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How to Dispose of a Mattress: A Complete Guide

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If you wake up with aches and pains or just can’t seem to sleep through the night, the solution to better rest may be a new mattress. Most mattresses have a life of anywhere from 8 to 10 years, depending on the type of mattress you have and how well you care for it. How can you tell if It’s time for a new mattress? If your mattress is lumpy or has visible (body-sized) craters or if you’re waking up feeling stiff or sore, those are signs that your mattress needs to go.

But once you’ve decided that it’s time for a new bed, how are you going to get rid of your old mattress?

Methods of Mattress Disposal

There are a few different ways you can dispose of your old mattress, depending on where you live and the condition of your old bed.

Mattress Donation

If your mattress is in decent condition, consider a donation—the ideal method of mattress disposal. Let’s talk numbers:

  • According to the Mattress Recycling Council, or MRC (and yes, that’s a real thing), between 15 and 20 million mattresses are thrown away every year.
  • There are more than half a million homeless (and bedless) people in the US.

But what do those two things have to do with one another? Your old mattress. If your mattress is still in decent condition, consider donating it.

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Many charities, nonprofits, and religious centers accept gently used mattresses. Some even offer in-home pickup and convenient drop-off locations. By donating your gently used mattress, you are providing a place to sleep for someone who wouldn’t otherwise have one. Plus, that’s one less mattress in the landfill or junkyard.

If you want to donate your mattress, check out the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Habitat for Humanity near you for more information. Local homeless shelters and churches often accept mattress donations, too, so reach out to see if they have a need.

You can also “donate” your old mattress to someone you know who may need a bed. Maybe your niece is going off to college or your neighbor’s kid is ready for a big-kid bed. If your mattress is in pretty good shape, it may be the perfect fit for someone else.

Mattress Recycling

Recycling your mattress is another great option if you’re ready to throw away your old mattress. Just like donating, it’s a win-win: you get rid of your mattress and it’s good for the environment.

Here are just a few more numbers:

  • Over just one year, mattresses and their accessories (box springs, foundations, etc.) contribute about 450 million pounds of waste to landfills and junkyards.
  • 80 to 90% of mattress parts can be recycled.

If your mattress can’t be donated, try recycling it. That way, your old bed doesn’t waste away in a landfill, which is harmful to the planet and can become a serious health risk (mattresses become home to rodents, insects, and bacteria).

How does that work? Is the entire mattress recycled? When you recycle your mattress, the steel springs, any foam, the fabric and the wood or metal are separated and recycled separately. Don’t worry, you don’t have to rip your mattress apart to recycle it. There are mattress recycling centers across the country that do this for you. There are hundreds of different services that assist in mattress recycling, so find the one closest to you for more information. Sites like ByeByeMattress.com and Earth911.com allow you to search for your local recycling centers.

Be aware that there is usually a recycling fee (usually anywhere between $10 to $40) when you go the recycling route with your old mattress. Although in the grand scheme of things, this is a relatively small price to pay for a more environmentally friendly way to get rid of your old bed. Not to mention, garbage removal fees are usually $100 or more.

Reusing Mattress Parts

If you’re feeling really crafty, you can repurpose your old mattress. Any steel in your mattress can be harvested and sold to your local scrapyard. They’ll usually pay about $10 for every 100 pounds of metal.

You can also repurpose the foam or padding from your old mattress into a seat cushion or throw pillow. Re-worked foam mattresses make great beds for your furry friend. Pinterest has thousands of crafts and projects that involve old mattress parts, so check it out if you need some inspiration.

If you’re going to unleash your inner crafter, make sure you’re careful. Innersprings and metal in mattresses can be sharp, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you start operating on your old bed.

Garbage Mattress Removal

If you’ve exhausted your other mattress disposal options, you can opt for garbage removal. Maybe your mattress is not in good enough condition to donate or you live too far away from a recycling center. Whatever the case, there are a few things you should do before you call your local junkyard. First, check the warranty on your old mattress. Reach out to the company and see if they have a program in place for old beds. Second, how much does your mattress weigh? Depending on what junk removal company you choose, you may have to pay by the weight of your mattress.

There are a few companies that offer junk removal, some operate nationwide and some only locally. These companies include Load Up, 1-800-Got-Junk, Junk King and Mattress Mill. Again, many of these companies charge a one-time removal fee.

When you’re ready to throw away your old bed, it’s not usually quite as simple as putting your mattress on the curb with your trash. In fact, in many states you can get fined for doing that. But some states will pick up old mattresses as bulk trash, so check with your local government on their laws regarding mattress disposal.

