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Mattress retailer penalized for illegally pocketing customer recycling fees

Valley Mattress in Bakersfield, California, will be charged $63,034 in penalties and back payment for failing to submit collected customer fees for recycling.

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Valley Mattress, a retailer in Bakersfield, California, will pay $63,034 in penalties and back payments for collecting recycling fees for mattresses and then not submitting them to California’s mattress recycling program. The retailer also did not provide compliance records that were requested by state inspectors as required by the state’s Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act.

If Valley Mattress violates California’s mattress recycling law over the settlement term of three years, it will pay an additional $49,098 in penalties, according to a news release from the California Department of Resources and Recovery (CalRecycle).

“California’s mattress recycling law has kept over 7 million mattresses from littering our streets and filling our landfills,” says Machi Wagoner, director of CalRecycle. “Mattresses are highly recyclable and contain materials that can be made into new products, supporting California’s move to a more circular remanufacturing economy with less trash pollution and more green jobs.” 

As part of a settlement, Valley Mattress will verify its renewed compliance with all mattress recycling law requirements, pay civil penalties to CalRecycle, and pay delinquent consumer recycling fees to the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC).

In California, the state-certified industry stewardship organization composed of manufacturers, renovators and retailers is the MRC. Mattress retailers are required to register with the MRC to meet the standards put in place and ensure mattresses are being recycled.

In addition to registering with MRC, California mattress retailers are required to: 

  • add a mattress recycling charge to the purchase price of each mattress/futon;
  • clearly display the charge as a separate line item on the invoice/receipt;
  • offer consumers the option of having their used mattress picked up at no additional cost when their new mattress is delivered; and,
  • provide CalRecycle access to facilities and relevant compliance records.

CalRecycle says it launched an initial enforcement action against Valley Mattress in March 2018 for not providing compliance records to state inspectors. The retailer did not comply during a subsequent inspection and follow-up enforcement actions, prompting CalRecycle to file an administrative accusation.