SB 254 would create mattress recycling program in California

Berkeley senator speaks against dumping mattresses


At the corner of Madison and East Belle Terrace the scene is a familiar one. A coffee cup here, a bag of trash there and next to a disrespected no dumping sign you will find a torn up couch that at least has a nice view of the train tracks.
It's furniture, specifically mattresses, that California State Senator Lori Hancock, D-Berkeley, has taken issue with. 
Illegally disposed of mattresses - it's a problem that Bakersfield Solid Waste has noticed.
"It's a significant problem," Bakersfield Solid Waste Director Kevin Barnes said. "We probably spend three or four hours a week, of a persons time dealing with that problem. Any help that we can get to prevent that would be great." 
To help with the problem Sen. Hancock introduced SB 254 this week, which would establish recycling programs for disposing of mattresses using existing infrastructure. 
Sen. Hancock doesn't see illegally disposing of mattresses or other furniture as a small problem. She says in California's 10 largest cities 470,000 mattresses are illegally disposed of each year, costing local governments $20 annually.
In a press release Hancock said, "They not only deface a neighborhood but they can become a health hazard and a breeding ground for mold and pests. Cash-strapped cities are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars collecting and disposing of abandoned mattresses." 
Currently in Bakersfield without a mattress recycling program they often end up on the side of the road or in the landfill Bakersfield Solid Waste says.
"There are plenty of mattresses that go to landfills," Barnes said. "Some places in the county have the means to recycle them. Here in Bakersfield we don't have much mattress recycling right now." 
Solid Waste admits that it isn't widely known, but people that live inside the Bakersfield city limits can call to have a mattress or other bulky furniture picked up as part of basic trash service. That furniture is then hauled to the landfill. 
If SB 254 passes, there would also be a recycling alternative in Bakersfield and the rest of California. 


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