ISPA: Team Up on Recycling
David Perry -- Furniture Today, March 18, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. - Leaders of the International Sleep Products Assn., meeting here for their Industry Conference, said the mattress industry must come together to fight burdensome mattress recycling measures proposed by a number of states.
ISPA is supporting a mattress recycling measure recently introduced in California, SB 245, that its sponsor says will create recycling jobs, promote a clean environment and is a "win-win" for the mattress industry and the state.
A competing bill introduced in California would add significant costs for the industry, ISPA officials said.
Mattress recycling was one of the key issues addressed at ISPA's Industry Conference, held at the Grand Floridian resort here, which drew more than 200 producers, suppliers and retailers.
"It's game time," ISPA President Ryan Trainer said at the conference. "It's time to get off the sidelines and support your industry."
He appeared on a panel discussing mattress recycling legislation, along with Rick Anderson, president of Tempur-Pedic North America, and longtime retailer and consultant Barrie Brown, principal of Et Oyeblikk: Retail Strategies.
Trainer said there are active mattress recycling bills in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island. "The worse thing," he said, "would be to face 50 different (mattress recycling) bills."
ISPA helped narrowly defeat a mattress recycling bill in California last year. That bill set an unrealistic recycling goal, didn't require a coordinated industry response, and was "a recipe for chaos," Trainer said.
He said ISPA wants a nonprofit, industry-led organization to oversee recycling efforts on a statewide level. The program would be funded by collecting a small fee on beds sold. A similar approach is used to encourage recycling of tires, carpet, paint and motor oil, Trainer said.
He also said it's important that a reasonable mattress recycling bill is enacted in California because it is a "bellwether state" that often sets an example followed by other states.
Anderson said it is wise for the mattress industry to take a proactive approach on the recycling issue.
"The industry is trying to create certainty about how we do business in the future," Anderson said. "It is important we take a leadership role or we will be at the whim of the states."
He said he believes a recycling industry could be created if legislation offers enough economic incentives to encourage recycling.
"ISPA has taken a leadership role on this issue, and that's been very helpful," he said. "ISPA is the voice of the industry, whether you are a member or not. This is the right thing for the industry."
Brown described a successful recycling program he helped develop in Tennessee with Belmont University. He said a bedding company that is able to develop a successful recycling program will stand apart from its competitors.
The panel was moderated by Shelly Sullivan, a public relations professional who works with Californians for Mattress Recycling, a grassroots group created by ISPA that is working to build support for SB 245.
Trainer encouraged members of the industry to join that group, spread the word about industry recycling proposals, and be responsive when asked to support grassroots programs.
"Your voice matters," he said. "It made a big difference in California last year. Together we can win this effort."