When a light bulb breaks, it only takes a few minutes to replace it. When a t-shirt rips, you just throw it away and put on a new one. But when your mattress is too old or broken, how do you get rid of it?
There’s no fitting your mattress in the trash can! Instead, disposing of an old mattress requires a little bit more planning in advance. You have a few options available to you if you know where to look.
Whether you’re searching for the most eco-friendly way to get rid of a mattress, or just need an answer quickly so you can get the job done, you’ll find the solution here.
The first thing to do when your mattress breaks or has reached the end of its life… is to search for a new one! Make sure you find your new mattress before you get rid of your old one. There may be a week-long delivery wait, or your new mattress might need several days to expand after removing it from the box.
Quite a few online mattress companies will take your old mattress away when they deliver the new one. It saves you the trouble of hauling the mattress to the dump yourself. Mattress companies that have removal services include:
Before you get ahead of yourself and buy a new mattress, you should first double check that your old mattress should be replaced. These are some key signs that your mattress is too old or damaged:
Your mattress is obviously damaged, broken, or ripped beyond repair.
You wake up feeling unrested or achy with back pain.
You find yourself falling asleep in chairs because they’re more comfortable than your bed.
Your mattress squeaks and is notably noisier than it used to be.
Your mattress sags at the edges when you lay close to them or in the center.
There’s visible body imprint signs and dents in your mattress that don’t fade when not in use.
It smells moldy or mildewy
These all show that your mattress is too old and can no longer function as a healthy mattress. If it doesn’t help you get a good nights sleep, the mattress should be thrown away even if it looks fine!
Besides tears, rips, and stains, there are other signs that could mean your mattress needs replacing even if it still feels comfy. These are also times you should throw away a mattress. Most guidelines suggest that you should replace your mattress after 8 years – even though some mattress types will last far longer. This is because over time your body changes. You might gain or lose weight, grow taller, become weaker or stronger, or just change your sleeping position.
If you’ve changed, your mattress might need to as well.
Assessing Mattress Damage
Not all mattress damage means you need a new mattress. Rips to the fabric cover can be sewn up and sagging could just be a sign that the bed frame is broken. For foam mattresses, it may just be the top layer of foam that’s too worn down – in which case, a mattress topper is a cheaper and more affordable way to extend the life of your bed.
Old Mattress Disposal Methods
There are 4 ways to dispose of your mattress. Follow this checklist, working your way down until you find the method that’s right for you. It all depends on your mattress type, goals and what’s available in your local area.
Donate your mattress to charity
Let your new mattress deliverers take the old one away
Recycle your mattress
Send your mattress to the landfill
In each circumstance, there might be fees involved especially if you want the mattress picked up directly from your home. Although some garbage companies allow customers to dispose of a limited quantity of bulk items on the curb without charge. There’s more information about each method type below…
Mattresses are designed to last. We spend 1/3 of our life in bed, so mattress manufacturers have created very sturdy long-lasting designs. That’s great for us, but not great for the environment. A mattress can last for decades in a landfill site.
Recycling your mattress is the best way to get rid of it. But it’s not always possible. Some foam mattress types cannot be recycled because of how the layers are fused together. Others can be recycled very easily just by taking it to the nearest recycling center.
There are mattress recycling centers across the country, so it’s worth giving them a call to find out what your options are!
Can My Mattress be Recycled?
Innerspring mattresses– the metal springs inside your mattress are easy to recycle and will be accepted at any recycling center. The textiles can also be recycled. The padding that surrounds the springs inside the mattress depends. If it’s an organic type stuffing like wool, recycling will be easy. If it’s a foam or special type of padding structure (like Purple’s mattress), you might have more trouble.
Foam mattresses – finding recycling centers that will take foam is possible but not always easy. First, find out exactly what type of foam you are dealing with. Memory foam, polyurethane, etc. If you can’t find a recycling center that will accept the specific foam, they can be reused for stuffing other furniture or even loft insulation.
Latex mattresses – like foam, latex can be recycled but not all recycling centers will take it. Luckily, it really doesn’t matter much as latex is completely biodegradable. Even if it does end up at the landfill, it won’t be polluting the environment for decades. Latex is the most eco-friendly mattress type.
Hybrid mattresses– hybrid mattresses can be recycled by specialist mattress recyclers. They will strip the hybrid mattress down into its layers of foam, springs, latex and more… for a price! Depending on the mattress you have, it may be cheaper to strip the mattress apart at home and recycle the parts individually.
