How to Dispose of a Mattress

After nearly a decade of use, your mattress is finally on its last legs and you’re shopping for a new one. Though it may be difficult to say goodbye to such an old friend, it’s time to move on to something newer, comfier, and more supportive.

As you start shopping for a new mattress, however, you’re plagued by this question: how do I handle my old mattress disposal? Read on to learn about the options.

Before Your Mattress Disposal

Every year, the United States disposes of 18.2 million mattresses, many of which end up in landfills. Whether you’re a tree hugger or not, you should take the time to make sure you’re disposing of your mattress properly. Leaving it by the curb on garbage day might not work and few people can be bothered to transport an old mattress to the dump themselves, so what do you do?

Before you start stressing about what to do with your mattress, consider these options:

  • Check your mattress’s warranty.
  • Research your state’s policies.
  • Talk to your mattress store.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get rid of your old mattress at the same time your new mattress is delivered. Unfortunately, if you’re just looking to offload an old mattress and you’re not immediately replacing it, your options may be somewhat limited.

What To Do with an Old Mattress

When it comes to getting rid of an old mattress, there are a variety of options out there. None may be as simple as just tossing the mattress into the dumpster behind your apartment building or leaving it on the curb, but they are much more responsible and eco-friendlier. Here are four options to consider.

Option 1: Resell It

If your mattress is still in decent shape, there’s no reason you can resell it or give it away. Mattresses are expensive and people are always on the lookout for affordable options – you may be able to find someone who’s willing to accept a mattress that’s a little older for the sake of saving money. If you’re lucky, you may even find someone who’s willing to pick it up from you.

Option 2: Recycle It

You may be surprised to learn that many of the materials used in modern mattresses are recyclable – up to 80%, according to the Mattress Recycling Council. The first step is to do a quick Google search using your zip code to find out if there are any local mattress recycling services near you. In many cases, these services will pick the mattress up for a small fee (generally under $50).

Here are a few other recycling resources to try:

  • Bye Bye Mattress – This is an online aggregator run by the Mattress Recycling Council and it offers resources on how to find local recycling programs.
  • Earth911 – One of the world’s largest databases for recycling centers, this online resource is a great place to look for local recycling services.
  • City Services – As a last resort, you can try contacting your city’s municipal offices that run the trash and recycling programs to see if they have a program.

If you can’t find a service that will take your mattress for recycling, you can always break it down and recycling the pieces yourself. It may take a little extra effort, but it’s better than seeing your old mattress end up in a landfill with thousands of others.

Option 3: Repurpose It

If recycling the mattress isn’t an option and you’re in the position of breaking it down anyway, why not see if you can repurpose some of the pieces? Steel parts and springs can be sold to local scrap yards while wooden parts can be used in a wide variety of projects. Fabric, foams, and cotton padding are great for arts and craft projects as well – you just need a little creativity.

Option 4: Donate It

Another option for mattresses that are still in decent shape is donation. Many local charities accept mattresses and some will even pick them up from you.

Here are a few places to check:

  • Habitat for Humanity – This well-known charity runs a chain of thrift stores called ReStore which often accept mattress donations and may even offer pickup.
  • Salvation Army – In many locations, Salvation Army stores offer free local pickup. If not, you may be able to drop your mattress off.
  • Goodwill – With over 160 locations across the United States, Goodwill stores will often take mattresses as donations if they are in good condition.
  • Catholic Charities – Many catholic charities run homeless shelters and housing programs that are always in need of mattresses.
  • Furniture Bank of America – This program provides used furniture to impoverished communities at little to no cost and they may take used mattress donations.

If you’ve exhausted all the options above and none of them has worked, you may be left with a single option: throwing the mattress away. Even if this is the only option available to you, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Read on to learn more.

How to Throw Away an Old Mattress

In some areas, garbage services will take just about anything from furniture to heaps of boxes to old, unwanted mattresses. While some cities may allow you to leave large items by the curb, others don’t, and you could incur a hefty fine for doing it. Before you drive around looking for a dumpster to appropriate, look into some other options.

Here are a few options for throwing out an old mattress:

  • Local Waste Disposal Services – Even if your local waste disposal service won’t take a mattress off the curb, you may be able to call and schedule a pickup. Some services charge a fee for picking up large items, but it may be your best option.
  • Load Up – With branches in all 50 states, Load Up is a junk removal service that takes all kinds of junk and bulk items – they even accept mattresses with bed bugs, given prior notice.
  • 1-800-Got-Junk – Another junk removal service, 1-800-Got-Junk will come and pick up your mattress from you. Just be aware that they do NOT take mattresses with bed bugs.

Throwing away a mattress should be your last resort but, if you have no other options, there are responsible ways to do it. If you have an old mattress on your hands that you’re looking to get rid of, go through the four options listed above first.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to wrap a mattress in plastic to throw it away?

It depends. Many local waste management services require that mattresses be wrapped in plastic before disposal. To avoid a fine, double check that your local service even takes mattresses and determine whether you need to wrap it in plastic before throwing it out.

How long does a mattress last?

Most mattresses last between 7 and 10 years with proper care and maintenance. If your mattress is getting up in years, you may want to start shopping around so you can take advantage of deals. Be sure to ask your new mattress company if they offer mattress removal services as well.

Should I remove the plastic film from a new mattress?

It may seem like leaving the plastic on provides an extra layer of protection for a new mattress, but you really want to remove it once the mattress is in place. Mattress protectors are designed to protect against stains, but they still enable the mattress to breathe – plastic does not. Keeping the plastic on could negatively affect the life of your mattress.

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