste pickup is also an option for single-family home residents who subscribe to the garbage collection service and contact their carrier with a request. However, the most convenient option is retailer take-back. The retailer who supplies your new mattress or futon must offer to take back an old mattress or futon within 30 days.

To fund recycling at drop-off points and to make recycling through other methods more cost-effective, local stores and online retailers add a federally mandated fee of $10.50 to the consumer’s bill for each mattress or box spring sold in California. The costs for the most convenient variant, the dealer return, are primarily borne by the dealers.

Up until a year ago, only brick-and-mortar retailers had to offer to pick up the old mattress free of charge when a new one was delivered. Online retailers that deliver mattresses via UPS, FedEx or any other common carrier were only required to offer this service from January 2021.

However, January 2021 fell in a time of pandemic. As a result, when the mandate began to apply to online mattress retailers, some had an escape clause. State regulations allow retailers or their agents to refuse mattresses if they determine that the mattress is “contaminated or poses a risk to personnel, new products or equipment.” Citing the risk of COVID transmission, some have postponed compliance with this mandate.

I haven’t heard reports of retailers using this loophole to avoid an expensive obligation lately, but a recent problem seems harder to solve without consumer input. The online redemption application at the dealer sometimes requires a lot of persistence and prior knowledge of the dealer’s obligation.

For example, at least one online retailer that advertises its “green” credentials requires consumers who request collection of their old mattress to put a “call to action” on their order receipt; Go to the specified website and click on “Request Service”; Link to an item in the company’s Help Center; and then provide information, including “digital images,” to “conclusively demonstrate that the used mattress is in a condition suitable for collection.”

As a former city recycling coordinator, Kreigh Hampel knew retailers were required to collect his used mattress, so he and his wife were adamant about completing the process for collection. Afterward, he emailed me and remarked, “I can’t stress enough how vague and buried your recycling information is on your website. . . hidden in a jungle of green swagger.”

Know your recycling rights. To ensure your mattress is recycled in the most convenient way, you may need to consistently track the retailer’s take-back policy. If you find barriers please contact me. I advise the Mattress Recycling Council (mattressrecyclingcouncil.org/), a nonprofit organization founded by the mattress industry and commissioned by the California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling to manage the recycling monies generated by the $10.50 fee. The Council wants to know if many others are struggling with the opacity of retailers’ take-back processes.

If you operate a business in the “sleep product” industry or recycling industry and want to make mattress recycling easier in Ventura County, please consider becoming an additional free giveaway agency. The mattress recycling advice will help you fund your labor and equipment costs. Ventura County has two drop-off locations in Oxnard, one in Ventura, one in Camarillo, and one in Simi Valley. Locations are particularly needed in the Santa Clara River Valley and the Ojai Valley.


David Goldstein, an Environmental Resource Analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or david.goldstein@ventura.org. Goldstein’s comments are not being made in his capacity as a member of the California Mattress Recycling Advisory Committee or on behalf of the committee.

Leave a Comment