How to Responsibly Dispose of An Old Mattress

white bedspread on bed with pillows and bedside table - how to responsibly dispose of mattresses

No matter how comfortable they are when you first buy them, mattresses always have an end point to their lifespan. Over time, the mattress material can begin to break down, causing your sleeping spot to sag, develop lumps or just stop supporting you in the same way. 

You have a lot of options for mattress disposal, many of them far more responsible than simply putting it out by the curb. So before you begin searching for trash removal services, make sure you know what your options are.

Give It New Life

Homeless shelters, charities and other places like them will often accept old mattresses. While it may not be comfortable for you to use any longer, that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be of use to someone else. Call around to see if any charities, shelters or places like the Salvation Army are accepting mattresses. Some of these places may even come and pick it up for you, so you don’t need to worry about transport.

Just make sure that if you choose to try to donate your mattress that it’s clean. Do not donate a mattress with bed bugs, that has mold or that’s been contaminated with bodily fluids or E-waste. Mattresses in one of these conditions should be disposed of in other ways.

Recycle It

Many mattresses are actually recyclable. Cotton, metal springs and some types of foam can all be recycled, some at the dump and others by specific mattress recycling companies. You can also contact furniture stores; they sometimes have a list of mattress recycling options in your area. If you know your mattress has springs, you can sometimes remove the inner portion and take just this section to the recycling center or transfer station for recycling. The outer, cloth portion can go to a fabric recycler if it’s made of cotton or another easily recycled fabric. Beware of polyester and other plastic based covers, as these are not easily recycled and should be disposed of in other ways.

If you have one of the foam mattresses that cannot be recycled in normal ways, consider recycling it yourself by cutting it up to make pillows or cushions you can use elsewhere in the home. 

Once again, the condition of your mattress may also play a role in how easily it can be recycled. Mattresses in very poor condition or that have been contaminated in some way may not be eligible for recycling. Check with the recycling center to find out what they will accept. 

Dispose of It

damaged room with mattress - how to responsibly dispose of mattresses

If your mattress is in truly terrible condition and cannot be donated or recycled, you may have no choice but to dispose of it. You have a few methods for doing this.

You can haul it to the dump yourself. Some transfer stations may charge a fee for disposal, others may only have specific days of the month or year where you can take an item this large. Always call ahead to find out what the process is before you try loading it into your vehicle.

You can call junk hauling services to take it away for you as well. As long as it’s not harboring or growing anything, this is a good option if the mattress is too unwieldy for you to move yourself or if it cannot be donated or recycled.

If it’s infested with bedbugs, has mold growing on or in it or it’s been contaminated with some other from of E-waste, a junk removal service will likely not take it.

If this is the case, and you don’t want it in your vehicle for the same reasons, you could also consider a dumpster rental. In this instance, a company would bring a bin to your home and you could dispose of the mattress this way. This is also a good option if you happened to have been storing the old mattress with a lot of other old junk that you also need to dispose of but can’t donate or recycle. 

Dispose of Your Mattress Responsibly

Don’t simply toss your old mattress into a closet or basement when the time comes to get a new one. It’s possible to donate, recycle, or dispose of your old mattress in a responsible manner that may benefit others or the environment, or at the very least get it safely out of your home where it may be a hazard. Address your mattress disposal responsibly, and enjoy a good night’s sleep on its replacement. 

featured image: Burst; image 1: Wendelin Jacober

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