Environment Committee


Bill No.:




Vote Date:


Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:


File No.:


City of Hartford


Connecticut currently disposes of over 350,000 mattresses at a municipal cost of over $1.2 million. Mattresses can damage trash-to-energy plants while providing minimal BTU value, are expensive to ship to landfills, and are highly recyclable. Many are dumped illegally in both rural and urban areas to avoid tipping fees.

Connecticut has established an Extended Producer Responsibility program for electronics and, more recently, paint. This bill would establish a similar program for mattresses, mandating that by July 1, 2013, all major mattress producers join a non-profit “representative organization” which would submit a plan for a mattress stewardship program to DEEP for approval and ongoing audits. The program would be charged with negotiating agreements “to collect, transport, reuse, renovate, recycle, burn for energy recovery and dispose” of all mattresses in environmentally sound ways. Town participation would be voluntary, and it is anticipated that the program would largely work with the existing collection system while shifting costs to the manufacturers that produced the mattresses. Along with the environmental benefits and cost savings, it is anticipated that the program could create jobs in Connecticut.


Commissioner Dan Esty, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection: “supports the bill as an effective way to increase the recovery of discarded mattresses and create jobs while lowering municipal expenses”. The state's solid waste management plan identifies product stewardship as effective to help meet our recycling goals, as extending responsibility on producers helps equitably relieve significant financial burdens on municipalities. The one year of experience with the electronics recycling program and the currently being developed paint recovery program show promising signs of increasing recycling rates and reducing illegal dumping while providing local economic development. An electronics recycler has added twenty jobs, and a paint recycler is likely to create a Connecticut plant. The current bill actually reduces government , as it doesn't ask DEEP to manage any funds, and should help municipalities, especially disproportionally burdened cities like Hartford and Waterbury, recover some of the over $1.2 million spent on mattresses.


Mayor Pedro Segarra, City of Hartford, supports the bill. “For approximately three years the city of Hartford has dedicated resources to the disposal of mattresses in Hartford and statewide” and has worked with DEEP and other entities to define the problems and costs of the mattress disposal system and craft a solution”. In CT over 350,000 mattresses are disposed of annually at a municipal cost of over 1.2 million a year. Mattresses damage incinerators at trash-to energy facilities while providing minimal BTU value, and transporting to landfills is expensive and adds trucks to our state's roads. Tip fees are $10-$45 a unit paid by municipalities or taxpayers, in Hartford totaling $180,000 annually. Disposal fees encourage illegal dumping in both urban and rural areas, damaging property values and the environment. This initiative is supported by DEEP, CCM, Central CT Solid Waste Authority, Covanta Energy, Wheelabrator and many other organizations, and has encouraged Connecticut Mattress Recyclers in Hartford and other corporations statewide to start facilities.

Marilyn Cruz-Aponte, Public Works Department, City of Hartford, supports the bill and expands on Mayor Segarra's testimony. She clarifies that town participation would be voluntary, that no plants would be required to be built and that manufacturers would not be directly responsible for mattress collection. Rather, under this shared responsibility model, collection would continue to be conducted by the towns, producers would take over the costs of final transportation, disposal and some storage, and private and non-profit firms are already opening plants in CT, largely because of this initiative. In cases of purely international manufacturers, the importer would take over the status of Producer, as with EPR for electronics.

Representative Patricia Widlitz, 98th District, supports the bill, as she has been a strong advocate of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which Connecticut has already passed for electronics and for architectural paint. “This legislative proposal is structured similarly to PA 11-24 by requiring producers of mattresses sold in Ct to establish a non-profit organization with a fee structure that covers the cost of collection, transport, and recycling or disposal of their products.” The plan will require approval and auditing by DEEP but will be implemented independently. She expects resistance, as there was for electronics, from manufacturers who would prefer a national policy, but “that national policy never came to fruition. Had we waited our landfills would still be filling up with toxic waste. Fortunately, CT and many other states took the initiative and led the way.”

Representative Jeffery Berger, 73rd District, spoke in favor of the bill and introduced Louis Spina on behalf of the mayor of Waterbury. He had no written testimony.

Louis J. Spina, Provisional Director of Public Works Department, City of Waterbury, supports the bill. “Waterbury spends $150,000-$200,000 annually on mattress disposal on top of the per ton tipping fee” for approximately 7,000 mattresses and box springs. Since the $20-$30 surcharges started two years ago, the city finds more mattresses dumped illegally, and more coming from surrounding towns to take unfair advantage of Waterbury's free pickup for its residents. Waterbury saw a reduction in dumped electronics waste when that recycling program launched.

Martin Mador, Legislative Chair, Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter, support the bill as “the latest in a series of bills based on Product Stewardship(PS)/Extended Producer Responsibility(EPR) principles which bring appropriate and effective strategies to deal with post-consumer solid waste issues.” By internalizing the costs of disposal of the product, Product Stewardship will lead to improved products and lower socials costs. The bill is enabling, not a town mandate, will encourage sales, reduce illegal dumping and help the state achieve its Solid Waste Plan goals. Contrary to some industry claims, the manufacturers (not government) will run and craft the program, have ample time (1.5 years) to implement it, industry has had and declined many opportunities to help design the bill, and there is no federal legislation forthcoming.

