Mattress Disposal Guide –
How to Get Rid of a Mattress [2020]

mattress disposal

Mattress disposal can be quite the challenge.  Especially if you’re unaware of the options available to you for donating or destroying your mattress.

You might be thinking “I’ll just put it out on my driveway on trash pick up day.”  But assuming your trash company even picks it up, it’s going to end up in the landfill which is not great for the environment.  

In this guide, we’ll show you how you can dispose, reuse, or repurpose your mattress in an eco-friendly way.  

What's In This Article?

Sadly, such unnecessary waste is devastating to the environment. We live in an age when so much is disposable, and sustainable living is more important than ever. 

So….how to get rid of a mattress?  That….is the question.

If your old mattress is in good condition, you would do better to donate or resell it.

If it is worn out, then recycling may be a better option.

How to Recycle an Old Mattress

4 mattress layers: old mattress donationThe eco-friendly option for mattress disposal is recycling your old mattress.

Since there are so many mattress companies and options, mattresses are made of varying kinds of materials, including wood, plastic, metal, wool, various foams and fabrics, and even animal hair. (Drake, the artist, even has a $300,000 mattress made of horse hair.) 

If you take these various mattress components apart, you can often recycle most or all of your mattress to build new products, sell to scrap, or simply add to your firewood pile.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of taking your old mattress apart, there are recycling facilities that dispose of old mattresses properly.

They break the mattress down into its recyclable components and organize them by type.

  1. Metal springs: after melting, the springs transform into new metal items, or they can be repurposed as new steel parts. Some of that steel can end up in renewable technology applications like wind turbines.
  2. Textile materials (like cotton or wool covers) can be used in the production of carpets.
  3. Foams undergo chemical treatments, and can become a component of organic fuel.
  4. Leftovers (like wood pieces or other unusable components) can be given to farmers to convert into energy, or biochar production facilities.

If you are thinking to go the recycling route, here are some ways to find a recycling center near you:

  • Earth 911. The program finds the closest recycling facilities based on your zip code.
  • Here’s a list of 100 recyclers to help you find the best option in your area.

Look for Bye Bye Mattresses. The organization collects a fee for every mattress that is sold, and uses the money to aid mattress recycling

How to Donate an Old Mattress

If your mattress is still in good shape, there are people in need who can benefit from a second-hand mattress. If you want to do a good deed, your mattress donation can help.

Here are a few things to have in mind if you are donating.

First, make sure the mattress is in decent condition. You obviously can’t donate  a mattress that has bedbugs. Also, the mattress should have a well-attached and clean cover (with minimal tears or rips and little to no stains).

Next, search for local branches of the following charity organizations: :

  • The Salvation Army. Not only do they accept old mattresses, but they sometimes offer free pick-ups, depending on the area.
  • Furniture Bank Network. This charity donates home furniture to families in financial struggle, and they do this all over the country. Their branches are a great place to drop off your old mattress in person. The FBN provides pick-up services, but only within a 15-20 miles radius of the local center nearest to you.
  • Habitat for Humanity International. They build houses of course, but they also will often furnish houses with donated items. Your old but usable mattress could serve a great purpose and help others in need.
  • Goodwill. The charity accepts only mattresses that are in new or like new condition. However, even if yours is worn out on the outside, it’s worth asking your local goodwill about donating components like  bedding, blankets, and pillows.
  • Vietnam Veterans of America collects donations of used mattresses and other furniture items, and they will pick up for free. The charity sells the old items. It helps war veterans with the money raised.
  • Donation Town: If you can’t find the mentioned charities on your own, visit this website. It can help you discover the nearest nonprofits that accept donations. With green thinking in mind, Donation Town will also help you schedules free pick-ups.
  • Consider local furniture stores, shelters, or churches if you live in an area where none of the above are available.

Check also: How to Clean A Mattress: The Ultimate Guide

How to Find Your Old Mattress a New Home

If donation options don’t work in your area, you can sometimes give your old mattress away for free. It might surprise you how many people can utilize a second-hand mattress, if it’s in good shape. 

  • What about a newly-wed friend, coworker or neighbor? 
  • Think of family members too – cousins, nephews, nieces, even older family? 
  • People on the Internet? More on that below.

How to Sell a Used Old Mattress

There’s a chance to earn a small profit from your old-used mattress. 

As long as it’s in decent shape, you may be able to resell it to someone on the lookout for cheaper furniture.

Put your mattress for sale on the web

Some online platforms and giveaway apps that can come in handy:

To get the best possible price for your used bed, post accurate photos of the mattress and arm yourself with patience. It’s likely you will get questions from potential buyers.

