The next time you buy a new mattress, your old one doesn’t have to end up in the trash — or illegally dumped on a city street — because the city has partnered with a nonprofit to give it new life.

Long Beach Public Works started a pilot program in April with the Mattress Recycling Council, which runs the “Bye Bye Mattress” program in four states, including California, where the council estimates it has collected 10 million old mattresses since 2016.

The council transports the mattresses to facilities where they’re stripped of their fibers, padding, springs and wood to help produce new materials like carpet padding, mulch and other products.

Before the pilot program, which is being extended through the end of 2024, mattresses collected in Long Beach through the city’s bulky item pickup service or those removed from alleys and public spaces ended up in the trash.

“We weren’t recycling any of it because we didn’t have the capacity or any of the facilities to do so,” said Joy Contreras, a spokesperson for Public Works.

Contreras said that the city collected nearly 14,500 mattresses in 2023, which is low when compared to years like 2021 when the city collected about 24,700, with around 9,000 of those being illegally dumped.

But Contreras said the free Bye Bye Mattress program could provide an alternative that’s more in line with the city’s environmental sustainability goals. So far, the program has recycled just 175 mattresses in Long Beach and the city is assessing if the project will be made permanent.

“This is why it’s a pilot. Do we want to continue doing this?” Contreras said. “Is this a service that’s working?”

Contreras said the department plans to launch an educational campaign to raise awareness of the new option for residents to get rid of their old mattresses, which will be available for the rest of the year.

Public Works plans to host a pickup event on the first Saturday of each month where residents can bring their old mattresses to a facility at 970 W. Chester Place, which is located near the Los Angeles River close to the Shoemaker Bridge.

Each Long Beach refuse account is eligible for 12 special collections per year, where city workers will take away things like old appliances, furniture and mattresses, but those need to be scheduled in advance and can take up to two weeks to be fulfilled.

The city will continue to provide those services as well as picking up items that are illegally dumped, but now residents have the option to reduce their waste by recycling their old mattresses.

The Bye Bye Mattress program is available each first Saturday of the month at 970 W. Chester Place between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.