Things to Consider Before Disposing of a Mattress

If you know you’re ready to get rid of your current mattress, there are some important things to consider before you simply decide to dispose of the one that you have. You want to make sure that you make the decision that’s the best for the environment, as well as the one that’s most convenient—and most affordable—for you. Here are some of the most important things you should keep in mind when you are deciding how to dispose of a mattress so you can make room for a new one

Check your mattress warranty

Many mattress companies (though not all) offer warranties to customers who purchase mattresses from them. While every warranty differs, each one basically promises that a customer will be happy with their experience using or sleeping on the mattress—or they can get at least some of the money back from their original purchase.

Check the warranty that came with your mattress before you choose how you are going to dispose of it. If the manufacturers of your mattress offer a warranty and your mattress is still covered, you may be able to receive some money back for your mattress, and the company may have a process for helping you return it (i.e. they may send a team of movers to come to fetch the mattress from your apartment).

Checking your mattress warranty is smart when considering how to dispose of a mattress because it can not only provide you with funds to purchase a new mattress but can also greatly simplify the process of getting rid of the mattress you currently have.

Be environmentally conscious

It’s important these days to always consider the impact we are having on the environment around us. Disposing any piece of furniture or home goods by simply tossing it out often means that it will go into a landfill, which can end up either polluting the earth or helping to create larger and larger piles of discarded waste.

Consider ways to repurpose, donate, or sell a mattress before you simply throw it away. Each of these is a much more eco-friendly choice when you are considering how to dispose of a mattress. If you know that you have to throw your mattress away, consider looking into what it is made out of, and if parts (or all) of the mattress are recyclable. If your mattress has recyclable parts, consider disassembling it and recycling the parts that can be, so you are sending far less material to a landfill. If your entire mattress is recyclable, consider contacting the people in charge of your town’s recycling program to figure out the best way to get the mattress to a place where it can be recycled or reused.

Look up your state's policy

When you are deciding how to dispose of a mattress, it’s not just a decision you can make on your own. It’s important to look at your state’s policy for mattress disposal since many states DO have rules about what you can or can’t do when you’re getting rid of such a big piece of bedding. You want to make sure you comply with your state’s policy so you don’t break any laws/incur any fines–and, also, your state’s policy may give you guidance about the process, including what resources to use to get a large mattress out of your space or home.

Choosing a New Mattress

When you’re deciding what mattress is the right one for you, consider your lifestyle. First, consider what type of mattress you want? Do you prefer foam? Latex? Spring? Next, think about what size mattress is right for you. Do you sleep alone, or do you share your bed with a partner or furry friend? There are a lot of mattress choices out there, so check out our Mattress Buying Guide to help you get started.

FAQ

Where to dispose of a mattress?

Check with your town or local government to figure out where you can dispose of your mattress. There are usually local dumps or landfills where you can take your mattress, or there are rules about days that you can leave a mattress on a curb to be taken away by municipal sanitation workers. If your mattress is recyclable, look into recycling centers that can take the mattress.

How can I dispose of a mattress?

Disposing of a mattress can be tricky since there are many ways to do so—but also the mattress can be cumbersome and difficult. To dispose of your mattress, you can either return it to the company you bought it from if it’s under warranty, throw the mattress away, or recycle it. Alternatively, you may be able to donate it to a cause that could use it.

How much does mattress removal cost?

Mattress removal can range in price, and it all depends on where you are disposing of your mattress, and who you are planning to use to help you with mattress removal. Many times, mattress removal can be free.

Where can I take my mattress to be recycled?

Check with your local or municipal government to see if local recycling centers will take mattresses. Also, reach out to local recycling and upcycling organizations to see if they could use parts of your mattress.

What is a mattress recycling fee?

Recycling a mattress can take a lot of work. Some cities or towns charge people disposing of mattresses a fee to cover the cost of the work. They also charge this fee to discourage people from regularly disposing of mattresses, since they can be bad for the environment once they’re taken to a landfill.

How can I dispose of a mattress and box spring?

The same way that you can dispose of a mattress. Just make sure when you’re deciding how to dispose of your mattress, you also speak to whoever is helping you about including the box spring. There may be extra fees, or you may have to handle the box spring’s disposal separately if your mattress was still under warranty and can be returned. Many times, box springs are made of materials that are recyclable and can be brought to a recycling plant or center.