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Mattress Disposal Guide

There comes a time in everyone's life when purchasing a new mattress is inevitable. In such a concentrated market, the search for the perfect mattress can become overwhelming quickly. Not only do you need to consider the type of mattress you want, price point, comfort level, and warranty availability, but you also have to figure out how to dispose of your old mattress. This is often the last thing on your mind during the process of finding the bigger, better, cleaner mattress of your dreams. Many people turn to tossing their mattress out on the curbside, unaware of the different options available to them for mattress disposal. In this guide, we outline a range of mattress disposal methods that may work for you.

When to Say Goodbye to Your Mattress

Experts have found that the average mattress has a lifespan of 7-8 years. However, this lifetime may vary depending on the type, the quality and the care of your mattress. For example, the average life of a memory foam mattress generally ranges from 5-8 years, while a traditional innerspring mattress can last up to 10 years. Remember, these averages are, also, dependent on how well your mattress is maintained over the years. BedInABox® mattresses tend to outlast these other mattresses, and are backed by a 10-20 year warranty to ensure their durability.

Other Signs You Need a New Mattress

In addition to the age of your mattress, there are other factors that can come into play when it may be time to get a new one. If any of the following apply, it might be time for a mattress upgrade:

  1. Body Aches
    1. You wake up feeling sore after a night's sleep
    2. You wake up in the middle of the night feeling achy or you wake up often to change sleep positions
    3. You notice new or worsening joint pain, neck pain, back pain, headaches, or other types of pain
  2. Lack of Sleep
    1. You're not getting as much sleep or rest anymore
    2. You notice excessive daytime fatigue or tiredness
    3. You find yourself needing to nap or nap more during the day in order to keep up
    4. You have a slower reaction time
    5. You experience more irritability or mood swings
  3. Sagging
    1. Your mattress foam or padding has softened and offers less support
    2. You have a hard time getting comfortable
    3. You notice that you sink into the mattress when sitting or lying down
  4. Wear & Tear
    1. There are rips and holes in the mattress
    2. There are stains on the mattress
    3. Areas of the mattress have begun to get lumpy
  5. Noisy Springs
    1. The springs in your mattress make noise when you move
    2. You can feel the coils of the springs
    3. Sounds wake you up when you or your partner moves

The signs from the list above all give a good indication of whether you should get rid of your old mattress. If you need to do that, then the question becomes: How do I go about disposing of my mattress?

The Environmental Impact of Mattress Disposals

Disposing of a mattress into a landfill has adverse effects on the environment. In America, an estimated 15 to 20 million mattresses are discarded as waste every year. This annual amount is equivalent to 132,000 square miles of landfill space. According to the Mattress Recycling Council, at least 75 percent of mattress materials can be recycled. When a mattress sits in a landfill, waste from the mattress seeps into the soil, potentially polluting the local water systems that provide clean water to people and animals alike. Mattresses also clog the landfills. A single mattress can take 80 to 120 years to decompose. In an effort to cut down on all of this waste, we want to encourage you to use alternative means of disposing. This can have devastating impacts on the natural ecosystem. Recycling your mattress will reduce your carbon footprint and promote sustainability within the mattress community. You'll find some helpful tips on how to do so below.

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Ways to Dispose of Your Mattress

Ways to dispose of your mattress

Donate Your Mattress

There are actually places where you can donate your mattress to a charity who supports those in need. Of course, before you do this you need to make sure that your mattress is in relatively good condition. The mattress shouldn’t be infested with bedbugs or mold, nor should it be wet or stained, etc. Really, when donating your mattress, use common sense to conclude whether or not it is in the condition to be given to someone else. Once you’ve decided to donate it, you can give it to the following:

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army: Not only do they accept mattress donations, but they also offer pick-up service. You can schedule a time for them to pick up your mattress from your location.
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat for Humanity: An organization that is dedicated to ensuring everyone has somewhere to call home. They do not offer pick-up service but they will accept mattress drop-offs.
Furniture Bank Association of America
Furniture Bank Association of America: This organization recycles home furnishings for free to people who need them. They do offer pick-up service for furniture including mattresses, but it is typically limited to a 15–20-mile radius. You may have to drop off your mattress for this particular organization.

