Compromise Mattress Recycling Bill Moves ForwardBy Howard Fine Originally published April 17, 2013 at 3:02 p.m., updated April 17, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
After winning changes to a controversial recycling law, mattress manufacturers and retailers have dropped their opposition and allowed a compromise bill to clear a legislative hurdle on Wednesday.
The Business Journal had earlier reported mattress manufacturers and retailers had mounted a campaign against a bill by state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, that would have required the manufacturers to fund and implement mattress recycling programs. They countered with their own bill, carried by Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, that would impose a recycling fee on each consumer purchase of a new mattress, similar to recycling fees for the purchase of new tires or motor oil refills.
Both bills aimed to reduce the number of old mattresses being dumped in alleys or by the side of the road, creating blight and forcing cities to cart them away.
After several meetings with industry lobbyists in the last couple weeks, Hancock and Correa agreed to merge their bills. The compromise legislation still requires mattress manufacturers to set up a recycling program and pay a small quarterly fee to the CalRecycle state agency for administration of the program. But the main funding would come from the fee levied on consumers who purchase new mattresses. The fee level would be set by CalRecycle.
On Wednesday, the merged bill, SB 254, passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on a 6-0 vote.
Because the fee is considered a tax, it will require a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the Assembly to pass. A spokesman for Hancock said that mattress manufacturers, retailers and Correa have all committed to round up the required supermajority votes.