CT To Become First In Nation To Mandate Mattress Recycling; Growing Problem in Cities

by Categorized: General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford Date:

Connecticut would become the first state in the nation to mandate the recycling of mattresses, whose disposal has become an ongoing problem in major cities.

The measure passed by 28 to 8 in the state Senate on Thursday afternoon, coming after bipartisan approval in the state House of Representatives by 117 to 21. Some of the negative votes came from senators who opposed the fee that will be charged on all consumers – even those in areas where mattress disposal is not a major issue.

For drivers heading through Frog Hollow in Hartford or other cities across the state, it is not uncommon to see mattresses out randomly on the sidewalk. State senators were debating the issue early Thursday afternoon on the Senate floor.

Currently, cities and towns pay an estimated $1.3 million per year to dispose of the mattresses, and now those costs would be paid by individual consumers who purchase mattresses.

As such, the recycling bill has widespread support from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and the Council of Small Towns, among others. Officials from numerous communities, including Hartford, Bridgeport, Hamden, Farmington, Waterbury, and Rocky Hill support the measure to eliminate the eyesore.

The bill provides that the manufacturer of the mattress would charge a fee to the retailer, and the retailer would then charge the customer.

The charge would be an estimated $8 to $12 for both the mattress and the box spring, and that would be subject to change. About 350,000 mattresses are sold each year in Connecticut – meaning about 1,000 per day. Now, 58 cities and towns in Connecticut charge a fee – often around $15 – if a resident brings a mattress to the local transfer station.

\”As this program catches on, there will be higher volume, and the fee will come down,\’\’ said Sen. Edward Meyer, the Democratic co-chairman of the environment committee.

CCM has reported that there could be 10,000 abandoned mattresses on any given day in schoolyards, parks and on sidewalks around the state, said Meyer.

\”There are many towns and cities that assume the cost,\’\’ Meyer said.

Sen. Clark Chapin, a New Milford Republican who serves as the ranking member on the legislature\’s environment committee, said that paint and computer monitors are more easy to dispose of because of their size. Paint should be recycled and is often discarded illegally, he said.

\”Mattresses are more difficult to get rid of because they are bulky waste,\’\’ said Chapin, who represents 15 small towns in Litchfield County.

\”Are we starting down the path that every time we have a bulky item, we\’re going to add a fee?\’\’ asked Sen. Kevin Witkos, a Canton Republican who said he drove past two recliners and other furniture on his way to the state Capitol.

The issue is being discussed currently in Rhode Island and California, among others.

\”We are the first,\’\’ said Meyer, adding that Connecticut\’s bill is viewed as a national model.

\”We\’ll all sleep better tonight, knowing that we passed this legislation,\’\’ said Sen. Gary LeBeau, an East Hartford Democrat.

Sen. Rob Kane, a Republican who represents Watertown, said that mattresses are not an issue in the towns he represents in Litchfield County. He said he did not understand why someone in his district would need to pay a fee when there is not a problem there.

\”I don\’t see it as a problem in my district,\’\’ Kane told his colleagues in the Senate circle. \”Everybody is going to have pay a fee for a few bad apples. … I would argue this is not consumer-friendly. We\’re paying for the ills of the cities because they\’re not able to control this problem on their own.\’\’

Sen. L. Scott Frantz, a Greenwich Republican, said it would be better to increase the fines for the illegal dumping of mattresses, adding, \”I don\’t think I\’ve changed my mattress in 30 years.\’\’

But Sen. Andres Ayala, a Bridgeport Democrat, said, \”It is a serious issue in our city.\’\’

Sen. John Kissel, an Enfield Republican, said that he fears that local residents near the border would drive up Interstate 91 to Massachusetts in order to save $10 or $15 on a mattress. Residents, he said, already drive immediately over the border into Longmeadow, Massachusetts on Route 5 to save 20 to 25 cents for a gallon of gasoline.

\”On balance, at this time, I have to vote with the consumer,\’\’ said Kissel, who opposed the measure. \”We can\’t paint ourselves into a corner to be first in the nation in this, that, and the other thing.\’\’

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25 thoughts on “CT To Become First In Nation To Mandate Mattress Recycling; Growing Problem in Cities

  1. tao

    oh, so this will be another successful program ran by our state? within two years they’ll claim $12 is not enough and bump it up to $15, then after next two years $20, etc…

    1. tao

      another thing “The issue is being discussed currently in Rhode Island and California” – these are definitely states that we should take example from, afterall they’re doing just great…

      1. paul

        You are so right Tao. Just another way to reach deeper into our pockets and trustme, the politicians have no shame in doing so.

  2. walls

    More fees! More fees!

