The Problem

More than 50,000 mattresses are discarded each day in the U.S., equating to between 15 and 20 million annually. Much of this bulky, cumbersome waste ends up in landfills and illegally dumped on curbsides, imposing significant management costs on local governments. Less than five percent of mattresses are recycled annually, despite the fact that up to 90 percent of mattress components are recyclable. 

A Solution

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws have the capacity to create an economically and environmentally sustainable infrastructure for managing mattresses when residents are done with them.

Under the leadership of PSI’s National Mattress Stewardship Initiative, Connecticut became the first state to pass EPR legislation for mattresses in 2013. Implemented in May 2015, the law established a manufacturer-funded stewardship program in line with model EPR legislation crafted by PSI and National Initiative stakeholders. Consumers pay a fee, collected by retailers, on the purchase of a new mattress or box spring (currently $9 per unit) to fund public outreach, collection containers, transportation, and recycling.

In 2013, California and Rhode Island also passed EPR laws for mattresses, based on the same general model developed by PSI and Connecticut stakeholders. The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit organization formed by the industry to operate recycling programs in states with mattress recycling laws, is expected to begin implementing recycling programs in these two states in early 2016. 

Helpful resources:

We provide exclusive resources for PSI Members and Partners including documents on mattress recovery and mattress stewardship legislative strategy– login or learn more.


PSI’s Role in Delivering Solutions

Advocates for EPR legislation

Through our National Mattress Stewardship Initiative, PSI raised the profile of mattress stewardship and led the movement for states to seek an EPR solution. Just two years after working with states to introduce the first mattress stewardship bill in the U.S., three states — Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California — passed laws in 2013. Through the National Mattress Stewardship Initiative, PSI:

  • Developed model EPR legislation with input from state and local governments, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Worked with the City of Hartford’s mayor to introduce a mattress producer responsibility resolution to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which was adopted in June 2012.
  • Testified in support of the Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California bills.

Brings Stakeholders Together

PSI helps state and local governments, producers, recyclers, and other stakeholders collaborate to develop economically and environmentally sustainable solutions for managing used mattresses.

In this vein, PSI organized and led the first National Mattress Stewardship Meeting, engaging over 100 stakeholders to explore key issues in mattress management, including the need for sustainable funding, lack of data, and refurbishment. PSI holds meetings and facilitates outreach to help states build coalition support for mattress stewardship legislation. We also convene local and state governments to discuss mattress stewardship opportunities through national webinars and conference calls.

Conducts research

PSI works to inform and shape product stewardship policy. Since 2010, we have researched and compiled data on mattress production, composition, disposal, recycling, and environmental impacts, presented in an in-depth Briefing Document. Most recently, we delved into key challenges and potential solutions for managing unwanted mattresses in our How-To Guide for mattress recovery, which can be used by local and state governments across the country to increase mattress recycling and build capacity for mattress stewardship legislation.


For more information, please contact Scott Cassel at (617) 236-4822.


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