discarded mattress pile
The Mattress Recycling Council says its efforts have led to 190,000 tons of steel, foam, fiber and wood being diverted from landfills and recycled into new products in the United States.
Photo courtesy of Mattress Recycling Council.

MRC efforts lead to 10 million mattresses recycled

Virginia-based MRC says it hit milestone in early 2022.

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The Alexandria, Virginia-based Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) says it has now recycled 10 million mattresses. The MRC says the milestone was “achieved through its statewide programs in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.”

Continues the MRC, “As a result of this work, more than 380 million pounds (190,000 tons) of steel, foam, fiber and wood have been diverted from landfills and recycled into new products.” MRC also says it has “undertaken research to promote product circularity in the mattress industry and improve mattress collection and recycling processes.”

States Mike O’Donnell, MRC’s managing director, “Since our first program launched in 2015, MRC has provided residents with highly accessible recycling services, diverted many thousands of tons of recyclable materials from the waste stream and created hundreds of green jobs. In addition, our Bye Bye Mattress consumer education effort has informed residents why mattress recycling is important and how to do it correctly.”

Adds O’Donnell, “We share this achievement with the mattress manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, state and local officials, research partners and countless others who have collaborated with MRC to make this milestone possible.”

To create its statewide collection networks in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island, MRC says it tied into existing solid waste infrastructure to obtain mattresses from waste haulers, landfills, transfer stations and public works departments, as well as mattress retailers, businesses and institutions that dispose of mattresses, such as hotels, colleges and nursing homes. MRC also hosts discarded mattress collection events.

“We’ve worked closely with local governments to reduce both their mattress disposal costs and the logistical problems that bulky mattresses cause,” says Marie Clarke, MRC’s vice president of industry and external affairs. “In the process, MRC has diverted valuable resources from landfills and back into the economy,” she adds.

To add context to its 10 million mattress milestone, MRC says it transports nearly 10,000 truckloads of mattresses annually from its more than 300 collection sites to nearby recycling facilities for disassembly. Those recyclers then prepare the materials for sale to scrap dealers.

To improve its operations, find new and better uses for old mattress materials and reduce its carbon footprint, MRC says it is improving its transportation network efficiency. MRC also says it allocates nearly $1 million annually to research projects that will improve processing productivity, recover more recyclable material and explore new end markets.

“Our process improvement efforts are helping mattress recyclers respond to immediate operational challenges while also setting them up for long-term success,” says O’Donnell. “We also welcome the interest that mattress manufacturers and component suppliers are taking in our research as their efforts to create a more circular economy for mattresses accelerates.”