Michael LaRussa: Even in a pandemic, recycling matters | TheUnion.com

Michael LaRussa: Even in a pandemic, recycling matters

During the current public health challenge brought on by the coronavirus, one thing might fall off your radar: recycling.

What you may not realize is that recycling helps meet the demand of manufacturers making many of the products that are currently in high demand, including toilet paper, paper towels and even medical supplies. One item you might not have considered recycling, yet can be broken down and turned into many common goods, is a mattress. Not only does recycling a mattress help create new products, it can also keep communities clean.

In California, residents are making a difference by recycling mattresses through the Mattress Recycling Council’s “Bye Bye Mattress” program. More than 75% of a mattress can be recycled. Components such as steel, foam, wood and cotton are reclaimed and made into new products, such as carpet padding, mulch, appliances and more. In Nevada County, over 13,000 mattresses have been recycled since 2016, saving nearly 16,000 cubic yards of landfill space, which is the equivalent to what could be held in 72 train cars. Thank you for contributing to the program’s success.

The Mattress Recycling Council is a nonprofit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in states like California with mattress recycling laws. Point-of-sale fees fund Bye Bye Mattress’ robust statewide mattress collection network, transportation and recycling, as well as help combat illegal dumping. Mattresses are collected through a variety of channels at no-cost, offering consumers and businesses recycling solutions, including retailer take back, collection events and no-cost drop off at hundreds of participating solid waste transfer stations and landfills.

Most Nevada County residents live within 15 miles of a collection site — either Grass Valley Recycle (875 Idaho Maryland Rd.) or Eastern Regional Landfill in Truckee (900 Cabin Creek Rd. — program open seasonally) — and can drop off mattresses free of charge. A full list of participating locations can be found at http://www.ByeByeMattress.com/California. As counties slowly start to reopen, it’s best to call ahead to confirm drop-off services and hours of operation.

It is important even in the midst of a pandemic to remain vigilant in our efforts to improve our environment. Mattress recycling is one way we can all do our part and help work toward the goal of leaving a cleaner and greener planet for future generations.

Michael LaRussa is the Northern California senior program coordinator for the Mattress Recycling Council.

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