Turn in dumped mattresses for cash

Alameda County recyclers want to find out if financial incentives or “bounties” can help reduce blight associated with illegally dumped mattresses, county waste management agency StopWaste announced Monday.

StopWaste is providing a $25,000 grant to Oakland-based mattress recyclers DR3 to find out if bounties help to clean up the county’s streets, and how high to set them in order to be effective.

StopWaste Recycling Coordinator Tom Padia said in a prepared statement that illegally dumped mattresses are a financial challenge for many cities. They’re also difficult to handle at landfills and transfer stations, Padia said.

StopWaste spokesman Jeff Becerra said:

“Part of what they need to do is figure out what’s the amount of money that would work.”

The bounty varies by the size of the mattress involved. They’re offering $6 for twin mattresses, $8 for full-sized mattresses, $10 for queen-sized mattresses and $12 for king-sized mattresses.

As part of a pilot project, DR3 Recycling staff members will go out to hotspots for illegal dumping in Alameda County and tag the mattresses they find there. Tagged mattresses can then be traded in for a bounty at DR3 Recycling.

Becerra said:

“They’re working with the different cities to ask them where the hotspots are. …┬áTypically the public works department staff are going to be in touch with where these locations are.”

They hope the short-term program will gain traction among “the mosquito fleet,” small business waste haulers and recyclers who are already engaged in similar activities, but the program is open to the general public as well, Becerra said.

The pilot project will run through April, and the data collected by StopWaste and DR3 Recycling will be used to develop a methodology for recycling mattresses under a statewide program stemming from Senate Bills 1118 and 254, which were sponsored by State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland.