How New California Recycling Laws Affect Mattress Retailers

Returns Management
New California Mattress Recycling Regulations

The state of California began expanding mattress and textile recycling laws in January 2020, putting a burden on mattress retailers that process plenty of returns.

As of January 2021, businesses that manufacture and/or distribute mattresses, futons, box springs, adjustable bed frames, and foundations to end-users living in California were required to offer free pickup and recycling of the old item(s) at no additional charge to the customer.

This amendment brings potential problems to nationwide mattress, futon, and furniture e-commerce companies serving customers in California, as it requires businesses to pay out-of-pocket for removal and recycling of the old items.

However, it also represents an opportunity for mattress retailers to differentiate themselves. Enter REFURN’s shopping cart integration, designed to empower e-commerce companies.

California Mattress Law: History And Overview

California’s original Mattress Recovery Law, SB 254, required manufacturers, renovators, and retailers to provide consumers in the state with the option to have their used mattress either:

  1. Picked up at the time of delivery. (or)
  2. To provide them with a free dropoff opportunity for mattress recycling.

Both of these options are to be provided at no cost to the consumer, with no hidden California mattress recycle fee.

Let’s take a deeper look at SB 254.

⚖️ FYI: The California law may not impact all eCommerce retailers.
It’s up to each retailer to find out how the current and upcoming legislation affects them individually. This guide is supplemental to the actual law, which you can view in a new tab here.

Original Law: SB 254

California’s “Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act” was enacted under SB 254 on September 27, 2013. The bill authorized the creation of a mattress recycling organization by a qualified industry association, which would develop, implement, and administer a mattress recycling program.

Upon creation, this California mattress recycling program was named the “Mattress Recycling Council”, and required manufacturers, retailers, and renovators of mattresses to register with the MRC on or before January 1, 2015.

📖 What does this mean? This bill requires mattress companies to provide California consumers with the option to have the old mattress picked up for eco-friendly disposal at no cost to them at the time the new one is delivered or to provide an opportunity for free drop-off of a used mattress.

Additions Made to Law: SB 254

California expanded its mattress recycling program to include futons, which required that manufacturers, distributors, and retailers selling a California mattress or futon to end-users to register with the Mattress Recycling Council, as well as collect a $10.50 fee from the consumer on each futon sold. All fees collected by the company must be remitted to MRC monthly.

SB 254 also required California retailers delivering new mattresses to a California consumer to offer free pick up and recycling of the used mattress at the time of delivery. However, this requirement initially offered two exemptions:

  • The old mattress is contaminated.
  • The new mattress was purchased online and delivered by a common carrier.

Exemptions mean CA law will now affect online retailers!

These exceptions to the rules were beneficial to online retailers since it didn’t require them to provide free pick up and recycling services to their customers. However, these exceptions were eliminated by an amendment to the law, AB 187, which went into effect January 1, 2021.

Amendments on the Horizon: AB 187

Since California law SB 254 was amended by AB 187, companies that sell a mattress or futon to a customer living in California are required to offer free pick up and recycling of the old item at no additional charge to the customer within 30 days of delivery of the new product.

Further, the amendment lifted the exception of online purchases and common carrier deliveries. That means that all e-commerce companies selling either a mattress or a futon to a California end-user must offer and/or provide removal and recycling at their own expense.

Effects of California Law on E-Commerce Companies

Being required by law to provide California end-users free mattress and futon pickup and recycling services could potentially result in revenue losses in that region, which would also have a negative impact on your profit margin.

Mattress return services Avg. cost to provide pick-up and recycling services to customers is between $85 and $100.

To fully understand the financial impact this law will have on your e-commerce company, let’s do some math.

Let’s pretend that in one day, you receive 100 new online mattress or futon orders from customers residing in California. By law, you would be required to provide free pick up and recycling services within 30 days of delivery of the new product, resulting in your company paying between $8,500 – $10,000 out-of-pocket to provide these services to California customers at no cost to them.

That’s a huge loss. Selling 100 new mattresses in California would cut $10k out of your $50k profit. How would you recoup this lost money?

How to Recoup Losses from California’s New Bill

What if you could recoup those losses without raising your prices to California residents, and without raising prices nationwide?

With REFURN’s seamless API integration for e-commerce retailers, you’ll not only be able to offset potential losses but will also become more competitive in your industry by offering a convenient add-on service that not only gets you ahead of the law but enables you to offset your losses by charging for those same conveniences to your customers outside of California.

✔️ Boost Revenue and Offset Losses With REFURN

REFURN offers removal and eco-friendly disposal services to a nationwide market. We are a technologically-driven company that uses proprietary technology to provide our partners with an easy and affordable white-label API integration that allows them to provide additional convenient services to all their customers from within their e-commerce booking system.

