Guest Op-Ed: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Waste Ban on Mattresses, Box Springs and Textiles Goes Into Effect November 1

By Wendy Millar Page

What does this mean to you as a resident of Winthrop, MA?

MassDEP issued its final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan. The final Master Plan establishes goals to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent (from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030) over the next decade. It sets a long-term goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in disposal to 570,000 tons by 2050. Among its strategies for reaching these objectives, MassDEP will expand its current waste disposal bans by:

• Lowering the threshold on commercial organic/food waste to facilities generating more than one-half ton of these materials per week; and

• Adding mattresses, box springs and textiles to the list of materials banned from disposal or transport for disposal in Massachusetts.

The Town of Winthrop Department of Public Works, Solid Waste and Recycling department has worked with the MassDEP, and our vendors to provide a way for residents to comply with the new waste bans. Eliminating these items from our waste stream will boost recycling and support the recycling industry, which contributes thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the Massachusetts economy. By cutting down on disposal, the waste bans also help us capture valuable resources, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lessen our reliance on landfills and incinerators.

Mattress and Box Spring Recovery for Recycling in Winthrop

What type(s) of mattresses are subject to the mattress waste disposal ban?

Mattresses are defined in the regulations as “any resilient material or combination of materials that is enclosed by ticking, used alone or in combination with other products, and that is intended for sleeping upon, except for mattresses that are contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil, or hazardous substances. Mattress includes any foundation or box spring. “Mattress” does not include any mattress pad, mattress topper, sleeping bag, pillow, car bed, carriage, basket, dressing table, stroller, playpen, infant carrier, lounge pad, crib bumper, liquid, or gaseous filled ticking, including any waterbed and any air mattress that does not contain upholstery material between the ticking and the mattress core, and mattresses in futons and sofa beds.” All sizes of mattresses are included under the ban: California king, king, queen, full, twin XL, twin, and crib mattresses. What about full-foam or latex mattresses, or “mattresses in a box”? Yes, those specific mattress products are included in the waste ban. What determines whether a mattress is “clean” enough to be recycled? This should be determined working with your mattress recycling vendor. Under the state contract for mattress recycling, customers shall adhere to all acceptance and storage criteria for mattresses as specified by the Vendor and will be responsible for the disposal of any mattresses that do not meet the recycling acceptance criteria. They shall not send for recycling: • Excessively torn, punctured, soiled or moldy items • Twisted or crushed mattresses or broken box springs • Wet or frozen mattresses or box springs • Mattresses or box springs infested with bed bugs or other pests • Futon mattresses, fold-out sofa beds • Mattress pads or toppers • Infant sleeping pads; air or water beds; any other furniture or textiles

Capitol Waste is doing a bi-weekly collection of mattresses and box springs on Fridays. (Every other week.) This program will begin the first week of November. Residents must call Capitol Waste directly at 617-569-1718 to schedule and provide payment for pick up. Items must be on the curb before 7 am on the scheduled collection day. Items that are heavily soiled, moldy, mangled, infested with bed bugs or otherwise unrecyclable are not permitted. There will be a $35 surcharge for any items rejected at the facility, payable by the resident. Capitol Waste will charge $70 for the first item and $45 for each additional item. Up to 3 items at each address will be allowed per collection

day. There will be a $25 surcharge to the resident for items scheduled for pickup and not at the curb when the truck arrives for collection. Cancellations must take place by the day before collection. Residents will not be charged for timely 24-hour advance cancellations.

The online sales of Orange Bulk Item Stickers mattresses and box springs will no longer be available after 10/12/22 and are void for mattress/box springs as of 10/31/22.

No mattresses will be collected by the regular trash pickup after 10/31/22.

All Winthrop residents of any size dwelling can call for mattress and box spring recovery with this program.

When purchasing a new box spring or mattress, check with the company from which you have made your purchase to see if they have removal options. This option is offered by many mattress and furniture companies.

Textile Recovery for Recycling in Winthrop


No textiles can be placed in your trash for regular trash pickup.

What type of textiles are subject to the waste disposal ban? Textiles are defined in the regulations as “clothing, footwear, bedding, towels, curtains, fabric, and similar products, except for textiles that are contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil, or hazardous substances.” All uncontaminated cloth. Are used wiping clothes or “shop rags” considered textiles

Wendy Millar Page is the Solid Waste & Recycling Manager for the Town of Winthrop.

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