Kachina Walsh-Weaver, Senior Legislative Associate, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, supports the bill as an equitable way to minimize public sector involvement in the management of post-consumer mattresses by making producers responsible for creating, negotiating and financing an environmentally sound program to collect, transport, store and dispose of them at no cost to the municipalities, working largely with the existing system. It is estimated that municipal costs currently exceed $1.2 million each year.

Pascal Cohen, owner of Recyc-Mattresses Corp, supports the bill. His firm has recycled 600,000 mattresses per year for six years, and recycles over 95% of the byproduct generated. Starting in November of 2011 he has met with DEEP, mattress retailers and community groups, learned that the current system is fragmented and costly, and thus decided to invest over $500,000 in a mattress facility in CT. He hopes to be operational by April and believes SB 89 would help ensure future success for improving the environment while creating jobs.

Bradford Mitchell, Director of Operations, Park City Green, supports the bill. A start-up, Park City Green is the Northeast's only not-for-profit mattress recycler and has “a mission to provide economic development for the Bridgeport region” while providing employment to those most in need and improving the environment, and plans to employ 15-20 workers while recycling 100,000 mattresses per year. These jobs are very needed in a city with 11.7 % unemployment, 25-30% in some neighborhoods, and will train the chronically unemployed and under-employed, including veterans, the previously incarcerated, single parents and the under-educated.

Adrienne Farrar Houel, President/CEO, Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises Inc., similarly supports the bill.

Elizabeth C. Paterson, Mayor, Town of Mansfield, supports the bill. EPR has saved the town thousands on electronics disposal, will probably do the same for paint, and is appropriate for mattresses, which are costly and inefficient to dispose of.

Ralph Eno, Parker Lord, and Steve Mattson, Board of Selectman, Town of Lyme, support the bill. Mattress disposal and illegal dumping are costly to Lyme, EPR has worked for electronics and should help with mattresses, while creating state jobs.

Robert Mezzo, Chairman, Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, supports the bill as a logical, cost-saving extension of EPR.

Sheila Baummer, Naugatuck Recycling and Solid Waste Coordinator, supports the Product Stewardship bill as a smart way to mitigate the impacts of mattress disposal.

Bill Finch, Mayor, City of Bridgeport, supports the bill. Bridgeport's 2010 sustainability plan, BGreen 2020, hopes to make it the greenest City in the region while creating jobs and economic development. Park City Green, a collaboration between the city, St Vincent de Paul Society of Oregon, Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises/The Green Team, and Family Reentry's Fresh Start Program has implemented a viable business plan which “will fulfill our goals of job creation, economic development, environmental stewardship, and social benefit.”

Kim O'Rourke, Recycling Coordinator, City of Middletown, supports the bill, which is estimated to save CT towns a minimum of $750,000. Middletown, which is a member of the CT product Stewardship Council, does not currently recycle any mattresses and pays thousands for disposal, which is passed on to residents through taxes and fees. They hope the bill will encourage recycling and reduce their issues with illegal dumping.

Susan Eastwood, Clean Water Action and The Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT, supports the EPR bill, as she believes “manufacturers should take responsibility for the safe disposal or recycling of their products at end of use” without burdening consumers or towns. Mattresses in particular can be as much as 50% of bulky waste by weight and are prone to illegal dumping, while recycling them would create jobs in the state and reduce greenhouse gases.

Tom Baran, Managing Member, Charter Oak Recycling LLC., and manager of a current small Hartford business, supports the bill. The City of Hartford alone collects 18,000 mattresses per year, and recycling them would reduce fees, improve the environment and provide immediate jobs for those who need it most.

Winston Averill, Chair, Connecticut Product Stewardship Council, supports the bill. The council is partnered with the Product Stewardship Institute, and works with “towns throughout CT to engage and address the environmental, health and fiscal impacts associated with consumer products.” Stewardship programs like “SB 89 aim to internalize the total product life cycle costs” and shift the burden from taxpayers. CT has a particular problem because the state is primarily waste-to-energy, while mattresses damage incinerators and are cumbersome to manage otherwise. With EPR, “by minimizing government involvement to an oversight role, we encourage private sector innovation to seek the most cost effective means to capture, transport and recycle mattresses.”

Margaret Miner, Executive Director, Rivers Alliance of CT, supports the bill, her members “have to haul mattresses out of rivers during cleanups. River beds can do without mattresses.”

Jessica Morowitz, Legal Fellow, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, supports the EPR bill for the environmental and economic benefits, and to combat illegal dumping.