How to Recycle Your Mattress
Specialist mattress recycling centers will take care of all the work for you. Examples are:
Bye Bye Mattress is operated by the Mattress Recycling Council and operates in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
IKEA has mattress and furniture removal services when they deliver new furniture to you!
Donating your mattress is a kind and generous thing to do. But before you do it, make sure your mattress is in good condition.
Passing it down to family and friends is only good if the mattress is still strong enough to hold shape and provide a good nights sleep AND is suitable for their sleeping position.
There are also many charities that will take a mattress off your hands if it’s in good condition. In most cases, you’ll need to take the mattress to them rather than having it picked up.
Can My Mattress be Donated?
For a mattress to be accepted by a charity it should be:
Unstained, unmarked and clean.
In good condition with no rips or dents.
Able to provide a good nights sleep with support (no sagging).
Delivered to the proper place.
Don’t just leave the mattress on the charity’s front door. Some will have furniture centers and collection points where it needs to be assessed and recorded.
Charities can then donate the mattress to people who sorely need one, or sell it for money that they will use for their cause.
Where to Donate Your Mattress
Charities that will accept a mattress across the states include:
Habitat for Humanity International
Local Furniture Banks
You can also use DonationTown.org to help you locate a charity near you that will accept the mattress.
Over 50,000 mattresses head to landfills in the USA every day. They are large, bulky, and take a very long time to decompose. They are terrible candidates to send to landfill! This should really be your final option, if it cannot be recycled, no charity will take it and no one else has any use for the broken-down materials.
Even if 90% of your mattress cannot be recycled, we urge you to take out the 10% of recyclable material yourself. Those little things add up and help keep material out of our landfill.
The material covers, springs and latex layers can be recycled. Other parts can be reused.
Should I Send My Mattress to Landfill?
Latex mattresses can go to landfill and decompose very quickly – although the specialist mattress removal services and recycling centers might be happy to have it too.
As mentioned, only send your mattress to landfill if it’s the only option. If your mattress is damaged beyond repair or very very very old and is made from materials that are no longer used/recycled, it could be your only option.
How to Dispose of Your Mattress
To send your mattress or mattress components to landfill, they can be taken away by the garbage collectors if they fit in your trash can. Check with the local authorities if they’ll collect a mattress placed beside the bins – most will not.
So, you can take it to the nearest dump yourself or call a general mattress removal service who will take care of it for you.
Getting Rid of Your Mattress? 5 Things NOT to Do
If you’re considering a path not mentioned in this guide to mattress disposal, stop! There are things you really shouldn’t do with your old mattress, no matter how tempting they are. Be sensible and use one of our tested, reliable and easy methods above. Under no circumstances should you…
1. Fly Dumping
This is where you sneak out to a deserted neighborhood or rural area… and dump your mattress by the side of the road! Not only are there fines and penalties for fly dumping if you are caught, but old rotting mattresses are bad for the environment too.
2. Leave It in The Front Yard/Garage
While fly dumping on your own land isn’t exactly illegal… it’s not pretty either. It attracts pests, can start to get moldy, smell (especially latex/foam in hot weather), take up space and be unpleasant for your neighbors. Did you know that some people will set it on fire too if it’s just left out the front of your house? Yep, that’s a real thing!
3. Take Broken Mattresses to A Charity Store
A mattress hit and run! If your mattress isn’t in good condition to be donated (it’s ripped, broken, stained, or too worn) then don’t just leave it by the charity or pretend it’s in good shape and run away before they realize. It costs charities money and time to dispose of your old mattress for you.
4. Pass It Down
Just because it was an excellent mattress for your first-born child, doesn’t mean it’s right for the second! Passing down mattresses rarely works as everyone, even kids, have different sleeping positions. A soft spongey foam mattress will be great for a side sleeper, but a back sleeper could hate it.
5. Trust the Cheapest Mattress Disposal Service
Cheapest is not always the best. Do your homework on the service you use to dispose of your mattress. Where do they take the mattress? Are they going to charge you extra fees at the last minute? Does the mattress already need to be outside for pickup?
Mattress Disposal – A Weight Off Your Mind!
There are plenty of people willing to take a mattress off your hands if you know where to look! There’s really no excuse for leaving it to rot in the backyard. We sincerely hope you choose to recycle or donate your mattress and do your bit to protect our planet and keep mattresses out of the landfill. Not everyone is as fortunate as you are, not everyone has the luxury of choosing a new mattress. So, do the right thing with your old mattress and take a moment to feel grateful for your new one!