    A lot of the inner city ‘low info’s’ [they can't read, but occasionally look at newspapers for the 'pictures'] would be against this … because random mattresses on sidewalks are *great places* to have public sex. This leads to more democratic voters. So herein lies the conundrum.

    Democratic politicians love more taxes and fees. But they also love more democratic voters. So how do they vote on this issue?

  3. Lew

    “As this program catches on, there will be higher volume, and the fee will come down,”. Please raise your hand if you believe this. Like I thought, no hands went up.

  4. Carl

    Does this then mean that we will be able to just dump the mattress on the sidewalk in front of our houses and the municipality will pick it up free of charge (since we’re paying a recycling fee)? Or will we still have to pay a fee to the transfer station? I’m guessing it’s the latter since this is just another money grab.

  5. Downtown Resident

    How is the $1.3 million divided between mattresses and other bulky waste like loveseats and sofas? Are there really enough people buying new mattresses compared to number who are just dumping old krap to come up with the $1.3 million?

  6. Fatdaddy

    $8-$12…let’s guess it is closer to $12!
    Also, let’s guess the money will go into the general fund like everything else.
    The new PAINT FEE? Same story.
    I will be buying both paint and mattresses in New York.
    Kick-the-Can-Dan can take his “fees” and shove them!

  7. MrLogical

    Remember how the income tax started?
    Remember how the gross-receipts tax started?

    This will be no different. They’re proposing to levy a tax on everyone even though everyone doesn’t dispose of their mattresses (or other trash) illegally. This is an inner city problem – let the inner cities deal with it.

    Just another form of income redistribution. The suburbs paying for the large urban centers.

  8. MrLogical

    Let the bleeding heart liberals like Ed Meyer dig into their deep wallets and donate to a ‘save the mattress’ fund that all the Democrats and liberals can support. That will make them feel good and the miscreants in the inner cities won’t notice or care.

  9. Syd

    “We’ll all sleep better tonight, knowing that we passed this legislation,”. Given all the much more significant problems that CT faces, it’s sad that these fools pat themselves on the back for passing what has been correctly referred to as another money grab. These people are void of focus and intellect. But, in their defense, they will be re-elected so why change the way they conduct themselves – low expectations draw low accomplishments.

    1. Syd

      One more thing. Does anyone really think that this tax will change the behavior of the slobs who improperly dispose of trash? This simply penalizes those of us who behave responsibly. But that is the world we now live in – reward bad behavior and penalize responsible behavior.

  10. cupcake

    How about we paint ourselves into a corner to be first in the nation in educational achievement or affordable energy? Nope, instead our geniuses give us this. Enough said.

  11. rick

    This is already being done,fairly successfully. Corrupticut is passing yet another law that will accomplish nothing but put more money in state coffers & make business more expensive.

  12. Palin Smith

    Let kooks like State Senator Ed Meyer shell out the cash. They can afford it.

  13. Steve B.

    These lawmakers do not live in the real world. This new “fee” being imposed on us here will turn people off in upgrading their mattresses and people will hang on to their current mattresses longer. Can’t see how this would possibly “stimulate the economy” for that industry.

  14. Bleeding Heart

    I don’t know… the International Sleep Products Association supports the bill, so they must think it will be good for their business. The fee will be on new mattresses, which often cost thousands, so even if the fee goes up to $25 it is a tiny portion of the cost. It seems similar to what we do with tires. Mattress sellers usually already include picking up your old mattress when you buy a new one, but now they will have to recycle it instead of sending to a landfill. On the other hand, it won’t stop illegal dumping by people who are not buying new mattresses.

  15. Leef

    I already drive to MA to save money because of the lower sales tax. I mine as well just move there now.

    It seems the only thing our legislature is good at is passing legislation that takes money out of consumer’s pockets. Using our state as a national model for anything just sounds concerning.

  16. MikeSteven

    I wonder will my “fee” go to my town or will it be shared with those cities who lack the resources to cover the problem? Is this another form of wealth transfer?

    Why not have all mattresses “registered” so we would know who bought it and who dumped it…..just saying. It seemed to work for other things why not try it here too.

    1. Joe Daplumber

      That Sen. Kane WTF? He don’t represent anyone. We the people in Watertown always paid privately out of pocket for everything Sometimes twice. Yes Rubbish removal, Leaves, appliances, Trash etc. He in fact when on town counsel here he had us paying 2 Real Estate Taxes if you lived in the Fire District. Yes we pay for recycling also and separately for mattresses

  17. WOW

    It’s really amazes me that with all the “real issues’ going on on this state, somehow they have now focused on a issue that’s more of law enforcement (illegal dumping) and added another revenue generation method.
    However the blame ultimately for this is the voters who continue to elect these mindless morons into office.
    Keep driving yet another nail in the CT coffin and soon enough you’ll see how people will avoid this state like the plague, and rightfully so.

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