California finally sets the same rules for all mattress retailers
Omar Mendoza accepts its obligations under the California mattress recycling program. Anyone who purchases a mattress from their All American Mattress & Recliners store in Beaumont can ask them to remove a used mattress for recycling at no charge.
What gets under Mendoza is when someone who is not a customer calls to ask for the same service. Often times, he learns that the person who made the inquiry bought a new mattress from an online retailer.
“It happens so often that it’s ridiculous,” said Mendoza, a member of the Home Furnishings Association.
But there is some sort of reckoning. From January 1st, the same requirements apply to online mattress sellers as to brick-and-mortar stores. Not only do you have to collect and transfer the same recycling fee of $ 10.50 for each mattress and an additional $ 10.50 for each box spring bed to the state, you also have to offer to pick up a used mattress for every mattress delivered – free of charge.
“It is time,” said Mendoza.
Indeed. This has been required for business like his for the past five years. The program run by the Mattress Recycling Council has diverted millions of mattresses from landfills. However, it is a huge responsibility for retailers who have to bear the costs of taking used mattresses, storage and transport to collection points. Online sellers, who often deliver boxed beds and other sleep products by freight forwarding, did not have to do this. This gives them a price advantage that the MRC recognizes.
“It has to be really fair,” said Lori Barnes, the council’s director of industrial communications.
Online sellers must offer to pick up used mattresses
The MRC, based in Alexandria, Virginia, does not set these rules. They are determined under California law. The 2019 Law on the Recovery and Recycling of Used Mattresses states, “A joint freight forwarder who delivers a new mattress to a consumer as a result of an online purchase does not need to collect a used mattress for collection.” However, he added:
“If a new mattress is delivered to a consumer by a normal freight forwarder on and after January 1, 2021, including but not limited to an online purchase, the retailer of that mattress will offer to arrange a mattress pickup for a used mattress recycling by this consumer within 30 days of delivery of the new mattress. “
This will be a problem for many online sellers whether they are based in California or any other state. The common carriers they use to ship products may not routinely pick up used items. The cost to retailers of solving this problem could be significant, especially in relation to the price of their cheapest products.
According to LoadUp, a full-service garbage disposal company, the average cost of picking up and recycling mattresses for customers is $ 85 to $ 100.
What is fair to one is fair to all
Regardless of the cost, online sellers should have to pay, say retailers who have been doing their part for years.
“I think it’s only fair,” said Gary Trudell, owner of HFA-member Custom Comfort Mattress Co., an orange-based manufacturer and retailer. With seven stores in Southern California, Custom Comfort collects a lot of old mattresses. In fact, used mattresses have been sent for recycling at their own expense for more than two decades, Trudell said.
Trudell knows that people who shop from online sellers often throw their used mattress on the curb or at best call a garbage service to take it to a landfill. He is happy that everyone is finally taking on responsibility for recycling.
The MRC provides resources to support compliance, including a commercial volume program. Retailers who collect at least 100 used mattresses or box spring beds can get a permanent trailer and transport for recycling free of charge.
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Connecticut increases its mattress recycling fee
The MRC also runs recycling programs in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Retailers in these states are not required to pick up used mattresses, Barnes said. In this case, however, they cannot charge a customer to recycle a discarded mattress or box spring bed through the MRC program.
Retailers are required to charge a fee of $ 16 for each new mattress and an additional $ 16 for each foundation sold in Rhode Island. The Connecticut fee is $ 9 each, but increases to $ 11.75 on January 1. The fees apply to in-store and online sales.
The Mattress Recycling Council invites questions Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Pacific or by email at [email protected] at 1-888-646-6815.
Not a member of the HFA? Let us know you’re interested and we’ll explain the benefits.