Changes coming to mattress, textile disposal starting next week

A statewide ban will go into effect in a few days that will prohibit throwing away mattresses in the trash.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 2:51 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A statewide ban will go into effect in a few days that will prohibit throwing away mattresses in the trash.

Starting Tuesday, November 1, discarding mattresses in the trash will be illegal in Massachusetts. Western Mass News spoke with Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli, who said the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection made the decision to have mattresses recycled after almost a year of discussion.

“This now will have to go to a separate location for recycling purposes and what the D.E.P. did is they went statewide and identified companies and locations around the state that will be certified companies to do this recycling,” Cignoli explained.

Using the city of Springfield as an example, people will have to buy bulk stickers at either Springfield Big Y locations or the Springfield city clerk’s office and place them on the mattresses they are discarding. According to the city, “…residents that need to schedule a bulk pickup appointment for a mattress, must indicate that a mattress is to be picked up.” Those mattresses would get picked up on the exact day a household’s recyclables would get picked up.

Cignoli said there are environmental reasons as to why the D.E.P. made this move for both these items and other textiles.

“They are determining that there is a lot of metal in these, as well as a lot of textiles, and what they have really been focusing on as well…is talking about textiles, where you’re talking about clothing and materials like padding and cushion that would be on a mattress and be able to recycle that,” Cignoli noted.

While acknowledging this ban could help the environment, Cignoli said there is a cost.

“We’re actually paying rental for the trailer, pickups and the actual cost for the mattress themselves. In the end, it’s averaging us, if you put that all together, about $33 a mattress to get rid of, whereas a year ago, it might be $4 or $5,” Cignoli said.

There is another aspect to this ban. If mattresses are contaminated, then the DPW will deal with that issue directly with residents. However, if the contaminated mattress ends up in the trash stream, then D.E.P. paperwork would be included and that would mean more costs for those residents. Repeat offenders, though, could face fines.

At the end of the day, Cignoli wants to make sure the mattresses are disposed of properly.

“Number one, get it wrapped. Number two, make an appointment with the city…We will be picking that stuff up on, as we do now, usually on your recycling day. At most, you have a two-week wait,” Cignoli said.

To make an appointment for mattresses or any bulk pickup, Springfield residents can call 311 or (413) 736-3111.