ISPA attempts proactive response to mattress recycling measures
Many US states are considering mattress recycling laws that would be burdensome and costly for mattress manufacturers, according to Ryan Trainer, President of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA).
Trainer is urging his members to contact their elected officials when asked to lobby for industry-supported recycling measures. He said states are considering a number of recycling measures that would hurt bedding companies. Concerns over proposed legislation that may eliminate the ability to charge delivery or set up fees, require separate trucks to deliver new beds and pick up old ones, and the need to coordinate recycling with each manufacturer are expected to increase costs to the retailer. In addition, violation could result in a daily fine of USD 500 to USD 5,000. Therefore, ISPA is fighting hard to help bedding companies control their own futures and to encourage the passage of reasonable mattress recycling measures, he explained.
Cash-strapped states are pursuing extended producer responsibility measures, which they claim are designed to increase recycling, conserve resources and protect the environment. ISPA and its members believe that these measures would transfer traditional government costs onto the mattress industry, which some say has the resources to accept those costs.
ISPA's approach to the recycling issue is to promote a program run by a non-profit industry group that is funded by a small retail fee. The program would minimize government involvement, and the group would set practical goals to keep the program financially sustainable. There are many benefits to that approach, according to Trainer. Among them:
- It creates a private sector solution that places the lowest financial burden on consumers, industry and the government,
- it does not burden retailers or manufacturers,
- it distributes financial responsibility uniformly,
- it demonstrates the industry's commitment to the environment,
- it lowers or eliminates retailers' disposal costs,
- it increases the volume of mattresses to be recycled, and
- it creates recycling jobs.
ISPA has focused its lobbying efforts on California because it believes that what happens there could influence a number of states around the country. An ISPA-supported bill in California was recently merged with another recycling measure, but the merged bill addresses ISPA's key concerns, calling for an industry-led non-profit group to develop and implement the recycling program, shielding retailers and manufacturers from direct responsibility, and proposing no arbitrary recycling quotas. However, the legislation remains a work in progress and industry diligence is critical.
Californians for Mattress Recycling, a group established by ISPA, is leading a public relations effort to support “mattress recycling done right.” California is not acting alone in proposing recycling legislation, and noted that Connecticut and Rhode Island, among other states, are also considering recycling bills.