OAKLAND (KCBS)— Preventing people from illegally dumping mattresses is the focus of a new pilot program now underway in Alameda County. Using grant money, the county’s waste management agency plans on paying people for bringing their old, unwanted mattress to a recycler.

StopWaste is the Alameda County agency that implements solid waste programs. Gary Wolff, the program’s executive director, said illegally dumped mattresses are an unsightly and extremely costly problem.

“I think people see mattresses on the streets sometimes think, ‘Oh, that’s ugly. That’s too bad.’ But I don’t think people understand that it’s in the vicinity of half a million mattresses a year being dumped into our common spaces around the state and a burden of $20 million for our local government to clean them up,” he said.

StopWaste is using a $25 thousand grant to put bounties on mattresses, offering $12 for a king, $10 for a queen and $6 for a twin to be paid out when the bedding is brought to Oakland-based mattress recycler— DR3.

“We’re going to find out whether that’s enough incentive for people who scavenge materials and sell them, of whom there are a great many in our society, to find out whether that’s enough money for them to move mattresses to the appropriate location.”

Wolff said information from the pilot will be used to develop a statewide mattress recycling program that goes into effect next January.

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