Scott Cassel, CEO, Product Stewardship Institute, supports the bill. The PSI is a national environmental institute with members from 47 states, over 200 local governments and 70 companies and other entities. “There are over 70 laws in the U.S. in 32 states covering 10 product categories that require producers to take financial responsibility for managing their products at the end of life.” Mattresses are highly recyclable while difficult and costly to otherwise dispose of, thus are good candidates for EPR. PSI's work on EPR in 15 product sectors provides them with the experience to coordinate a National Mattress Stewardship Initiative. They have had numerous meetings on this initiative, including one in Hartford, and PSI's outline helped the city of Hartford propose SB 89. While PSI has attempted to include industry in federal and state efforts, they have received resistance on both, and believe waiting for federal legislation would be unwise.

Cheryl Reedy, Director, Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, supports the bill. The HRRA represents Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and Sherman, and sends its solid waste to Bridgeport. The EPR legislation for e-waste has helped save thousands of town dollars and recycle 450 tons of electronics in their region alone, HRRRA anticipates similar benefits from the paint program, and supports expanding the EPR program to mattresses.

Joseph Wasserman, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, supports SB 89. “Our region's solid waste goes to waste-to-energy facilities in the state. The fifth largest-capacity facility” in the U.S. is CRRA's Mid-Connecticut project in Hartford, which processes two thousand tons daily. Mattresses are unwanted at such facilities as they cause breakdowns, and are thus charged $10-$45 each in tip fees. EPR would reduce the resultant illegal dumping and, as we saw with electronics, save towns money.

Lynn Taborsak, Solid Waste Specialist, League of Woman Voters, supports the bill. The LWV has always supported statewide recycling, and feels that Extended Product Stewardship encourages companies to design reusable and recyclable products, as with car batteries. The bill exempts producers of fewer than a thousand mattresses and those with less than 0.1 percent of the national market share. Other non-participating firms will be flagged on the DEEP-maintained website and banned from selling in the state.

MetroHartford Alliance, Hartford's chamber of commerce, supports the bill as a creative way to reduce municipal costs and illegal dumping, while attracting new businesses.

Paul Nonnenmacher, President, Connecticut Recyclers Coaltion, supports the bill.

Mayor Scott D. Jackson and Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator Pamela Roach, Town of Hamden, support the bill. Hamden spends over $30,000 a year on residential mattresses, and expects the program to drop it to zero while recovering precious resources.

Richard J. Barlow, Chairman, Central Connecticut Solid Waste Authority, supports the bill. Authority members dispose of trash at the CRRA MidConn WTE facility, which is damaged when mattresses illegally enter the waste stream. “Some communities fund the $10-$45 cost of mattress disposal” through taxes, others charge for disposal, and all taxpayers fund the pickup of illegally dumped mattress. EPR would rightly put the cost back on manufacturers while creating jobs, as it has with electronics and soon will with paint.

Thomas Kirk, President, Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, supports a comprehensive mattress recycling system and contributed $20,000 toward the planning process, but did not have a role in crafting or an opportunity to review this particular bill.


Ryan Trainer, President, International Sleep Products Association, opposes the bill. While the ISPA supports mattress recycling and has helped encourage the growth in recycling facilities from 4 to over 30 in the last seven years, they oppose SB 89 for many reasons, and are working on national legislation to promote responsible mattress disposal. “First, the EPR model is inappropriate for regulating the recycling of used mattresses. EPR systems traditionally impose significant regulatory obligations on manufacturers of specific products that arguably pose significant health, environmental or safety risks,” which mattresses do not. SB 89 will be expensive for manufacturers and consumers, as it would force industry to shoulder the cost of disposal while creating an expensive, complex bureaucracy. It is unfair in that it would impose costs on CT manufacturers that had no role in creating the mattress, and will encourage those that sell in CT to abandon the state. This will hurt consumers through reduced competition and selection, and will cost jobs and tax revenue by harming bricks-and mortar retailers already damaged by online stores and the recession. The bill will impede US factories that are struggling by adding costs and because it is difficult to enforce when it comes to imports. It is also premature, as Gov. Malloy just created a working group to recommend improvements to CT's waste management, thus waiting for the results and/ or a national program would be wiser.

Daniel J. Connelly, Executive Director, Product Management Alliance, opposes the bill. The PMA, a coalition of trade associations and firms representing a broad array of consumer product, supports “market-based EPR as well as voluntary incentives for increased recovery and sustainable product and package design”. It opposes SB 89 because it creates a CT collection scheme unduly burdening manufacturers, retailers and transporters, and believes waste stream management policies should be consistent among states. PMA also opposes the inflexible and time consuming process for establishing and amending the product stewardship plan, and the mandate that private firms join a “representative organization”, which could generate federal legal challenges on free trade and other grounds.

Tim Phelan, President, CT Retail Merchants Assoc. spoke in opposition to the bill. While it might have been a good idea for paint and electronics, rushing into “one-size-fits-all product stewardship program” may be unwise, these efforts should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

Reported by: Zalman Nakhimovsky

Date: 3/26/12, 4/24/12