Table of Contents
Mattress Recycling and Disposal
How to Dispose of Old Mattress
Is it time to replace or upgrade your mattress?
A mattress generally lasts between 7 and 10 years, so you may or may not know exactly what to do with your old mattress. There are a few different options depending on things like: where your new mattress was purchased, where you live, and your preferences.
The average mattress contains over 7 pounds of steel, 4 pounds of foam, and 1.5 pounds of wood, which means a majority of the mattress components can be recycled or reused. We’ll run down the easiest and most environmentally friendly ways to get rid of that old mattress. Since close to 15 million mattresses end up in landfills each year, it’s essential to take a little extra time to avoid this whenever possible.
How Do I Get Rid of an Old Mattress?
If you’ve purchased your mattress from a brick and mortar store like a furniture or mattress store, you are most likely having the mattress delivered to your home. Nearly every retail store will include the removal of your old mattress in the delivery price if you desire. Check with the salesperson when you are setting up delivery and make sure they can remove your old mattress. You may also want to check that they follow through with recycling old mattresses they pick up, and that they do not just end up at the dump and then in a landfill.
If it is a smaller independent mattress retailer, they may or may not be taking the extra steps to haul mattresses to a recycling center that accepts them. You can also utilize the mattress recycling council website for information on a specific retailer. They operate in several states, including California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Usually, larger chains are set up to take them to a recycling center where they are disassembled, and whatever parts can be recycled are separated.
This is usually a free service or included with delivery costs, and would be the simplest, least complicated way to get rid of that old worn-out mattress. With this option, you won’t have to wrap or load up a large, heavy mattress, or transport it so if this is a possibility, save your back and some time. Let the professionals remove it for you.
Mattress Recycling Locations
Where Can I take a Mattress for Recycling?
Nowadays, even mattresses can be purchased online. While purchasing online can usually save you some money, keep in mind that the option of removal of your old mattress is no longer available. If you bought your mattress online or store pickup is not an option, then you will need to do a little more leg work. There may or may not be a mattress recycling center local to your area.
Recycle it Yourself
You can seek to recycle the mattress yourself. Check with your municipality’s waste management organization for a mattress recycling program. Usually, a city or county website will have information on where to drop a mattress for recycling or how to arrange for pick-up.
Many states have passed laws that require mattress recycling programs to facilitate proper disposal for communities. You can also try calling your local independent recycling center to ask if they accept mattresses. There may be a fee involved in this scenario depending on your state.
Local Recycling Centers That Accept Mattresses
There is an excellent chance that a recycling center in your area accepts mattresses. As a matter of fact, you may even be able to find a facility that will pick up your old mattress for you. There are many facilities that will take mattresses. However, you shouldn’t just assume that your mattress will be accepted.
It’s always a good idea to confirm things first to avoid an unnecessary trip with your bulky item. Call your local recycling center and ask questions. If they don’t accept it, they may know of another company that will. Confirm with them the type of mattress you want to bring; box springs and coils, or memory foam.
Some recycling centers that accept large bulk items such as mattresses will charge a small recycling fee. Make sure to check directly with the facility in your area. These mattress recycling fees usually fall between $20 – $40 per mattress.
Mattresses take up a lot of space and are not all entirely recyclable. The labor involved in dismantling a mattress to recycle material that is reusable is the main reason many recycling locations charge a small fee. Free mattress recycling is available at some large recycling centers, so try a few if you want to avoid this fee.
Free Mattress Disposal
Selling a Used Mattress
If the mattress you’re replacing is in good shape, you should consider selling it. Of course, a very old mattress that is broken or in poor condition will not sell, but if your mattress is under 10 years old and in a decent to good condition, you can quickly throw up a post on Craigslist or eBay to find a buyer. Including information like size: twin, full, double, queen, or king, as well as details like if it is soft, hard, firm, or has a pillow top will help it sell faster.
You should also note if it always had a mattress protector cover on it and if you have any sheet, blanket, or quilt to include in the sale. Remember to consider the weight of your mattress and let the potential buyer know if you can help them load it or not. They may need to bring friends for some team effort to help.
If you don’t get any buyers, you can also consider mattress donations. A used mattress isn’t something that can simply be dropped off at any thrift store or goodwill donation center. Give a local charity or shelters in your community a call to see if they would be interested. Some thrift stores do accept mattresses, so it’s also reasonable to check with them as well. This will involve your own effort transporting the mattress, but it stays out of a landfill, and you get to help someone.
If the mattress you need to get rid of is still in good condition, you may want to explore donation. Obviously, if the mattress is very worn or stained, this wouldn’t be an option.You can start with a quick internet search for a donation drop off near me and see if any nearby charities, such as Habitat for Humanity, specifically accept mattresses. Many charities do not accept mattresses, so you will want to check by calling them directly first. You can also check with Donationtown.org; they even have many that can arrange for pickup of your mattress donation.
Yet another option is checking with your friends and family. Reach out to relatives and there may just be someone who could use a comfortable mattress for a spare bedroom, or a young adult just moving out on their own.
Other Free Options
If you are not able to find a charity that will take your used mattress you still have some options for getting rid of it for free.
- Craigslist – Post an ad for your mattress in the Free section. Your success will of course depend on the condition and age.
- Homeless shelter – If you are in a larger city try calling shelters in the area and see if they would have a use for the mattress.
- Friends and family – Reach out to friends or family and see if anyone could use your mattress.
