Mattress Disposal: How to Get Rid of Your Old Bed
Maybe you’ve decided it’s time and just purchased a new mattress. Or maybe you’re moving and all things must go. In either case, you have an old mattress that you no longer need, but figuring out what to do with it can be tricky.
There are a handful of methods of mattress disposal, and each has its own benefits and downsides. Depending on where you live and the condition of your old mattress, you’ll have different options available to you. In this guide, we’ll review each of these methods so that you know how to dispose of a mattress, including, when possible, how to dispose of a mattress for free. In each case, you’ll find a step-by-step description with guidance about how to handle this process as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Mattress Disposal Options
There are a few options available to those who are looking to get rid of an old mattress. However, many of these options come with unique challenges.
- Recycle: It would be ideal to recycle your mattress, but not all states have recycling facilities that will accept used mattresses.
- Donate: Many states also have restrictions on what can be donated. Oftentimes, used mattresses will not be accepted at many donations drop off stops.
- Throw Away: You can't simply drop your mattress in the dumpster. Many cities will refuse to take your item and may charge you a fine if you leave your mattress on the street or next to your trash can.
We will go in-depth on the possible solutions to these challenges below.
How to Recycle Your Mattress
Recycling is a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method of mattress disposal. For most mattresses, the large majority of materials — estimated at over 80% — can be recycled.
Recycling a Mattress: A Step-By-Step Summary
Step 1: Make sure your mattress is not stained, soaked, or bug-infested.
Step 2: Find a mattress recycling center here: https://byebyemattress.com/find-a-facility/. Be aware that not all states have recycling facilities, so this may not be an option for everyone.
Step 3: Contact a mattress recycling center to get answers to these questions:
What is the cost of mattress recycling?
Do they offer pickup services? If so, at what cost?
Step 4: Prepare the mattress for recycling according to instructions from the recycling center.
For more in-depth information about this process and finding a place to recycle your mattress, keep reading the section below.
The Logistics of Recycling Your Mattress
The eligibility for accepting a mattress for recycling varies by location, but in general, your mattress does not need to be in mint condition to be recycled. However, it usually cannot be badly stained or soiled (including water-logged mattresses) or ridden with bed bugs.
In most places, you can expect some costs associated with recycling a mattress. If you are able to deliver the mattress to the recycling center, there is normally a fee of $10-20. This covers the labor involved in breaking down and preparing the mattress for recycling. If you need the mattress to get picked up, you can expect to pay roughly double that amount ($20-40). Not all recycling centers offer pickup services, so it is important to contact a local recycler to get details on costs, hours, whether pickup is available, and the timeline for pickup.
Three states — California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island — have specific laws related to mattress recycling. In these states, a fee is charged at the point of sale for every new mattress, and this fee is used to support mattress recycling. As a result, each state also has locations where you can drop off a mattress for no-cost and can in fact receive a small rebate ($3 per mattress in California, $2 in Connecticut, and $1 in Rhode Island) if the mattress is brought directly to specific facilities for recycling. California law also requires mattress retailers to haul away an old mattress if you purchase a new one, but this does not apply to mattresses bought online and shipped via USPS, FedEx, UPS, or other delivery services. More detail on the specific mattress recycling policies in these states is available at https://byebyemattress.com/programs-by-state/.
For people in other states, the first step in recycling a mattress is to locate a local recycling center. You can find these using the following online tools:
The How of Mattress Recycling
In order to recycle a mattress, it has to be broken down into its individual parts. This starts by cutting the mattress open and separating out each type of material inside.
Softer materials like foam, cotton, and polyester are compressed for reuse in a host of consumer and industrial products including for padding, insulation, carpet, and textiles.
The metal, especially steel, that is extracted can be repurposed as scrap for reuse in building materials and other products. Wood products removed from the mattress can be pulverized for mulch or burned as a fuel source. Any remaining products that are not recyclable are disposed of, usually to a landfill.