These are just a few examples of organizations that accept mattress donations. You can always visit the Donation Town online database for other local places near you. It’s, also, important to note that homeless shelters and women’s and family shelters may accept gently used mattresses as well.

Recycle Your Mattress

Instead of leaving your old mattress for a landfill, you can always recycle it. In doing so, your old mattress can be repurposed into something new! Some states now require mattress recycling by law. The following services offer mattress recycling:

  1. Bye-Bye Mattress: This program specifically designated for mattress recycling is one of the best in the country and is dedicated to counteracting the effects of overflowing landfills in the U.S. They only offer their services in three states, but our BedInABox® team happily recommends this service when you are ready to dispose of your mattress.
  2. Earth 911: They offer a national search engine that can help you locate a recycling center that will accept mattresses near you.

There is typically a small recycling fee collected with each mattress or box spring that is recycled. This fee can range from $10 to $40 depending on your location and whether you arrange for a mattress pick-up or a drop-off.

Repurpose Your Mattress

Upcycling your mattress is a great way to give your mattress a second life and help reduce the carbon emissions that come from dumping old mattresses. Most mattress can be broken down for the individual parts, which can often be sold or re-used. Here are some examples of how your used mattress can be repurposed:

  1. Traditional mattresses often contains steel springs. This steel can be melted down and used for parts or the springs can be bundled together and sold for scrap.
  2. The foam found in memory foam mattresses can be shredded and repurposed for other furnishings such couches, chairs, carpet padding, pet bedding, and more.
  3. The wooden parts of box springs can be used as firewood, lawn mulch, or parts in other woodworking projects.

If you choose to break down your old mattress or box spring, please do so with caution! Innersprings or coils contain many sharp parts that can lead to injury. It’s advisable to watch a tutorial video before you take on such a project.

Resell Your Mattress

If donating, recycling or repurposing your mattress don’t seem like the most suitable options for you, you can always try reselling your old mattress if it is still in good shape. Online marketplaces are convenient resources that can help you resell your mattress locally, whether you are looking for a small cash return or if posting it online for free is just the easiest way for you to have it hauled. Two of the most frequently used sites for resale include Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

  • Craigslist is a free online advertising resource, making it a great place to post an ad offering your mattress for sale in your local area. Anyone interested parties can contact you directly through the website for an easy transaction.
  • Facebook is a great way to utilize your social media channels to find a taker for your mattress. Not only are you able to connect with your personal network to see if any friends or family are in need of a mattress, but you can also utilize Facebook Marketplace to post an image of your mattress and your asking price that will be visible to shoppers in your local area.

Mattress disposal may seem troublesome at first, but hopefully this guide provides a bit of insight into what disposal options are available. However, in the event that these options are not available in your area, you can always call for local junk removal. Junk removal companies are widely available and will attempt to recycle or donate your mattress on your behalf.

What Not to Do with Your Old Mattress

Recycling or repurposing a mattress is the best mattress disposal solution. With so many ways to do so, here’s what you should NOT to do with your old mattress:

  • Leave your mattress on the curb for the garbage truck to pick up
  • Drop it in a landfill
  • Illegally dump your mattress on a roadside, next to a dumpster, at a homeless shelter, etc.
  • Donate a mattress that is worn, stained, smelly, or infested with bed bugs or other pests

Regulatory Guidelines and Fines

Every state and local government has its own rules and regulations about mattress disposals. Make sure to check with local authorities and government agencies on how to lawfully dispose of your mattress. Moreover, most states have some form of ban on illegal dumping of trash, which means that an individual can be fined or otherwise punished for dumping trash outside the confines of designated landfill and recycling areas.

The Mattress Recycling Council houses programs in 3 states: California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Learn about their programs on their website, mattressrecyclingcouncil.org.

What About the Bed Frame?

Have an old bed frame you’re looking to replace? Here are a few ideas to help you get started with donating, repurposing, or disposing of your bed frame.

Repurposing Your Bed Frame

  1. Recycle
  2. Bed frames are made of many recyclable materials, such as wood, metal, and even plastic. However, they may not be recycled in your community, even if taken apart. If this is the case, consider donating any wooden parts to a lumber yard and any metal to a scrap metal yard.

