PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — When November begins, so too starts a ban on mattresses and clothes in landfills. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection enacted the law earlier this year to go into effect November 1.
“Although it is a learning curve, I do think it’s a good solution for us to start reducing the trash we send out,” says Pittsfield Public Utilities Commissioner Ricardo Morales.
According to the DEP website, Massachusetts residents and businesses discard around 600,000 mattresses and box springs annually. It also states mattresses are composed of about 75 percent recyclable materials once disassembled.
MassDEP issued its final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, establishing goals to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent (from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030) over the next decade. It set a long-term goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in disposal to 570,000 tons by 2050.https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mattress-recycling
Morales says Pittsfield residents already have to pay a fee and schedule pick up for bulky trash like mattresses. The only difference with the new law is items will be picked up by one of the state’s private recycling vendors.
“We took the list of vendors that the state had reached out to. We landed on a company called Tough Stuff Recycling and we are at the moment finalizing the agreement details with them,” he says.
Once a contract is finalized, residents can call and schedule a pickup with Tough Stuff, which Morales estimates will be around $50. The City of Pittsfield will have a specific mattress bin where collections from around the area will be loaded up and sent to Tough Stuff’s facilities twice a month for recycling.
However, Morales adds his department is trying to crack down on illegal dumping by folks who already refuse to pay collection fees. He says problems tend to pile up around parks and rivers.
“Also, nonchalantly sometimes leave mattresses curbside on a busy street in the middle of the night,” Morales explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
He says these items usually end up in such bad condition, they can no longer be recycled.
“They are either too wet, moldy, or contain any bugs or certain pests and stuff like that. Inevitably if they’re picked up by the city, that will cost the city a lot more,” he says.
As for clothes, Morales says there are already two donation boxes placed on city property and more private boxes for specific charities. When the new ban takes place, he says more public boxes will be added.
“We are also working with a company from out east that has approached us to offer a similar service to pick up curbside after a scheduled appointment,” he concludes.