You Won't Be Able to Throw Out Mattresses, Textiles in Mass. Starting Nov. 1

The goal with the latest round of bans on mattresses and textiles is to recycle the fibers and make them into new products for those who need them

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A ban on throwing out textiles and mattresses in Massachusetts went into effect Tuesday, part of an effort by the state to be more environmentally conscious and also help those who are in need.

Beginning Nov. 1, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has added mattresses and textiles to the list of materials that are banned from disposal in the Bay State. The state wants the materials to be resold, reused, recycled or repurposed instead.



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According to MassDEP regulations, textiles include:

  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Curtains
  • Fabric
  • Similar products

The ban does not apply, however, to textiles that are contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil or hazardous substances.

MassDEP first rolled out bans on certain types of garbage in 1990. There are now over a dozen categories of trash people aren't allowed to throw out, including asphalt pavement, glass and metal containers, lead acid batteries, yard waste recyclable paper and more.

This is only the second time this has happened, since the law passed in 1986.

The goal with the latest round of bans on mattresses and textiles is to recycle the fibers and make them into new products, or simply reuse them as is. More than 230,000 tons of textiles get thrown out in Massachusetts every year, according to the state. The state estimates that 85% of the textiles being thrown out could be donated, reused or recycled instead.

The new regulations also lower the ban limits on food waste for institutions creating more than a half-ton each week.

Janet Domenitz of MassPirg said the state throws out more than 5 and a half million tons of trash a year. 

"So it’s bad news, bad news, bad news. And so everything we can do to reduce waste being disposed of is important.”

At the transfer station in Needham, they‘re prepared with containers for mattresses and textiles, including clothing and shoes.

Over 600,000 mattresses and box springs get discarded annually in Massachusetts. The state does provide a lot of communities with grants to recycle them. Few nonprofits accept them.

You can find a place to take your old textiles here.

For help finding somewhere to take an old mattress, click here.

MassDEP has a goal of a 90% reduction in disposal by 2050.

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