Massachusetts’ Baker-Polito administration announced that more than 50,000 old mattresses and box springs have now been recycled as part of the Mattress Recycling Incentive (MRI), a grant program operated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The MRI provides funding to Massachusetts cities and towns to aid in the collection, transportation and recycling of these difficult-to-manage materials.
“Recycling mattresses and box springs keeps these bulky items out of landfills and incinerators and can save communities significant money in disposal costs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton in a statement. “The grants awarded through our Mattress Recycling Incentive also help communities better protect the environment and help the Commonwealth meet our recycling and solid waste reduction goals, so the Baker-Polito administration is proud to mark this important recycling milestone.”
To date, 43 municipalities have implemented mattress and box spring recycling programs through this grant, which pays for up to two years of transportation and recycling costs through one of the three state-contracted mattress recycling vendors: Raw Material Recovery Corp. in Gardner, Mass.; United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, Mass.; and Ace Mattress Enterprises in West Warwick, R.I. Additionally, the grant covers the cost of a collection container that grantees will use to sustain the recycling program after the term of the grant.
Approximately 85 percent of each mattress and box spring can be diverted from disposal. Recycling the wood, metal, foam and fabric components from mattresses allows for the materials to be made into a number of new products, such as carpet padding, particle board and industrial filters. In addition to the environmental and financial benefits of the program, the MRI contributes to the development of a regional recycling economy.
“The Mattress Recycling Incentive program reflects our commitment to solid waste diversion, local recycling market development and economic growth in Massachusetts,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg in a statement. “We are pleased to offer this assistance to municipalities, to support them in diverting these difficult-to-recycle materials while simultaneously supporting a developing market.”
The mattress incentive program supports MassDEP’s long-term goal of making mattress recycling services more widely available and cost effective. The participating recycling vendors have been able to expand their operations, increasing volumes and purchasing new equipment.
“We have been able to expand our recycling operation, make infrastructure investments and hire new employees as a result of the volume of material provided by these municipalities,” said Raw Material Recovery Corp. CEO Dick Peloquin in a statement.
The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced additional funding under the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, which included up to $653,294 in grants to help pay for the recycling of mattresses and box springs in 21 additional communities.
Municipalities interested in implementing mattress recycling programs are invited to apply in the next grant cycle, which will open in April 2019.