How law AB-187 affects mattress retailers in California

Jay Sackos, Vice President of Sales at Dolly Inc.

While water bottles, cardboard boxes, and other packaging materials are the most commonly associated materials associated with reuse, nowhere near as much attention is paid to a recyclable product. This product? The modest mattress.

While mattress recycling is not a juicy topic at Sunday brunch, with the entry into force of the new law on the AB-187 mattress collection program, mattress recycling and the sustainability of mattresses became more and more relevant. This recently passed California law requires retailers – both those who sell through traditional mattress stores and those who sell exclusively through an e-commerce store – to take out old mattresses and incorporate a seamless reverse logistics system into their business plans have to.

Let’s take a closer look at how this law, which came into effect on January 1st, can affect your business operations, even if you are not a resident of the Golden State.

What is AB-187 and why was it created?

According to the Mattress Recycling Council, more than 50,000 mattresses are thrown away every day in the US alone. Did your jaw drop Because we did. While some existing programs haul away mattresses and use their components to make recycled goods, a large portion of these discarded mattresses can end up in local landfills.

Traditionally, mattress buyers would go into a shop and throw themselves on different mattresses before landing on “one”. With the advent of convenient online mattress-in-a-box retailers offering convenient “try 100 day free” return policies, it’s easier than ever to swap old mattresses for new ones. According to a recent article in The Guardian, the result has been an increase in mattress waste worldwide – and a simultaneous decrease in the sustainability of mattresses.

California passed the AB-187 mattress collection program to address the issue of mattress recycling and sustainability. The law requires all California mattress retailers to establish a recycling program as well as an offer to ship a consumer’s old mattress at no cost at the time a new mattress is shipped. While the legislation offers consumers hassle-free convenience and an added recycling bonus, it also means new complexities and vulnerabilities for mattress retailers and their businesses.

Retailers and the Law

Whether they sell products online or in person, California mattress retailers have a lot of work to do to ensure that their mattress recycling efforts are sustainable and meet state standards.

The AB-187 Mattress Collection Program lists a number of new requirements for mattress retailers. The highlights are:

  • Asking mattress retailers to provide a plan and budget for their mattress recycling programs
  • Obtaining annual reports
  • Including their state’s mattress recycling fee in retail prices

Developing a smooth reverse logistics plan for mattress sustainability can be difficult to implement. Mattress sellers tend to focus on the cold, tough logistics involved in selling and delivering their products to consumers. However, with the new mattress pick-up program going into effect, retailers will have to create and run a full reverse logistics plan for their businesses.

This requirement for an entirely new line of business is something that California mattress retailers may not have planned, budgeted for, or ever considered before, meaning retailers will have to devote more resources to meeting specific standards. The planning and outsourcing required to make a mattress recycling program a reality can be costly and time consuming.

A positive approach

A solid reverse logistics plan should be part of the way you do business, whether you’re a traditional walk-in store, an online mattress in a box, or a large box retail store – and even if you don’t in California . While developing a flawless reverse logistics system is possible, developing, approving, and executing the collection and collection of mattresses is no easy task.

Partnering with a supplier of delivery solutions is a simple and economical solution to simplify the recycling of mattresses. Some vendors have set up bespoke programs for large mattress retailers as per AB-187 requirements.

Obtaining this service can often be as simple as entering your mattress collection or transport requirements into the provider’s system. After receiving this information, the truck and a vendor’s capable helper can deliver, collect or dispose of mattresses (or other items) efficiently, safely and inexpensively.

California’s AB-187 Mattress Collection Program is just one step in creating a greener, more sustainable environment. Even if your state does not yet require a collection program, it is worth considering a mattress recovery and recycling plan before legislation dictates it.

Dolly Inc. is an on-demand delivery service that specializes in moving large and bulky items.


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