✔️ Offer Customers Additional Services with API Integrations

As our partner using our integration, you’ll be able to offer the following packaged service options to your customers, right through your e-commerce website:

  • New item setup
  • Old item disassembly + disposal
  • New item setup + old item removal/disposal

Bulky furniture return extraction

By partnering with REFURN, you will essentially be expanding your company by providing services that most customers desire. Before you consider raising your prices to offset your costs, you can actually use our API to profit from selling additional conveniences to your customers nationwide, offsetting your losses in California as well as managing future inventory.

Manage returns and exchanges by offering old item haul away services with REFURN today!

How Our Shopping Cart Integration Works

Our integration works seamlessly with your established e-commerce website and will appear within your add-ons section at the time of purchase. You can also use this opportunity to push popular add-ons that you offer directly to your customers.

E-commerce integration model

Step 1. Integrate Shopping Cart API Store

REFURN services, such as mattress or furniture haul away, donation, disposal or recycling are added to your eCommerce store just like any other product, with a specific SKU provided by REFURN. The look, feel, marketing, and price of the service are entirely controlled by you and your team.

Step 2. Customer Places Order

When a customer books an order where a REFURN product is included, REFURN creates a Schedule Request and sends an email to the customer to schedule their service. That email can include your branding if you provide it to us.

Step 3. Customer Books Old Item Removal

The customer schedules their service via a link in the email and REFURN executes the service like any other order you may have booked with us.

Step 4. REFURN Takes Care of the Rest

REFURN handles all the customer service and scheduling for you, so there’s no need to hire additional people to spend more time dealing directly with customers.

Convenience as a USP: Upward Trends for E-Commerce Retailers to Remain Competitive

Let’s get into the mind of a customer. If you’re replacing a mattress and now getting rid of it is even more difficult, you’re left with limited options. You’d typically be looking for convenience in this case, seeing as mattress disposal and recycling on your own in places like California is more difficult now.

Unique Selling Point (USP): Being the all-in-one solution matters. It helps make your product or company better than competitors. By providing the new, superior item and offering a sensible solution at the same time to remove their old item, you become a more convenient choice to your customers.

On the flip side, when you purchase a large item to replace an old one, you’re stuck with the task of trying to get rid of it yourself, which can be an expensive and arduous ordeal.

Today’s consumer is all about convenience. Consumers don’t only shop around for the best deal, but they also seek out the most convenient shopping experience possible.

✔️ Offering Convenience as a Profit-Driven Add-On

Imagine how much more attractive your business will be to them when they discover you provide them eco-friendly ways to manage their items if, for whatever reason, they have to return it.

You’re more likely to make the sale if you present this opportunity as a free service, or an additional feature you can only get by purchasing a mattress from your business.

Reseller platform added services for e-commerce

Historically, convenience has been a successful selling point. A 2002 study published by UXMagazine revealed that convenience orientation – the preference for convenient services and goods – had a significant impact on a consumer’s purchasing decisions. Furthermore, the perception of convenience by the customer played a major role in the way that they evaluated (or reviewed) their shopping experience and the company.

Five years later, a separate study found that convenience was the most relevant factor when using a mobile device for online shopping.

In other words, businesses offering additional conveniences are more likely to land a sale than others.

Benefits of REFURN’s API Integration

The convenience isn’t just the service itself. It’s way more than that. Partnering with REFURN and purchasing the API integration has many benefits, not only to the customer but to your company, as well.

✔️ Our Shopping Cart Add-on API Benefits Include:

  • Seamless Integration: Effortlessly integrate with popular e-commerce platforms like GraphQL, Big Commerce, Shopify, or WooCommerce.
  • Boost Upselling: Unlock additional revenue streams by offering it as an enticing add-on mattress return service priced by you!
  • One-Stop Solution: Eliminate obstacles all at once, from offering assembly to managing exchanges and returns to reducing inventory destruction.
  • Legal Compliance: Stay in line with California’s recycling laws, keeping you ahead of regulatory changes.
  • Streamlined Operations: Reduce the need for extra customer service staff and scheduling logistics – we handle it all for you.
  • Address Specific Needs: REFURN can help you handle all types of returns, from vendor returns to store returns. Plus, you can choose to destroy, recycle, or resell inventory.
  • Eco-Friendly Image: Showcase your commitment to eco-friendliness with REFURN’s environmentally conscious disposal methods. 🌿

REFURN’S Available Shopping Cart Integrations

  1. In Cart Add-On Demo Integration
  2. Checkbox/Pop-Up Demo Integration

Based on consumer trends in e-commerce markets, offering additional convenient services to your customers will put you ahead of the competition while also allowing you to remain compliant with the upcoming amendments to California disposal and recycling laws.

📱 For more information about REFURN, or to become a REFURN Partner, contact us today give us a call at (404) 801-3888.


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