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.
If your mattress is in decent condition, consider 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. 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 junk yard.
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.
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 in 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—yuck!).
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 (they always loved snoozing on your bed anyways). 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.
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 do 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.