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Mattress Disposal: What to Do When it's Time to Throw Out Your Old Mattress

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

When buying a new mattress, what you’re going to do with your old mattress is often an afterthought. The excitement of moving on from the rundown mattress that's causing you all that back pain for a fresh, new bed often overrides the reality that you have to properly dispose of the old one.

While it may seem trivial, in 2015 6.5 million mattresses were sold but only 879,000 were recycled. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint or reducing waste, this is bad news. Given their size, mattresses can take up a lot of space in landfills. If you are looking to avoid contributing to this problem, you have a few options.

Mattress Recycling

One of the best ways to get rid of that pesky old mattress is to recycle it. When it comes to the average mattress, about 90% of the materials can be easily recycled or repurposed. To make sure your mattress is properly recycled, you’ll need to do a bit of work.

However, antique mattress recycling is not as simple as tossing your mattress in the bin. To recycle your mattress, you must locate a recycling facility that accepts mattresses and follow their policies and guidelines. These facilities are not always easy to find, and you may have to do some research to find one in your area. Once you locate a facility, you will need to transport your mattress there. This can be a challenge, especially if you don't have access to a truck or large vehicle. Antique spring mattresses can be especially heavy, so don’t hesitate to contact a friend for help.

Additionally, you will need to find out what materials the recycling plant accepts. Not all facilities will accept all types of mattresses (especially if it uses older materials). Some facilities only accept certain sizes or materials. It's essential to do your research beforehand. You should also be prepared to pay a fee for recycling your mattress, as the cost of the process can be high.

DIY Mattress Recycling

If you have plenty of free time or you’re looking for a hands-on project, DIY recycling may be the right choice for you.

The first step in DIY antique mattress recycling is to disassemble the mattress into its individual components. Metal springs, foam, and fabric some of which can be worth while to antique collectors. This process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it can also be rewarding as you will be able to see the various materials that make up your older mattress. Once disassembled, you can separate the materials for recycling or repurposing.

One of the benefits of DIY mattress recycling is that you can sell some of the materials, like steel springs and any other metals, as scrap metal to a recycling center. This can help offset the cost of your time and effort. Other materials like foam can be reused for various projects, such as cushion stuffing or insulation.

Before starting this DIY project, it is important to do your research and ensure that you have the necessary tools and equipment. You will also need to find a recycling center or scrap yard that accepts the materials you have separated. It's essential to take safety precautions when working with sharp tools and heavy materials, such as wearing gloves, protective glasses. And as always with older materials (beds or not), not everything might be safe to inhale so working in a well-ventilated area is a requirement.

DIY mattress recycling can be a satisfying and eco-friendly project. It can also save you money by selling some of the materials for scrap. However, it requires significant effort and research, and it may not be suitable for everyone. Definitely do your own research before getting started on this project, but it may be well-worth your effort.

Repurposing Your Mattress

If the DIY option sounds appealing to you, another great choice can be repurposing. Mattresses are full of useful materials and even when it’s no longer fit for sleep these parts can serve other purposes just fine.

Parts like foam, padding and springs can be turned into anything from ornaments to padding for a pet’s bed. There are countless possibilities with these materials. If you’ve had experience with DIY repurposing projects, or you’re looking for a reason to get started, you might be able to achieve more with your mattress than you think.

When repurposing your mattress, not all antiques are made of the safe materials and requirements we use today. It's essential to take safety precautions and to ensure that the older materials you're using are suitable for the purpose you have in mind. For example, if you're using foam as cushioning for a pet bed, make sure that the foam is clean and free of any harmful chemicals.

Renting a Dumpster

Due to the size of mattresses, especially once you get into some of the larger sizes, you usually can’t just put them out with your weekly trash. This means you have to get rid of them and you have a few options. You can call your city sanitation service or go with a junk removal service, but if you want to do a massive cleanup, consider renting a dumpster. Some companies may also charge additional fees for overweight or hazardous materials. This is something to keep in mind with older bedding so be sure to read the rental agreement carefully.

You probably won’t want to rent a whole dumpster for a single mattress, odds are if you’re investing in a new mattress you also are considering a new bed. Maybe you’re doing a full-scale redo of your room or home. If this is the case, you’ll be working with a lot of waste. In this instance, dumpster rental can be the most convenient way to dispose of your mattress and all the other furniture and scrap you’re looking to discard.

Donating an Old Mattress

Maybe you’re not buying a new mattress because your current one is too rundown to use. Maybe you had the money to afford a size upgrade, maybe you moved in with a partner and had to upgrade to a larger size, whatever the reason, you don’t have to throw away a good mattress.

If your mattress is free of stains, burns, bed bugs, mold, or any other major damage odds are you can donate it to someone in need through local charities and organizations. There are also plenty of thrift stores and second-hand furniture stores who will buy your used furniture from you to be sold at a discount.

Responsible Mattress Disposal

Mattress technology is progressing every year. Plenty of companies are working on environmental-friendly solutions to waste produced by mattresses. However, if you are throwing out a traditional mattress, it’s worth taking the extra time to do it responsibly.

Keeping your mattress from becoming yet another in a landfill or making sure someone in need can get use out of it is easier than ever. The impact may seem small, but educating yourself on proper mattress disposal and making sure you do the most you can has an impact you may not see.

If your tattered old antique mattress is old enough, maybe a museum would want it. Otherwise, when it’s time for a new mattress for that antique bed, any of our mattresses can be made to fit.


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