Disposing of a mattress can be challenging, especially if you want to do it responsibly. Dumping it in a landfill contributes to environmental pollution and waste. Around 18.2 million mattresses were thrown away in the United States, with more than 50,000 mattresses discarded daily.
In this article, we will provide valuable insights and expert advice on what to do with an old mattress and how to dispose of a mattress responsibly while being kind to the environment.
5 Different Ways to Dispose of a Mattress
Some eco-friendly options include recycling, donating, reselling, repurposing, or disposing of it properly. Let’s have a look at each of them:
Option 1: Recycle it
Recycling a mattress is one of the most environmentally-friendly options. It involves breaking down the components of the mattress and reusing them to create new products. Here are the steps to recycle your mattress:
- Find a Recycling Center: Look for a local recycling center or a waste management facility that accepts mattresses, i.e., Earth911, Bye Bye Mattress, and City resources. They have the expertise and equipment to recycle various materials.
- Prepare the Mattress: Before recycling, clean the mattress thoroughly and remove any bedding, pillows, and mattress protectors.
- Drop-off or Arrange Pickup: Transport the mattress to the recycling center or arrange a pickup service if available.
- Separate Components: At the recycling center, they will dismantle the bed into its different components, such as foam, fabric, metal springs, and wood.
- Repurpose or Recycle: Each component will undergo the appropriate recycling or repurposing process to create new products or materials.
Recycling your mattress reduces waste, conserves valuable resources, and supports a circular economy.
Option 2: Donate it
Donating a mattress can be a great way to help someone in need while keeping it out of the landfill. Here’s how you can donate your bed:
- Check for Acceptance: Not all donation centers or charities accept mattresses, so contact local organizations or shelters beforehand to ensure they can take them.
- Evaluate the Mattress: Ensure the mattress is in good condition and free from stains, odors, and damage. Mattresses in better condition are more likely to be accepted.
- Find a Local Charity: Look for local charities, shelters, or organizations that support needy families, i-e, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Catholic Charities, Furniture Bank Association of America, and Donation Town. They may be willing to accept your donation.
- Arrange Pickup or Delivery: Some organizations offer pickup services, while others may require you to drop off the mattress at their location.
- Get a Tax Deduction: Depending on your country’s tax regulations, you may be eligible for a tax deduction for donating the mattress.
Donating a mattress provides comfort to someone less fortunate, reduces waste, and promotes community support.
Option 3: Resell It or Give It Away
If your mattress is still in good condition and you don’t want to keep it, consider reselling it or giving it away to someone who needs it. Follow these steps:
- Clean and Sanitize: Thoroughly clean and sanitize the mattress to ensure it’s in excellent condition for the new owner.
- Use Online Marketplaces: List your mattress on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or local buy-and-sell groups.
- Offer for Free: If you wish to give it away, advertise the mattress as a free item on the same platforms to find a new owner quickly.
- Ensure Safe Exchange: When meeting potential buyers, prioritize safety. Meet in a public place during daylight hours, and consider having someone accompany you.
- Share the Story: If the mattress holds sentimental value, sharing its story might add appeal to potential buyers.
Reselling or giving away your mattress helps reduce waste and extends its useful life while benefiting others in need.
Option 4: Repurpose it
Repurposing a mattress can be a creative and sustainable option for those with a DIY recycling spirit. Here are some ideas for repurposing your old mattress:
- Garden Projects: Use the springs as trellises or garden bed frames and the foam as mulch or for composting.
- Pet Beds: Transform the mattress into a comfortable bed for furry friends.
- Furniture Components: Salvage wooden parts from the frame to create unique furniture pieces.
- Art and Craft Projects: Use fabric and foam for various art and craft projects.
- Donate to Artisans: Reach out to local artisans or crafters who might find value in reusing the materials.
Repurposing your mattress not only sparks creativity but also reduces waste and extends the life of the materials.
Option 5: Throw It Away
Disposal may be the last resort if none of the above options are viable due to the mattress’s condition. However, it is essential to do it responsibly. Follow these steps:
- Check Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local disposal regulations, as some areas have specific rules for mattress disposal.
- Use a Mattress Disposal Service: Hire a professional mattress disposal service that handles the mattress correctly.
- Landfill Drop-off: If permitted, take the mattress to a landfill that accepts bulky items.
- Consider Curbside Pickup: Some waste management services offer curbside pickup for large items like mattresses.
- Seek Eco-friendly Options: Look for disposal services that prioritize recycling and eco-friendly practices.
Although throwing away a mattress should be the last resort, using responsible disposal minimizes its environmental impact.
Disposing of a mattress responsibly reduces waste and minimizes our environmental footprint.
This article explored five eco-friendly options: Recycling, Donating, Reselling, Repurposing, and Disposal. Each method has unique benefits, and choosing the right one depends on the mattress’s condition and your preferences.
By taking the time to dispose of your mattress correctly, you contribute to a greener planet, extend the useful life of its materials, and benefit those in need. So, let’s positively impact our environment by choosing responsible mattress disposal methods.
Can I recycle a mattress myself?
Yes, you can cut down the mattress and box spring and recycle the parts. If you have time, room, and tools, you can easily break down your mattress into recyclable bits, which some recycling sites may take instead of full mattresses.
Can I donate a used mattress to a charity?
Yes, the Salvation Army offers many local sites that take mattress donations, and you may schedule a vehicle to pick up your old mattress. The global organization Habitat for Humanity works to provide safe homes for all.
What materials from the mattress can be recycled?
Mattresses include various recyclable materials, such as foam, fabric, metal springs, and wood. Recyclers can save 80–95% of the materials for recycling or reuse when recycling mattresses and box springs.
Can I repurpose a worn-out mattress for indoor use?
Repurposing a worn-out mattress for indoor use is not recommended due to hygiene and health concerns. However, you can explore creative outdoor projects or use the materials in craft projects.
How long does it take for a mattress to decompose in a landfill?
In landfills, mattresses can occupy up to 800 million cubic feet of space and take up to 120 years to degrade.
Are there any eco-friendly mattress disposal services?
The statewide mattress recycling company, A Bedder World, solves the global mattress disposal problem locally. Local governments, corporations, and charities help them responsibly recycle unwanted mattresses and box springs.