April 23, 2012

OAKLAND – Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) announced today that she has introduced SB 1118, a bill to create a recovery and recycling program for used and unwanted mattresses.


“Illegally dumped mattresses are a terrible blight on our communities,” Senator Hancock said.  “They not only deface a neighborhood but they can become a health hazard and a breeding ground for mold and pests.”


“The risk these mattresses pose is not limited to the health of our citizens,” Hancock added.  “Cash-strapped cities are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars collecting and disposing of abandoned mattresses.  That’s money that could be better spent on fixing our streets and other vital services for the community.”


Hancock made the announcement at an illegal dumping site in West Oakland, next to a truckload of abandoned mattresses that had been collected by Oakland Public Works.  Joining Hancock at the press conference were Oakland Vice Mayor Nancy Nadel; West Oakland Biz Alert President Michael Herling; and Richmond Police Department Code Enforcement Manager Tim Higares.


According to Vice Mayor Nadel, “SB 1118 creates an opportunity for better behavior to stop the disrespectful practice of illegal dumping in our communities.  We strongly support and appreciate Senator Hancock’s introduction of SB 1118.” 


The City of Oakland collects between 18- 35 mattresses per day at a cost of about half a million dollars per year.


There is currently no law addressing the problem of illegally dumped mattresses. SB 1118 provides two possible methods for mattress recovery and recycle.


First, it requires mattress manufacturers to pick up mattresses bearing their brand name at no cost to the consumer. It also requires mattress retailers to offer free pickup of a used mattress anytime a consumer buys a new mattress.


Second, as an alternative to the pickup program, a mattress manufacturer can pay $25 per mattress sold in the state so that CalRecycle can set up a state program to recover and recycle used mattresses across California.


“Similar programs have successfully recycled bottles, televisions and e-waste,” Hancock pointed out.  “The costs of illegally dumped mattresses and the growing magnitude of the problem require action by the legislature.”


The problem was brought to Senator Hancock’s attention by West Oakland Biz Alert President Michael Herling and other local business leaders. 


“Illegal dumping of mattresses has been a problem in our West Oakland community for a long time.  Senator Hancock’s bill addresses this problem by focusing on eliminating the dumping of mattresses in our blighted communities,” Mr. Herling stated.


SB 1118 will have its first hearing before the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality on April 23, 2012.