How to Donate Your Mattress
Donating a Mattress: A Step-By-Step Summary
Step 1: Make sure your mattress is in good condition for donation with no obvious stains or broken components.
Step 2: Search for local charitable organizations at http://www.donationtown.org/ -pick-up.html, conduct an internet search, or check your local phone book for the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, or the Furniture Bank of North America.
Step 3: Contact organizations to ask if they accept mattress donations. If you cannot transport the mattress yourself, make sure to also ask if they offer a pickup service for donations.
Step 4: Donate your mattress and get a donation receipt.
For more details about this process and finding a place to donate your mattress, keep reading the section below.
The Logistics of Donating Your Mattress
One way that you can pay it forward when you get a new mattress is by donating your old one. While donating a mattress may seem simple on its face, the size and nature of mattresses make it a more complicated process than simply donating clothes or many other types of furniture.
First and foremost, you should only ever donate a mattress that is in good condition. It should be free of bugs, stains, and broken parts. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t give it to a friend or sleep on it yourself, you shouldn’t donate it to a stranger, either.
There are not usually any costs associated with mattress donation. This is especially true if you can deliver the mattress to a donation center. If the mattress has to be picked up from your home, it is possible some small fee would apply, but this is rare and would depend on where you live.
To set up a donation, you’ll need to identify a local organization that accepts mattresses. A number of large national organizations may accept furniture including mattresses; however, these organizations are made up of distinct local chapters. Each local chapter has its own policies about what types of items can be donated. As a result, it is essential to contact the local branch of these groups to inquire about donating your mattress. A few organizations that may have chapters in your area include:
- The Salvation Army: this well-known charity has corps locations throughout the U.S., and some of these offer mattress pickup for donation.
- Habitat for Humanity: this housing-focused organization accepts many types of furniture, though only some locations will accept mattresses.
- Furniture Bank Association of North America (FBANA): the goal of this organization is to provide furniture to people who are in need as a result of economic hardship or other life crises. Some local furniture banks will take mattresses for donation.
In addition to these national organizations, some independent local charities may accept your donation. You can try to identify these charities in the following ways:
- Using the directory provided by Donation Town at http://www.donationtown.org/donation-pick-up.html
- Conducting and internet search or looking in your local phone book
- Asking the company that you are getting your new mattress from if they have a listing of local charities that accept mattress donations.
How to Throw Away Your Mattress
In some circumstances, you may have no choice but to just junk your old mattress. If it’s in bad condition and not eligible for recycling or donating, trashing it may be the only option. No matter how many times you’ve seen other people do it it, just leaving your mattress on the side of the street is not an option. Don’t be that person. Instead, you can follow these basic steps to throwing your mattress away:
Step 1: Check with the original mattress seller or with the retailer from whom you are buying a new mattress just to confirm that no haul-away or disposal service is offered.
Step 2: Determine if you can transport the mattress yourself to a local dump or transfer station. If you can haul the mattress, check with your city government about costs associated with disposing of a mattress at the dump and the hours when the dump is open.
Step 3: If you can’t haul the mattress, get price quotes from junk hauling services. Make sure that the price you are quoted is an “all-in” price including any handling, service, tax, or other charges. The following are all large junk-hauling companies that you can contact for quotes:
Other ways of finding local junk removal and hauling companies include:
- Thumbtack, a website that works to connect residents to local service providers available at https://www.thumbtack.com/k/junk-removal/near-me/.
- Doing a simple internet search or looking for companies in the phone book
Step 4: Select a company to get your mattress and coordinate a pickup time and payment.
How to Repurpose Your Old Mattress
If you’re handy with tools and materials, you can cut out the middleman and repurpose your mattress yourself. In this section, we’ll provide a quick overview of this process followed by more detail about potential uses of mattress materials as well as links to resources that can help you break your mattress down.
Repurposing a Mattress: A Step-by-Step Summary
Step 1: Get prepared. Get your tools ready, put on sturdy gloves, and arrange receptacles for trash and other materials. Make sure you have plenty of space to work on the mattress.
