Buying a mattress in Oregon? That could soon come with an extra fee

By April Ehrlich (OPB)
May 26, 2024 1 p.m. Updated: May 28, 2024 2:51 p.m.

Anyone buying a mattress in Oregon may soon see an extra charge on their receipt: a fee to cover the state’s new mattress stewardship program, which could launch as soon as this summer.

Once the plan is finalized, Oregon will be the fourth state in the country requiring consumers to pay into a mattress recycling program. That will help fund recycling sites around the state, where people can drop off old mattresses for free.


The goal is to prevent mattresses from filling up landfills or being illegally dumped on curbsides.

Mattress Recycling Council, a national nonprofit formed by the mattress industry, is revising its second proposed plan for Oregon. It’s the only organization contracted to run similar programs in other states, including California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Volunteers throwing a dirty mattress in the back of a pickup truck on a  gravel road.

FILE: Volunteers with Willamette Riverkeeper help remove a mattress dumped near the Willamette River and Salmon Creek outside Westfir, Ore., in 2020. Supporters hope Oregon's new mattress recycling program will cut down on the number of illegally dumped mattresses.

Photo courtesy of Willamette Riverkeeper

The organization needs to submit its latest proposal to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality by June 10. Among other stipulations, the department requested the plan lower recycling fees for consumers.

In its previous proposal, Mattress Recycling Council suggested charging $22.75 for every mattress purchased in Oregon, whether from an in-store retailer or online. That’s more than in other states. Similar fees amount to $10.50 in California, $11.75 in Connecticut, and $20.50 in Rhode Island.


“We just want to make sure that this is something that isn’t an undue burden to the consumer who’s paying this fee on each mattress sold,” DEQ program analyst Rachel Harding said.

If DEQ approves this latest revision, Mattress Recycling Council will have up to seven months to implement the program.

The organization submitted its first proposal to DEQ in October last year. The department rejected it on the grounds that it didn’t include enough details outlining how it would run the program.

The organization submitted its second proposal in February. In addition to its concerns about high recycling fees, DEQ requested more information about how the program would run effectively on its launch date, and how the program would handle mattresses that aren’t recyclable.

This will be the proposal’s final revision, as stipulated by state legislation passed in 2022. The law says DEQ can modify the proposal if it doesn’t meet state requirements by the second revision.

Once the program launches, Oregonians can expect to see at least one mattress collection site in every county that has a population of 10,000 or more, which includes all but seven counties. The program will also hold at least one collection event every year in the remaining counties.

In addition to recycling individual materials from mattresses — like fabric, springs, foam or wooden frames — Harding said the program should be able to reuse mattresses that are still in good condition.

“A lot of times, places like hotels and casinos, they’ll turn over mattresses before they’ve reached the end of their useful life,” Harding said. “That’s a mattress that someone who otherwise doesn’t have a bed could be utilizing.”

The law provides an avenue for hotels and retailers to dump their mattresses in bulk at no extra charge.

Correction: A previous version of this story gave incorrect information on how long Mattress Recycling Council has to implement its initial program.