May 31, 2012

Sacramento  – SB 1118, a bill by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) to create a recycling program for used and unwanted mattresses, passed the Senate on a 21-17 vote late this afternoon.


The bill now goes to the State Assembly.


“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 police and other vital services for the community.”


The City of Oakland collects between 18-35 mattresses per day at a cost of about half a million dollars per year.  The City of Richmond has picked up approximately 5,000 mattresses in the last 15 months.  Los Angeles picks up 120-150 illegally dumped mattresses per day.


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


First, it requires mattress manufacturers to set up a “return” program in order to recycle used mattresses and to prevent illegal dumping.


Second, as an alternative to the pickup program, a mattress manufacturer can pay $25 per mattress sold in the state.  The money will be used by CalRecycle to 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.”