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Pittsfield's New Mattress Recycling Program Mirrors State Efforts for Decreased Waste
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:09AM / Wednesday, November 02, 2022
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has a new way to get rid of mattresses after the state banned them from waste disposal starting Nov. 1.

Residents will notice a different price tag and destination for the mattress.

They will now schedule a pickup with a Fitchburg-based recycling company and pay a service fee of $55. The process will replace Pittsfield's bulky waste sticker program that costs $20 per item.  

"What we decided to do among the several different options was to partner with a company called Tough Stuff Recycling. They have a system for curbside pickup, so they'll charge a fee, it's $55, and you'll schedule with them the date and time for the mattress to be picked up in front of your house," Commissioner of Public Utilities Ricardo Morales explained.

"And the mattress at that point has to be wrapped inside a mattress bag. So that's the end of it. The $55 pays for the delivery, the pickup of the item, the transportation and disposal into the recycling stream to use parts out of it, wood metal, some fabric components, and other stuff."

Both the state and local regulations aim to encourage recycling and limit the number of items that go into a landfill.

Last year, the state released its final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan that establishes goals to reduce disposal by 30 percent over the next decade. In this plan, mattresses and textiles were added to the list of materials banned from disposal in Massachusetts.

Items that are significantly contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil, or hazardous substances will not be eligible for recycling and will go to a transfer station with a fee.

Morales said the cost of the bulky sticker items had quadrupled while the city was charging a relatively stable price. Last year, the sticker price was raised by $5 after being the same for about 16 years since being implemented.

"In recent years, the last two, three years, the price to dispose specifically of mattresses, quadrupled," he said. "And now, where we charged $20 to get a sticker on a mattress until yesterday [Monday], now we would have paid $120 to dispose of that mattress."

Though the price for recycling the mattress will be raised, residents will still be paying less than the $120 price tag to dispose of it. The Casella transfer station on Hubbard Avenue is not taking mattresses but other county locations will accept them if they are designated as trash.

The city is prepared to quickly address any illegal dumping — which bears a fine — so that the items can be salvaged and recycled.

Morales said the city has been trying to work with the community in organizing bulking waste or waste events, holding a few on the West Side in the past year, and would like to expand the efforts for recycling.

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