Oregon News

Oregon residents will likely be able to recycle mattresses in 2025

Used mattresses are stacked along a wall at the St. Vincent de Paul recycling facility in Eugene seen in April 2022. More mattresses may enter the recycling stream when the statewide mattress recycling program goes into effect in late 2024 or 2025.

State regulators have hit the snooze button on efforts to establish a statewide mattress-recycling program in Oregon.

The Department of Environmental Quality has rejected a plan from the Mattress Recycling Council. The agency cited concerns about outreach to rural and marginalized communities.

It also asked for a more detailed budget, more information about how mattresses contaminated with bed bugs or other substances would be handled.

Katie Romano with DEQ said a successful program should meet the needs of every county in Oregon. Some areas, such as Eugene, already have a program, which may see even more mattresses once the program is underway. Others, especially rural areas, have never had a way to recycle mattresses.

“How do we look at the communities that already have mattress recycling programs and also be intentional about what this expansion into some of our more rural communities looks like,” Romano said.

Recycling mattresses can reduce greenhouse gasses and make landfills safer for workers. Supporters of the program also say it could help reduce the number of mattresses that are illegally dumped.

The DEQ anticipates the mattress recycling will be up and running by the end of 2024, or early 2025.

The Mattress Recycling Council, a nonprofit formed by the mattress industry, has created programs in other states. It has 60 days to submit another plan. The DEQ has 45 days to review that. If the second proposal is approved, the MRC has seven months to roll it out to the public.

In its first proposal, MRC proposed adding Oregon to its website that would show collection sites across the state, and mattress collecting events. The plan also proposed working with mattress manufacturers to identify materials that can’t be recycled and find alternatives.

The recycling efforts will be funded by a “cost recovery fee,” which is required by the state law that created the program. In its initial proposal, the MRC estimated the fee would add about $19.75 to the cost of a new, or renovated mattress. The number, as well as other details in their proposal, could change as the plan moves through the process.

Rebecca Hansen-White joined the KLCC News Department in November, 2023. Her journalism career has included stops at Spokane Public Radio, The Spokesman-Review, and The Columbia Basin Herald.
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