California May Crack Down on Abandoned Mattresses

A new state program would be created to reduce the number of illegally dumped mattresses under legislation narrowly approved by the state Senate May 31.

The bill – SB 1118 by Sen. Loni Hancock, a Berkeley Democrat — would require mattress makers to collect used mattresses with their brand name and force mattress retailers to pick up old mattresses when a consumer buys a new one.

“(They) become breeding grounds for pests and molds, a source of blight, a health hazard — particularly in our low income communities,” said Hancock on the Senate floor, noting that in Los Angeles alone between 120 and 150 mattresses are dumped on the streets daily.

As many as 4 million to 5 million mattresses may be sold in California each year, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee analysis of Hancock’s bill.

Opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce and mattress makers the bill would allow retailers and manufacturers to recoup their costs adding an additional charge to the price of a new mattress.

Even so, the International Sleep Products Association says Hancock’s bill “would require the mattress industry to develop a costly and inefficient system for collecting and processing used mattress that will hurt California consumers, retailers, the mattress manufacturing industry and state tax revenues.

“(The bill) is nothing more than a direct cost shift from local agencies to manufacturers who ultimately would have to pass these costs on to new buyer through higher prices under the guise of environmental law.”

Opponents also say retailer already offer a collections service for used mattresses and that eight of the 30 mattress recycling centers in the united State are locate din California.

Hancock says beside blight and health concerns, disposing of junked mattresses is expensive for cash-strapped localities.

“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.”

Oakland estimates it deals with an average of 35 dumped mattresses each day, spending $500,000 year picking them up. Richmond says it collects 2,000 discarded mattresses each year.

Manufacturers could also pay an as yet-to-be-determined fee to the state Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery instead of collecting used mattresses.

Proceeds from the fee would be used to create a statewide mattress recycling program.

Hancock’s bill was sent to the Assembly by the 40-member Senate on a bare 21 to 17 vote.

IT took her several hours to convince enough fellow Democrats to give her the votes needed for passage.


1 Comment »

  1. There is so much opportunity!

    Comment by Daniel J.B. Mitchell — 6.02.2012 @ 7:04 am

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