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Californian supporters rally for mattress recycling bill

 Supporters of a mattress recycling bill stand amid used mattresses on the steps of the California State Capitol.Supporters of a mattress recycling bill stand amid used mattresses on the steps of the California State Capitol.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Amid a backdrop of used mattresses, supporters of a mattress recycling measure backed by the International Sleep Products Assn. gathered on the north steps of the State Capitol here for a press conference to demonstrate their commitment to the bill.

The rally was attended by state Sens. Loni Hancock and Lou Correa, the authors of the recycling bill, ISPA President Ryan Trainer, Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste, and members of Californians for Mattress Recycling, a grassroots group, among others.

Used mattresses were placed on the Capitol steps to serve as a reminder of the need to recycle such mattresses and keep them off city streets in California.

The recycling bill backers voiced their support of SB 254, the recycling measure that has made progress in the state Assembly and is headed for a floor vote soon.

"SB 254 will remove used mattresses from our streets, help create new green jobs, and save money for local governments," said Hancock. "SB 254 is a practical and innovative solution to a serious problem."

The measure would establish an economical and practical system for recycling used mattresses, reduce the impact of illegally dumped mattresses, harness existing infrastructure for transporting used mattresses to recyclers, and minimize costs to both government and consumers, its supporter say.

In his remarks, Correa said: "Californians buy about 4 million new mattresses and box springs each year, and discard roughly 2 million units. Dealing with discarded mattresses is a big job for this state. The goals set forth in SB 245 establish a sound foundation to move California forward in further preserving and protecting our communities from blight."

Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, made some similar points.

"Used mattresses currently represent over $20 million cost and blight for California communities," he said. "SB 254 implements a model producer responsibility solution that will turn this disposal cost into a jobs and recycling benefit. This will mean more convenience for consumers, cost savings for communities, and job growth for recycling businesses."

The recycling bill is designed to create a used mattress recycling program that will keep old mattresses out of landfills, off highways and out of vacant lots and alleys. It offers Californians a comprehensive mattress recycling solution that is consumer friendly and efficient, the bill's backers say.

They note that the approach called for in the bill is very similar to existing successful recycling systems in California for paint and used carpet, and is similar to other used mattress recycling legislation signed into law in Rhode Island and Connecticut earlier this year.

Several coalition partners backing the bill attended the press event. They included representatives from the California Retailers Assn., the California Apartment Assn., CalChamber, and Blue Marble Materials, a mattress recycling facility.

Noting the support of the coalition members, Trainer said: "By keeping focused on the common goal of creating a comprehensive used mattress recycling program, we have been able to put our differences aside, make practical compromises and remain loyal to the intent of creating legislation that will meet the needs of consumers, the environment and business."

Debra Carlton, senior vice president of public affairs for the California Apartment Assn., said, "The bill provides a free and convenient way for a renter to get rid of an old mattress before moving out. A tenant who takes advantage of the bill can get back more of his or her security deposit since the cost of disposal isn't left with the landlord."

Shelly Sullivan, representing Californians for Mattress Recycling, said the recycling bill "strikes a carefully considered balance that will increase used mattress recycling, reduce urban blight from illegally dumped mattresses, and cut local and municipal government costs, while at the same time financing the process in a sustainable and equitable manner."

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