More than 75% of the components of most mattresses and box springs can be recycled.

On July 27, the Baker-Polito administration announced the award of $440,000 in grants through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program to help 44 municipalities purchase mattress collection containers.

The containers, used to store discarded mattresses and box springs until a full container can be transported to a recycling facility, will help cities and towns comply with a ban on disposing of mattresses and box springs in landfills or combustion facilities, which takes effect on Nov. 1.

More than 75% of the components of most mattresses and box springs can be recycled, making them a target for solid waste disposal bans. Due to their size and bulk, mattresses and box springs are often costly to dispose of and take a lot of space in landfills.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is providing a number of municipal grant opportunities to promote mattress recycling programs, including the Recycling Dividends Program. The funding opportunities are also intended to help municipalities reach objectives articulated in the 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan.

The 44 cities and towns receiving grants for mattress collection containers ($10,000 each) will still be responsible for financing accompanying recycling programs, something 126 municipalities have done to date through MassDEP grants and regional programs.

Bills to establish a free, statewide mattress recycling or stewardship program did not succeed during the recently concluded formal legislative sessions.

One potential avenue for financing statewide mattresses recycling is extended producer responsibility, which would require manufacturers, not municipalities, to pay for the recycling of discarded mattresses and box springs through a fee charged to consumers at the point of purchase. Connecticut and Rhode Island have EPR programs for mattresses and charge a fee of $11.75 and $16 per mattress, respectively. The programs have diverted more than 1.5 million units to recycling facilities rather than landfills or incineration.

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