EYE ON THE ENVIRONMENT | Mattress recycling options start with retailers – VC Reporter

photo: Mattress disposal options are available. Photo has been sent

by David Goldstein

If you’d like to recycle a mattress in Ventura County, five sites, which can be found at byebyemattress.com, let you take them down for free. Curbside bulk item collection is also an option for residents of single family homes who sign up for a trash collection service and call their carrier to order. However, the most convenient option is to take back the retailer. The retailer that delivers your new mattress or futon must offer you a refund of an old mattress within 30 days.

To fund recycling at drop-off sites, and to make recycling more cost-effective through other methods, local stores and online retailers add to the consumer bill a state-mandated $10.50 fee for each mattress or box spring sold in California. Retailers bear the cost of the most favorable option, i.e., restore the retailer.

Until a year ago, only local brick-and-mortar retailers were required to offer to pick up your old mattress for free when a new mattress was delivered. Online retailers, who deliver mattresses via UPS, FedEx, or another shared carrier, are not required to offer this service until January 2021.

However, January 2021 came during the period of the epidemic. So, when authorization began to be applied to online mattress retailers, some had a drop clause. State regulations allow retailers or their representatives to refuse a mattress if they determine that the mattress is “contaminated or poses a risk to people, new products, or equipment.” Arguing the risk of COVID transmission, some have postponed compliance with this mandate.

I haven’t heard recent reports of retailers using this loophole to avoid an expensive commitment, but it seems like a new problem is hard to solve without consumer intervention. The online process of requesting a refund from the retailer sometimes requires a great deal of persistence and advanced knowledge of the retailer’s commitment.

For example, at least one online retailer, which advertises its “green” credentials, requires consumers who order their old bedding to note a “call to action” on their order receipt; Go to the indicated site and click on “Request service”; a link to an item in the company’s help center; Then provide the information, including ‘digital photos’ in order to ‘prove that the mattress used is in good condition for pick up’.

As the former big-city recycling coordinator, Kreigh Hampel knew retailers were obligated to collect his used mattress, so he and his wife insisted they complete the collection order process. Then, he emailed me, stating: “I can’t stress enough how obscure their recycling information is and buried on their website . . . hidden in a forest of green ostentation.”

Know your recycling rights. To ensure your mattress is recycled in the most convenient manner, you may have to persevere in following the retailer’s commitment to reclaim it. If you find barriers, please contact me. I advise the Mattress Recycling Council (mattressrecyclingcouncil.org/), a nonprofit organization formed by the mattress industry and appointed by the California Department of Resource Recovery and Recycling to manage the recycling funds generated from the $10.50 fee. The board is interested to see if there are many other people having issues with the retailer’s clouding of refunds.

Also, if you run a business in the “sleeping products” or recycling industry and would like to make mattress recycling easier in Ventura County, please consider becoming an additional free delivery site. The Mattress Recycling Board will help you fund labor and equipment costs. Ventura County has two drop-off sites in Oxnard, one in Ventura, one in Camarillo and one in Simi Valley. The sites are particularly needed in the Santa Clara River Valley and Ojai Valley.

David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected] Goldstein’s comments were not made in his role as a member of the California Mattress Recycling Advisory Committee nor on behalf of the committee.

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