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ISPA to propose federal mattress recycling law

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The International Sleep Products Assn. says a national solution is needed to address the growing problem of mattress disposal, and it is now in the process of developing one.
     ISPA officials are preparing to propose federal legislation that would help create a national program for recycling used mattress components.
     Key to that effort would be the creation of a Mattress Recycling Council, a new nonprofit, volunteer-led group that would represent the needs of manufacturers, retailers, consumers and the government, and would be charged with the task of developing a robust national mattress recycling program, officials said.
     The program would be supported by a fee for mattress recovery collected on mattresses sold at retail and remitted to the Mattress Recycling Council. Those fees would be dedicated to funding legitimate mattress recycling operations and would be used for the oversight, management and administration of a national recycling program, ISPA said.
     ISPA President Ryan Trainer said national legislation is needed because cost pressures on local and state governments related to mattress disposal and landfill concerns are increasing, prompting some states to consider state mattress recycling measures. But state regulation on these issues would impose challenging, costly burdens on the industry, he said.
     Trainer estimated that the fee collected at retail would be "modest," and said ISPA will begin an analysis shortly to estimate what that fee might be.
     The bedding industry's trade association will share details of the proposed legislation at its upcoming Expo, set for March 14-17 in Indianapolis, and in special regional membership meetings in the coming weeks.
     ISPA said its proposed Used Mattress Recycling Act would combat "illegitimate" mattress scavenging and renovator operations that are unsanitary and dangerous to consumers and to the industry's reputation.
     The legislation would charge the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission with establishing a national product safety standard for the processing, labeling and sale of used and renovated mattresses. Such a standard doesn't currently exist, and states take varying approaches to the issues.
     The national recycling program would operate with federal oversight from the U.S. Commerce secretary, and would provide "an industry led, efficient solution to the challenge of recycling used mattresses," ISPA said.
     Once a national measure is enacted, the program would only be initiated after industry members have had an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed national solution and have voted on the proposal through an industrywide referendum.
     ISPA has been encouraging the development of legitimate mattress recycling businesses for years, and estimated that the number of such operations has increased from a handful seven years ago to almost 30 today.
     But it said the industry's reputation is threatened "because of the practices of unscrupulous companies that scavenge used mattresses, sew new covers on often filthy and dangerous old products, and sell them to unsuspecting consumers in an unhygienic, unsafe or dishonest manner. We must end this practice to protect both consumers and ourselves."

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