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Recycling, Natural Materials Drive the Mattress and Bedding Industry

Sustainability efforts continue to grow in the mattress and bedding industry through recycling and anti-dumping efforts, as well as the use of natural and environmentally friendly products.

Mattress Recycling Council

The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) continued to strengthen its California mattress recycling program known as Bye Bye Mattress during the Covid-19 pandemic, worked with local and state leaders to address illegal dumping, and took steps to encourage manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of their processes and products.

In 2020, MRC’s Bye Bye Mattress program recycled more than 1.5 million mattresses and diverted over 64.8 million pounds of material from landfills. The program’s recyclers achieved a 77.1 percent recycling rate – the highest in the program’s history and an improvement of more than 6 percentage points from the previous year. MRC actively invests in research projects to identify new end markets and create program efficiencies to drive incremental improvements in the recycling rate.

“MRC was created to efficiently divert mattresses from landfills by developing a comprehensive and diverse collection network that is available and accessible to all Californians,” said Mike O’Donnell, MRC managing director. “This is especially important in communities that experience higher instances of illegal mattress dumping.”

MRC continued to exceed program accessibility goals by adding more collection sites and bulky item collection programs to the Bye Bye Mattress network. In 2020, MRC focused on adding collection opportunities to rural counties, communities experiencing high per capita rates of illegal dumping, and under-serviced areas. Overall, 98.6 percent of Californians have access to MRC’s no-cost collection sites or events, up from 94.8 percent in 2019. Additionally, mattress retailers provide no-cost take-back of an old mattress to any consumer that has a new mattress delivered anywhere in the state.

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And in addition to dedicating over $1 million to its statewide data collection effort known as the Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative, MRC provided more than $200,000 in funding for prevention and mitigation projects in three especially hard-hit areas.

“While yearly analysis of our initiative and collection network data is showing that communities with collection sites and events are experiencing less illegal mattress dumping, we also know it takes an integrated approach that includes enforcement and education to mitigate and prevent this behavior,” O’Donnell said. “We are active in local and state illegal dumping task forces and offer consumer education resources to change behaviors that lead to illegal dumping.”

Natural materials help Naturepedic avoid supply disruptions

As the ongoing foam shortage causes mattress delays, Naturepedic—makers of certified organic, nontoxic mattress and bedding products for babies, kids and adults—reports no disruption in its production or shipping.

“Nearly all traditional mattresses today are made with foam as internal filling,” said Barry A. Cik, founder and technical director for Naturepedic. “With a major shortage in the chemicals used to produce the foam, this is causing massive supply chain issues, leading to big delays for consumers.

“We choose to source from nature, not chemicals. Instead, we tap into sustainable, safer and healthier materials like certified organic cotton, wool and latex for our mattresses,” he added. “Because of this, our supply-chain has thankfully experienced no disruptions during these challenging times.”

All Naturepedic products are certified organic by GOTS and certified nontoxic by MADE SAFE. The mattresses are designed to eliminate questionable materials and chemicals found in most conventional mattresses, such as flame-retardant chemicals and barriers, polyurethane foam, vinyl and formaldehyde.

“With materials in traditional mattresses in short supply, our hope is to spread awareness and education on sustainable alternatives, encouraging all to ditch the chemicals in favor of these safer, healthier options,” Cik said.

Brooklyn introduces bamboo sheets

Brooklyn Bedding introduced a new natural fiber bedding collection—deep-pocket bamboo cotton sheets by Brooklyn Bedding—to its offerings. The sheets are designed to accommodate higher profile mattresses, up to 17 inches, and each sheet is made of natural bamboo and cotton.

The inherent thermal-regulating properties of rayon fibers derived from bamboo help maintain ideal body temperature throughout the night, while the cotton provides breathability, coupled with superior moisture-wicking properties.

“We view the sleep experience holistically,” said John Merwin, owner and CEO of Brooklyn Bedding, which broke ground in February on a new state-of-the art manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters in Glendale, Ariz. “Our latest introduction of sheets, derived from natural materials, is designed for not only superior comfort but also high-end functionality: with the increase in demand for our high-profile luxury mattresses—handcrafted hybrids in particular—came a need for deep pocket sheets that can accommodate upscale beds.”

The deep-pocket bamboo cotton sheets by Brooklyn Bedding are currently offered in three shades: white, khaki and silver. Retailing between $99 (twin) and $179 (California king), the new sheet sets are available online at or in the company’s retail stores, located throughout the Southwest.