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LGA calls for mandatory mattress take-back

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for mattress manufacturers to be forced to recycle their own products and offer take-back services.

The LGA says the measures would stop mattresses being illegally fly tipped and “reduce cost pressures on council recycling and waste disposal centres”. Analysis of the association’s own suggests 7.26 million mattresses are sold annually in the UK, while only 1.36 million are recycled.

LGA Environment spokesman councillor David Renard said: “Mattresses are bulky and hard to throw away but are generally recyclable. Manufacturers need to take responsibility for the life cycle of their mattresses and help councils and consumers dispose of them responsibly.

“Alongside being forced to offer take-back services and recycle mattresses as part of a circular economy, manufacturers need to be made to introduce mandatory take-back schemes to help reduce mattresses being dumped illegally and contributing to a fly tipping bill of nearly £60 million a year to taxpayers in England.

“Fly tipping is an illegal and inexcusable blight on society. Offenders need to be given bigger fines and councils need adequate funding to investigate incidents.”

The LGA claims wore than 33,000 mattresses were fly tipped in England in 2018 and 2019, which when stacked would be the equivalent height of 19 Empire State buildings.

Fly tipping

Of 646,039 fly-tipping incidents reported between 2013 and 2018, mattresses made up 13% of the waste illegally dumped, the LGA says.

Mr Renard said: “Dumped mattresses made up a quarter of all fly tipping incidents in some areas in the past five years.

“Unwanted mattresses are fuelling landfill costs which continue to rise, putting pressure on waste and recycling centres which councils are working hard to keep open.”

Strategy

In the government’s resources and waste strategy, published in December 2018, tackling bulky waste such as mattresses was identified as a priority (see letsrecycle.com story)

The strategy contained the promise that by the end of 2025 the government will have reviewed and consulted on measures such as Extended Producer Responsibility and product standards for five waste streams, two of which it planned to complete by 2022.

The five waste streams are textiles, construction and demolition materials, vehicle tyres, fishing gear and bulky waste, which includes mattresses, furniture and carpets.

Orginal Source