Mattress Recycling Service and Junk Removal
Mattress removal service is available in most cities. People get rid of their old mattresses every single day. Because mattress disposal is a common problem, there are businesses created specifically to take care of your old mattress for you. A mattress recycling service will charge you. Most places charge between $50 and $150 for removal, but they will safely dispose of your mattress and box spring.
These companies are also helpful if you don’t have a way to transport your mattress to a recycling center. If you don’t have other options, paying to get rid of your mattress is an excellent idea. They follow the law and rules regarding the process of mattress recycling. You may be required to cover your mattress in a disposal bag or a plastic cover before they pick it up.
There are several reasons, with the primary one being hygiene and preventing bed bugs. If you go the route of bulk pick up with curb pickup from your town waste management, you may also be required to cover the mattress.
Recycling Bed Frames and Pillows
The options for recycling bed frames and old pillows are a bit different, but trashing them can still be avoided. Bed Frames that are metal or wood can be recycled. They would need to be taken to a recycling center that works on scrap metal or accepts furniture for recycling. If the bed frame isn’t broken, you should look into donating it or giving it away for free online. There are many organizations and shelters that would accept your bed frames to help someone in need.
If it is too worn or broken to be salvaged, then look for a recycling center that might accept it. If it is metal, it is more likely that they will accept it. If it’s wood, you could break it down into small pieces and toss it curbside. Don’t attempt to burn it as it is most likely chemically treated and/or stained wood and will release dangerous toxins.
If the bedframe is plastic, it gets a little more complicated because it depends upon the type of plastic used. More than likely, it is not recyclable. However, you can resale, donate, or give away a plastic bedframe in working order.
Pillows need to be replaced much more often than mattresses, and they can get very dirty and gross. There’s really no way to resale, donate, or give away a used pillow for the most part. However, you can upcycle your pillows yourself into things like dog or cat beds, or for insulation under a drafty door. Another option is to ask a local animal shelter if they would accept them for bedding for animals. If you’ve exhausted those options or they don’t interest you, then look for a textile recycling drop off or center.
The pillow materials can be shredded just like a mattress, then separated, treated and become raw material for new products like new pillows, carpet padding, insulation or furniture pads. Once you locate a textile recycling location, simply bag your clean pillows and other items and drop them off.
Mattress Recycling FAQs
Where to buy mattress disposal bags?
Some of these junk removal services may require that you bag up your used mattress for sanitation purposes. Mattress disposal bags may also be required if your local waste management accepts mattresses curbside. Mattress disposal bags are available at your local home improvement stores or wherever moving supplies are sold.
Can you take a mattress to the dump?
If you have explored these other options, do NOT dump or burn your mattress. Obviously, taking your mattress to the dump should be avoided if possible, but if you live in a very rural area or it is in very bad shape, this may be your only option. There will be a fee at the dump usually determined by the weight, or a flat fee for the mattress. You can call ahead before transporting to make sure you aren’t surprised by a fee.
Dumping is illegal; if you choose to dump your mattress on the side of the road or in someone else’s dumpster, you could be fined. Burning a mattress can be extremely dangerous. If you burn a mattress, you are putting your own health and safety at risk. Burning a mattress also releases harmful toxins in the air that cause damage to the environment.
Can memory foam mattresses be recycled?
Yes, a memory foam mattress can be handled the same way as a standard mattress in terms of recycling. While it is true that the foam can’t be broken down into its original form just like Styrofoam cannot, it can be shredded up to be reused as another foam product like carseat padding, a memory foam pillow or mattress topper. So, while they are heavier and may be more of a nuisance to remove and transport, memory foam mattresses can and should still be recycled.
How is a mattress recycled?
At a recycling center, there is usually a conveyor belt that moves each mattress or box spring into a machine that cuts away all the soft materials such as the cotton and fabrics from the top, bottom, and sides. The process, as with all recycling processes, involves separating the different materials from each other. The metal pieces are collected using magnetically charged equipment. This filters out the soft fibrous materials which can then be shredded up and compacted into bales to be sent to another location where they can be cleaned and made into new products. Mattress manufacturers are finding many ways to utilize the recycled materials from old mattresses, turning waste problems into new products and giving the raw materials new life.
Do people buy used mattresses?
The general answer is yes…sometimes. There are several factors that determine whether someone will buy a used mattress or not. Of course, the condition is the first factor, and the price is the second. Sometimes people have a mattress in a guest bedroom that was hardly used, or the wrong item was shipped and they can’t return it. If the item is clean and in good condition and is priced right, usually 20-30% of the original price, then it may be snagged up right away by a savvy shopper.
What are the benefits of recycling mattresses?
The primary benefit to recycling a mattress is, of course, keeping this large bulky item out of our landfills. They take up an enormous amount of space and, even more importantly, around 80% – 90% of the materials can be recycled.
Wood can be turned into mulch, steel and metal is turned into scrap metal, which has countless options for being manufactured into new useful products like building materials.
The foam and plastics can be processed and turned into carpet padding. Soft materials like cotton will be processed and turned into products such as yarn, insulation, or other textiles.
In summary, the mattress is kept out of the landfill, and the materials are recycled, which means less is wasted, fewer raw materials need to be created to make new items, and it is overall much better for the environment.
How much does it cost to recycle a mattress?
This will depend upon which state or even the county you reside in. In California, for example, it is free to bring your old mattress to a designated recycling location. A fee is imposed on newly purchased mattresses to offset the costs involved in recycling. This is also true in several other states. If your state does not have a mattress recycling law in place, you can still recycle your mattress, but a small fee may be involved, which shouldn’t be greater than $25-$50 dollars.