Courtesy of Sad City Hartford
Mattresses on the side of the road in Hartford in 2013 (Courtesy of Sad City Hartford)

A program intended to make it easier for Connecticut residents to recycle old mattresses diverted 150,000 mattresses from landfills in its first year, according to the nonprofit running it.

In addition, the program in has recovered more than 2,800 tons of steel, foam and other materials that can be reused in other products; and there are now 101 sites statewide where residents can drop off mattresses to be recycled for free.

Those are among the findings presented recently to state regulators and municipal leaders by the Mattress Recycling Council, which runs the Bye Bye Mattress Program. The figures are for the time period from the program’s May 2015 launch through June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year.

“We are pleased with the program’s productive start and will continue to work with city leaders, businesses and the state to improve the program, expand the number of communities served, and increase the volume of mattresses recycled,” Ryan Trainer, president of the Virginia-based Mattress Recycling Program and the International Sleep Products Association, said in a statement.

The program was enacted in Connecticut, in part, to help cities and towns that were burdened by costly fees associated with mattress disposal – which can run up to $30 per unit. Some cities saw residents from surrounding towns ditch unwanted mattresses in city parks and streets to avoid paying disposal fees.

A year in, the program already was on track to exceed or meet all of the benchmarks outlined in the plan, according to the program administrators.

It is all part of a broader effort, according to the Mattress Recycling Council, for Connecticut to divert 60 percent of materials from disposal by 2024.

The council is working with more than 130 mattress retailers, hotels, military bases, universities and healthcare facilities, and others in Connecticut to divert used mattresses from the solid waste stream.

The organization also runs the Bye Bye Mattress Program in California and Rhode Island.

“We applaud the mattress industry for developing a successful statewide program under the mattress stewardship law that has already recycled thousands of mattresses in an environmentally sound manner,” Robert Klee, commissioner of the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said in a statement.

The program lets residents drop off used mattresses at participating collection sites, events and recycling facilities free of charge. The collection network is funded by the $9 recycling fee consumers pay when they buy a new mattress or box spring in the state.

An online map maintained by the program shows seven locations in Connecticut where mattresses are recycled and 101 sites where they can be dropped off and collected for recycling. Most of the drop-off sites are municipal transfer stations or departments of public works.

“This program has created jobs, recovered vast quantities of resources to be reused, saved municipalities $1.5 million in disposal costs and given residents an easy way to recycle a cumbersome item,” Klee said.