Gino DiCaro

Competing mattress EPR bills

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, April 12, 2013

Two bills were introduced in the Senate this year dealing with product stewardship for used mattresses. Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) is carrying a bill sponsored by the International Sleep Products Association, SB 245, while Senator Lonnie Hancock (D-Berkeley) is carrying legislation sponsored by Californians Against Waste, SB 254, similar to a bill that died last year.

SB 245 would establish a program for the management of used mattresses that will create an economical and practical system for recycling used mattresses, reduce the impact of illegally dumped mattresses, harness existing infrastructure for transporting used mattresses to recyclers, and minimize costs to both government and consumers. The bill would create a non-profit mattress recycling organization made up of retailers and manufacturers whose duty would be to plan, implement and administer a state system to collect discarded used mattresses, dismantle them and recycle their materials for use in new products. 

The organization would fund the system by collecting a nominal fee at the retail level on the sale of new mattresses and box-springs. The organization would also create a financial incentive to encourage parties to send used mattresses to mattress recyclers by reimbursing retailers that pick up used mattresses from consumers, municipal transfer stations, and groups that pick up illegally dumped mattresses. 

On the other hand, SB 254 imposes an "extended producer responsibility" system (EPR), requiring the mattress industry to develop a costly and inefficient system for collecting and recycling used mattresses from every area of the state and will hurt California consumers, retailers and mattress manufacturers. It contains arbitrary and unrealistic recycling targets, and proposes an entirely new and untested recycling scheme. There is no evidence to show that these mandatory targets are practical or achievable. Excessive daily fines will be inevitable on manufacturers and retailers. 

Consumers use their mattresses over a 10-year, 20-year or longer period. Furthermore, the United States is a mobile society, with many consumers moving from one state to another during the useful life of their mattresses. As a result, SB 254 would impose costs on current California mattress manufacturers for mattresses which were brought in from other states or made by a now defunct manufacturer.

California still has multiple mattress manufacturing facilities in the state, but legislation like SB 254 will be a step backward for the industry by significantly increasing costs for consumers, reducing demand for new product and killing jobs. 

CMTA is supporting SB 245 and opposing SB 254.

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