Step 2: Cut around the exterior of the mattress cover so that the cover can be easily removed and set aside.
Step 3: Continue cutting out and removing layers while sorting the different materials that you remove.
Step 4: Organize and bundle the materials while disposing of any trash or waste products.
Step 5: Reuse or resell the different materials that you removed from the mattress.
The Logistics of Repurposing Your Old Mattress
The task of taking the mattress apart is relatively straightforward, and you can see a short primer video from DLX Willington. Just remember that there can be sharp objects — such as coils and nails — within the mattress, so use plenty of caution and take your time.
Once you’ve separated out the materials, there are a few different potential uses:
- Steel: you can sell off old steel, found mainly in the innerspring coils, as scrap metal. While it’s not immensely valuable, it can put a little bit of cash in your pocket. Purchasers can be found using an internet search or the phone book.
- Foam and latex: foams can be cut into smaller pieces or shredded up and used as padding or fill for cushions, pillows, pet beds, or blankets.
- Wood: any wood pieces can be cut up into smaller pieces for kindling.
- Decorative elements: things like buttons or adornments can be removed and kept for other DIY craft projects.
Benefits and Downsides of Repurposing Your Mattress
The benefit to repurposing a mattress in this way is that it likely removes the cost associated with recycling or junking the mattress. Instead, you may be able to make a few dollars from the scrap materials.
The downside to this DIY approach is that it can be time consuming and messy with little payoff. Taking apart the mattress requires a lot of space, and selling off individual parts takes time. Moreover, if you don’t have the right tools or experience, it could be dangerous.
Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Old Mattress
Repurposing an old mattress doesn’t have to mean turning all the materials into scrap to sell. Instead, you can upcycle your mattress by using the materials in a more creative, DIY way. Different materials can be used for art projects or to fashion new furniture or household items. Using the materials in your mattress, you next project just might go viral on Pinterest.
The following pages can give you ideas to help you get started on your upcycling project.
- Budget Dumpster: 5 Crafty Ways to Upcycle Your Old Mattress: This page gives 5 straightforward ways that you can use old mattress springs for cool-looking home decor projects.
- Pinterest: Find some inspiration by browsing a huge Pinterest archive photos of projects completed by others.
- Bob Vila: 7 New Projects for Your Old Bedsprings: This resource from a heavyweight in home improvement gives more ideas of how to put your old springs to use in a creative way.
- Art Architecture Designs: Top 24 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Bed Springs: It turns out that there are a lot of ways to use innerspring coils, and you can visit this page to see photos of different potential applications.
- Parents: Fun Foam Craft Projects for Kids: Check out this page to learn about how foam can be used as a raw material for all sorts of fun craft projects for children (or fun-loving adults!).
- Live Like You Are Rich: Memory Foam Table Toppers: The motion isolation from memory foam means it can used to make a handy table-topper. Check out this guide for design inspiration and instructions.
How to Resell Your Mattress
Some people find that they can sell their old mattress to recoup a portion of its original cost. If you want to go this route, follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather any information you have about the mattress brand, model, and size. If you are also selling a bed frame, make sure to get its full dimensions.
Step 2: Assess the mattress condition. At a minimum, it should be in “Fair” condition, though, if you want to get much value, it should be closer to “Like New.” The mattress should not have any obvious blemishes or support issues. It can also be useful to freshen it up by vacuuming or spot cleaning it according to manufacturer instructions.
Step 3: Choose a reasonable asking price. Most people are not going to shell out big money for a used mattress, so we generally recommend pricing your mattress to sell.
Step 4: Post an ad for your mattress on sites like Craigslist, Let Go, Facebook, Next Door, Offerup, or similar services with users in your area. In your ad, make sure to include the following information:
- All of the information gathered in step 1. If you can, provide a link to the manufacturer’s website with more details about the internal components of the mattress.
- An honest assessment of the mattress condition.
- Your asking price.
- Whether or not you are willing to deliver the mattress.
- At least two quality photographs of the mattress. One should be a wider shot, and the other should be an up-close photo.