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Illegal Mattress Dumping Plagues Peninsula

It’s a problem nearly all cities along the Peninsula face, so whose responsibility is the dumped mattress?

Drive along any deserted part of town and you may not be surprised to find an illegally dumped mattress. These bulky pieces of furniture can’t be disposed of in regular trash pick-ups, often leading residents to sneak to a quiet location to drop off their mattresses.

Dumping garbage on public property is illegal in California. Perpetrators who are caught face fines of up to $3,000. The practice of placing a “free” sign on unwanted items dumped on the sidewalk does not grant the offending party immunity from the law.

This penalty didn’t stop two men in a Toyota Minibus from illegally dumping a mattress at Mussel Rock Beach Park in Pacifica on Sunday. A paraglider took a photo of the men and was also able to get the car’s license plate number.

Over in North Fair Oaks, in unincorporated Redwood City, local officials have been working with various Sheriff’s departments to increase monitoring of problematic areas. Manual Ramirez of the North Fair Oaks Council said garbage clean-up was his number one priority, and that the Public Works Department should increase communication with the Sheriff’s deputies whenever an incident occurs.

“We want to educate the people about this problem,” Ramirez said. “But we also want to warn people that they won’t get away with this.”

Companies like SleepTrain and Mancini’s provide a free recycling program when someone purchases a mattress from them. However, many residents are purchasing their mattress online or from one-way retailers, who do not have recycling policies once customers need to dispose of their mattress.

Recology will collect mattresses from residential units for free at two free clean-ups per year. The rate charged at the Transfer Station is $19, which increased in January 2011, according to Lillian Clark of the Public Works Department. The extra charge if you have used your two free clean-ups is $82.92.

Tell us in the comments: how should the county further discourage illegal mattress dumping? 

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Buck Shaw March 06, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Burried in you recology bill is a combined "FEE" for the "FREE" mattress, Household hazardous waste and 2 times a year large item pickup. Much like PG&E's "FREE" help to the poor called "PPP" on your bill to the tune of 20%.
Denise Fricano March 06, 2013 at 08:01 PM
While I think he could have found a better way to word this, he is not incorrect about cultural differences. When I see people littering (I live on Warrington and Halsey in NFO), and I ask them to pick it up, they either don't understand what I am saying, or they ask me why? I have spoken to my neighbors. No one really seems to mind the garbage. When I tell them about possible vermin making nests in clothing and things like mattresses - or them being set on fire, then they take notice. I think Supervisor Slocum needs to address this issue bi-lingually and bi-culturally.
Denise Fricano March 06, 2013 at 08:03 PM
How do neighborhoods create these messes, exactly? You want to have all of us pay for things dumped by people probably not even living in these neighborhoods? That's kind of unfair. Besides, Recology trucks roll by this stuff all the time. They won't pick it up unless I call them specifically, and then they don't do it until the month end street sweeping schedule.
Denise Fricano March 06, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Would love to see your plan. I was working with the NFO Community Council when Rose was supervisor. Am still waiting for contact from Manuel. Miya gave him my phone number - twice. If he truly is committed to garbage issues let him announce the formation of a task force and get an action plan in place.
michelle wright April 02, 2013 at 08:49 PM
I think this dumping problem got worse when they cancelled the scheduled city wide pick ups days. Twice a year the waste company would announce the date to leave your unused items on the curb. It was great incentive to clean out the garage and to get rid of the unused mattress from the spare bedroom. I think this plan also helped renters in the area who are now forced to ask the landlord to schedule a pick up day.

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