  3. Repurpose
  4. If you’re feeling creative, try repurposing your bed frame. Some DIY ideas include building a new piece of furniture with parts from the bed frame or using scrap metal to build fences, flower beds, or outdoor chairs.

Disposing of Your Bed Frame

  1. Trash Disposal
  2. If your frame is beyond reuse, cannot be recycled, or has suffered extensive damage, you can leave it out for local trash pickup. Most curbside pickup companies will take it, but it’s a good idea to dismantle it beforehand and ask if your local waste removal company accepts bed frames.

  3. Junk Removal Services
  4. If you prefer not to leave your bed frame out for pickup but still feel that it can’t be reused or repurposed, you can use a junk removal service. Some junk removal services focus on keeping items out of the landfill as much as possible, so this may be a more eco-responsible way to dispose of your bed frame.

  5. Compost
  6. If your frame is made of wood, you can compost it instead of throwing it in the trash or utilizing a junk removal service. Just make sure to strip it of all finish and paint before doing so.

  7. Donate or Sell
  8. If your bed frame is still in good condition, consider donating or selling it. Several organizations, such as the National Furniture Bank Association, Habitat for Humanity, or local shelters, accept bed frames. If you choose to donate or sell it, make sure you inspect it for any broken parts, scratches, or bed bugs.

While bed frames should be disposed of differently than mattresses, there are many ways to recycle or repurpose them in order to keep them out of the trash. If you are considering purchasing a new bed frame, adjustable bases are a more modern and versatile alternative to the traditional bed frame. They have been proven to help ease health issues such as asthma, sleep apnea, acid reflux, swollen joints, and back pain, among others. Adjustable bed frames are a great option to consider if you plan to throw away, compost, recycle, or repurpose your current bed frame.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can mattresses be recycled?

Yes, mattresses can be recycled. Recycling is actually the preferred method of mattress disposal. Some states now have laws that require mattress recycling. There are various services that offer mattress recycling, however, most of them have a small collection fee for your mattress or foundation.

Can I take a mattress to my local recycling center?

Yes, you can take your mattress to your local recycling center. There may be a small recycling fee based on your location, but recycling remains the best option for old mattresses. A quick web search should direct you to resources that can help you locate a local recycling center that will accept mattresses.

Will my trash company haul away my old mattress?

Generally no, your trash pick up will not take an old mattress. Because mattresses are large, bulky, and often require multiple people to move them, they usually will not be picked up by regular trash services. You would need to call your local trash service to see if they are able to do special or bulk pick-ups. We always recommend recycling or donating your old mattress. Doing so helps cut down on unnecessary landfill waste.

How do I know I’m ready for a new mattress?

There are several factors which indicate that you may be ready to buy a new mattress: if your mattress is older than 8-10 years and is showing clear signs of wear and tear (such as sagging, rips, or stains); if you experience pain or soreness while sleeping or when you wake up; if you hear the springs of your mattress creaking; or if you have trouble sleeping or wake up feeling fatigued.

Can I donate my used mattress?

Certain places will accept used mattresses if they are in good condition, i.e., without mold, bed bugs, sagging, etc. Some places which accept donated mattresses include the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. Be sure to call or check their websites in advance to confirm that they will accept your mattress and to coordinate pick up or drop off.

How do I know if my state recycles mattresses?

Mattresses are meant to be recycled, and many states have actually banned mattresses from disposal. However, every state or even town may recycle mattresses differently. You can check out your state’s Department of Environmental Protection website, waste and recycling website, or a similar and reputable .gov website for more information on their mattress recycling programs. Alternatively, Bye Bye Mattress is available in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and their website also lists mattress recycling companies and programs across all 50 states.

Can I recycle my pillow?

Most curbside recycling programs do not accept pillows, and there are few other options when it comes to recycling them. Pillows are not as easily recycled as mattresses, but there are still ways to keep them out of landfills and reduce your carbon footprint. Donating, repurposing, or downcycling your pillows are all eco-conscious ways to recycle them. Organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army do not accept used pillows, but homeless shelters or animal shelters may be able to make good use of them. In addition, some pillow materials, such as down feathers, are compostable. Check out organizations like Earth 911 and TerraCycle for more information and to see if you can recycle your pillows locally.

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