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State ban on mattresses and box springs causing litter problems in Saugus

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  The state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) put a ban into effect last Nov. 1, requiring mattresses and box springs to be recycled. But the ban is causing problems for Saugus and every other community throughout the state because people who don’t want to pay the extra money for disposal of a mattress and box spring are dumping them on vacant lots and other secluded places.

  “I paid $460 to get rid of four mattress sets from my father’s house in Malden and mine after the law took effect in November,” Precinct 2 Town Meeting Member Robert J. Camuso, Jr. said yesterday.

  “With that new state law in effect, you’re going to see more and more dumping going on,” he said.

  Camuso has requested to be put on the agenda for the Board of Selectmen’s 7 p.m. meeting on Jan. 17. He wants to speak out on the problem of disposing of mattresses and brief members on a program that Peabody has adopted.

  Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Debra Panetta said she blames the state for contributing to the litter problem communities are now facing. “I think the State should have worked with cities and towns for an alternative solution for disposing of mattresses prior to creating this mandate,” Panetta said.

  “They have made it extremely difficult to discard mattresses, which is why we are seeing mattresses and box springs dumped illegally in Town and elsewhere. Saugus is currently working on a solution, similar to other cities and towns, on the best way to dispose of mattresses and box springs for residents,” she said.

  Camuso dropped off a flier this week from the City of Peabody that offers residents tips on how to lessen the problem based on a state grant-funded program that the community has launched. A grant enables Peabody to sell stickers to residents for $80 instead of having them spend up to $100 or more for mattress disposal. Among the tips offered on what people can do with their old mattress:

  • When you buy a mattress, ask the retailer to collect your old one.
  • Bring the mattress to the Peabody Recycling Center. The grant allows residents to buy a $20 sticker for each mattress and box spring they drop off.
  • Residents are also free to use other private disposal options if they choose, but are responsible for all associated costs for mattress and box spring disposal.

  The state adopted the ban on mattress and box spring disposal to help reduce trash disposal statewide by 30 percent (from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2023.

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