REGIONAL — With a statewide ban on disposal of textiles and mattresses taking effect Tuesday, local governments in western Massachusetts are preparing to divert received mattresses from landfills to recyclers.
Springfield residents can still arrange bulk collection, but the local government plans to set up trailers where residents can throw their old mattresses into the recycling stream.
The bulky size of mattresses makes them difficult to manage for haulers and disposal sites, according to the state Environmental Protection Agency.
“Massachusetts has very limited solid waste disposal capacity, so the best option for the Commonwealth is to reduce the amount of material that is thrown away,” said Edmund Coletta, director of public affairs for the Department of Environmental Protection. said.
He added that “more than 75% of the mattress materials (wood, metal, fabric and fluff) are recyclable and should be recycled.”
State law expects each town or city to provide a location where mattresses can be recycled and approved by the state Environmental Protection Agency.
Waste disposal contractors without state contracts will not be able to accept mattresses starting Tuesday.
On its website, the Environmental Protection Agency lists several resources for local governments to explore, including contracting recycling companies to collect and dispose of mattresses that residents are about to dispose of.
For example, Springfield has contracted with California-based recycling company Tough Stuff Recycling. The company operates out of Fitchburg.
Rodney Clara, director of sales and business development at Tough Stuff Recycling, says recycling a mattress requires several steps.
He said employees at the recycler opened the mattress and took out the top and bottom pieces. The upper part of the mattress, called the topper, is placed in one pile. The foam that underlies the topper and provides cushioning is all placed in separate piles, along with the wood and steel of the mattress.
“The wood becomes mulch, the steel becomes recycled steel, the foam and toppers are shredded and turned into carbon padding,” Clara said. It becomes a landfill.”
Springfield will set up a trailer on Tapley Street that will be collected by Tough Stuff Recycling when full.
Residents can still call the city’s 311 call center to schedule a bulk pickup appointment. Residents wishing to make a reservation must purchase a bulk sticker and place the mattress and box spring in a plastic mattress bag prior to pickup.
There are currently no mattress pick-up locations in the city.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also using Mattress Recycling Initiative grants to help provide on-site trailers for mattress storage in towns and cities where mattresses don’t exist.
Local governments looking to start a mattress collection and recycling program can receive up to $10,000 to purchase a mattress collection bin.
During the summer, the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District worked with the towns of Bernardston, Collain, Deerfield, Montagu, and Wendell to secure trailers to park in each town. The trailers cost about $5,600 each. Waste Management Service also contracts with Gardner’s Raw Material Recovery Corporation.
Jan Ameen, executive director of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, said he hoped residents wouldn’t dispose of their mattresses illegally and would rather take them to one of the recycling sites.
City of Greenfield since 2016 Implemented a mattress recycling program. Like the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, we contract with Raw Material Recovery Corp.
Mattresses discarded at the Greenfield Transfer Station are collected and sent for recycling.
Janine Greave, Office Manager and Recycling Coordinator, Greenfield Public Works Authority, said: “They bring mattresses to our disposal no matter what.”
East Longmeadow, Holyoke, Longmeadow and Westfield are also recipients of the Mattress Recycling Grant and each will receive a trailer mattress that they can unload there, Coretta said.
At the same time, Tough Stuff Recycling says there may be a regional effort to provide places where people can recycle their old mattresses. We are planning and hope to be able to use it in some municipalities of the cooperative.
“We also plan to offer curbside service in each town or city once a week, depending on the size of the town,” says Clara. “For example, the City of Pittsfield will be offering street service to residents for a week. We will put together a portal page where they can sign up.”
Coretta said the Environmental Protection Agency supports cooperatives that divert waste and promote recycling.