In addition to some of the above online sales locations, there are offline options as well to sell locally.

  • Prepare sales ads or fliers with photos of the mattress, information about its condition, and your contact number.
  • Distribute the fliers around your neighborhood. Some ideas for local places that may allow advertising are libraries, restaurants, cafes,  and community centers.

Keep in mind though that selling used mattresses is illegal in some states. Check your state’s laws regarding selling old mattresses, in order to avoid trouble with the law.

Hire a Professional For Mattress Pick up

What if no nearby organizations offer pick-up services, and dropping it off yourself is not an option?

Consider contacting a local mattress disposal service that sends trucks to transport your mattress to a charity, recycling location, a buyer’s address or etc. for a small fee.  We’ve covered some of the options above, but services like 1-800-GOT-JUNK will come and pick up pretty much anything.

Consider Mattress or Furniture Companies with Take-Back Programs

Some companies will offer the option that if you  purchase a new bed from them, they will come and collect it several years down the road, when you’re ready for a new mattress.  They do this in the hopes that your next mattress will also be purchased from them. 

This can be an easy and convenient way to dispose of your old mattress, if you feel confident that the company you’re buying from will still be in business several years down the road.This service usually carries an additional fee at the time you buy your bed, but is sometimes free..

Take the Mattress Apart and Get Crafty

What’s more environmentally-conscious than repurposing?

Equip yourself with the right tools, some patience, and get started.

According to zero waste thinker Antonia, you can turn the mattress into a fun DIY project. It’s can be time-consuming, but if you’re willing to work at it, it can also be worth it. For example, an old bed frame can become new again in numerous ways.

One way to go about this is to tear up the used mattress with a razor blade knife. Beware of sharp parts. Use protective eyewear and gloves to keep yourself safe.  If you want the maximum usage potential from the materials, do your best to find and cut along the seams where the fabric was initially sewn together.

Then, let creativity take its course:

  • Pet beds: Use the padding or foams from the bed.  Prepare a soft bed for your pet
  • Cushions:  Use the padding to stuff your favorite cushions to make them puffier.
  • Carpet Padding: Use the foam underneath carpet when laying new carpet.
  • Moving Padding: Use the foam when moving from one place to another to avoid scratches/dings on your furniture.
  • Packing material: Shipping something?  Use the foam from your old mattress.
  • Building insulation or noise insulation: If you want to dampen sound in a space, mattress foam can be a good option.  It can also be an option for building insulation, though you’ll want to check your local and federal laws around what can and can’t be used for insulation.
  • Sewing projects: Incorporate materials from the cover like buttons and fabric.
  • Upholstered furniture: Various kinds of furniture can be made from the clean parts of some mattress covers.
  • Art canvas: This could be an option for a mattress cover… as the medium for a charcoal drawing or painting.
  • Carpentry: There is a variety of carpentry ideas for the wood parts. You can make a bed for your pet, a kitchen cabinet, a cutting board, or just keep any wooden pieces as scrap material.
  • Wine Racks: If you’re a bit handy with pliers, the steel springs can become  a great holder and serve a second life as a rustic wine rack.
  • Outdoor furniture and decor: Decorate your outdoor space with unique pieces made from the springs or the bed frames.

There are countless ideas. Let your imagination go to work and see what you come up with. And when you come up with something fun, take pictures and video and share it with us and the world!.

wine rack from old bed spring coil

A wine rack made from old bed spring coils and wood

bed frame old pallets

A bed frame
made from old pallets

Moving truck packed with mattress foam

Use foam from an old mattress as padding when moving

Make Your Old Mattress Into a Compost Holder

compost bin made from old woodThe mattress itself won’t compost.  However, if you’re looking for another option, you could choose to make a compost frame from the wood and natural parts of the filling of the mattress.

Use the wooden parts of your mattress to construct the compost container.

Use the padding and mattress cover as a cover for your compost pile. This can help to keep the warmth in the compost pile and stimulate the bacterial process that takes place in a compost pile.

And if it’s built well, you can reuse the same compost bin over several seasons.

Some Final Thoughts About Disposing of An Old Mattress

Now that you know how to get rid of a mattress in a sustainable way, you are empowered with additional knowledge to help and protect the environment.

By remembering some of these ideas when you’re getting rid of your mattress, you can ensure your mattress stays out of the landfill.

By following these tips for responsible disposal, you can enjoy guilt-free sleep, and even get a longer term benefit from something that may have initially been an expensive purchase.

Want more? 

Learn how to choose the perfect mattress for you and your family.

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