Mattress disposal is often the last thing on the minds of people caught up in the research and decisions involved in buying a new mattress. They likely have no idea how to get rid of a mattress, believing it be simply a matter of getting it uplifted and taken away for landfill. In fact, the landfill is not a good way of disposing of a mattress.
Many mattresses, particularly spring mattresses, have a lot of empty space in them that can contain dangerous gas pockets. They are also very bulky and take up a lot of space for their size. As they degrade over time mattresses can lead to many different kinds of problems, particularly if the landfill area is later used for building. According to the Mattress Recycling Council in the USA, more than 50,000 mattresses are disposed of to landfills in the USA every day!
As the demand for building space increases, closed landfills are being targeted by developers for a number of purposes. Some are even being used as building sites: check out this reference on the Green Building Advisor website.
So, if the landfill is not a good mattress disposal option, the question you may have is what to do with an old mattress without breaking any laws and without it costing you too much? Here are 10 mattress disposal suggestions, not all of which may be possible in your situation – but you are sure to find one that works for you.
10 Easy Ways How to Get Rid of a Mattress
Let’s see the 10 best ways.
1. Ask When You Buy Your New Mattress
When you buy your new mattress, ask the retailer what they can recommend regarding the disposal of your old mattress. You should state this as an issue for you before you make the purchase. You might find the vendor more willing to help if you ask before you buy than after you have paid.
They might offer to take it away for you when the new one is delivered. This is possible but unlikely. It is more likely that they have contacts that will do this for your – for a reasonable price. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
2. Local Authority Waste Disposal
Contact your local authority waste or garbage disposal department. Some may offer a collection of any bulky items for a fee. Each authority is autonomous in this respect, so you may or may not be lucky.
3. Local Mattress Recycling Service
In addition to garbage disposal, some countries or states may operate a mattress recycling program, such as Bye Bye Mattress operated by the Mattress Recycling Council in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in the USA. If you live in one of these states in the USA, then check out your nearest mattress recycling facility or mattress collection site using their mattress recycling locator.
If you live elsewhere in the USA, or in any other country, then you should check for similar facilities close to you. Simply Google “Mattress Recycling my area” replacing my area with the country or area where you live. You can then find out if there are any similar services close to where you live.
4. Sell Your Old Mattress
If your old mattress is still in good condition then sell it! Have it professionally cleaned and you may be able to sell it on a site such as eBay, Gumtree or some other online auction or small ads website. Don’t expect to make much money on it – the objective is to rid yourself of it. You could even offer it free for collection.
As an example, on eBay, you could place the lowest permitted price on it for collection only – or state a delivery cost that the buyer must pay. That’s how to get rid of a mattress without it costing you a penny, assuming that somebody wants it. Make sure you get it cleaned professionally and provide a photograph. Without a photo and detailed description of the mattress type (memory foam, box spring, etc) you are extremely unlikely to get a buyer.
5. Donate It
There are several ways of donating an old mattress. Keep in mind that old mattresses can double their weight after about 10 years of use due to accumulations of dust mites, dead skin cells, perspiration, and bacteria. Charities may be reluctant to take them because of this. You will increase your chance of acceptance if you have it professionally cleaned so it at least looks clean.
The Salvation Army might take it, or even local charity stores or organizations. They may even collect it for free. The newer and cleaner-looking the mattress, the more likely (or less unlikely) they will be to accept the donation. You could even try local churches – they sometimes take items of bedding for use in shelters and similar places.
6. Offer the Mattress to an Animal Rescue Organization
Animal rescue organizations will often accept mattresses that are in reasonable condition. Most rescue centers may welcome them as beds for their rescue animals awaiting adoption. Even if it has slightly visible staining, call any local rescue center close to you and ask. If they are fairly close to you they may collect your mattress free or for a small administration/transportation fee.
7. Hire a Skip or Dumpster
You can hire a skip or dumpster that takes any type of rubbish other than car batteries or any other items that must be disposed of in a regulated way. This is obviously a very expensive way of how to dispose a mattress, but if you also have a load of other items to clear out then you can include your mattress along with them.
8. Use Your Mattress to Create a Compost Heap
Of the many mattress disposal techniques we have discussed, none has referred to the use to which the mattress materials can be put – or the structure of a bed if that is also being replaced. If you are disposing of an entire bed, the frame could be used to hold a compost heap. You can fill that with compostable waste materials: unfinished meals, vegetable peelings or scrapings, fruit and vegetable leftovers, and any other organic waste.
You can use the entire mattress, or just the foam and padding, to cover the compost heap and keep its heat in to accelerate the breakdown of composting materials. Any foam or fabric left over can be used to suppress weed growth between late winter and early spring. All it takes is imagination – like making use of intertwined springs to create an excellent structure for climbing plants such as clematis and peas (green or sweet).
9. Cut it Up for Recycling and Disposal
If none of the above work for you, and you are left wondering what to do with an old mattress, then why not just disassemble it, cut it up and put it into your household garbage over time. Not all at once, but put a little into your garbage or rubbish bin each time until it has all gone. This is very unlikely to be noticed and it might be the best solution for many people. All you need is a hammer, saw, sharp knife, and probably a hacksaw or bolt cutter for the springs. A bolt cutter is best, but a hacksaw should do it.
10. Advertise it For Free
If none of the above suggestions on how to get rid of a mattress work for you, or appear to be too difficult for you, then need an easier solution. You could dispose a mattress free of any cost to you by advertising it for free collection. Some newspapers and magazines offer free ads for this type of thing. This would be a last resort if you cannot persuade a charity or any other type of organization to take your mattress off your hands. You will get no money for it, and it would cost you nothing to advertise. Nevertheless, even a normal advert for a free mattress might be worth the expenditure for a very simple means of mattress disposal.
These are our 10 suggestions on how to get rid of a mattress, although it is unlikely that all with suit all people. You should choose the best mattress disposal option for you. The fact that almost 90% of mattress material is recyclable should persuade local authorities and recycling centers to take them. You may be more likely to be successful with mattress disposal if you are aware of what to do with old mattress components rather than just the entire mattress.
Here is a video that not only show how the professionals disassemble a mattress but also what can be recycled. You can do the same yourself with a sharp knife. It also displays the construction of a box spring mattress while it is being deconstructed:
How Not to Dispose of a Mattress
I have explained the best ways of how to dispose of a mattress. It is not only important to dispose of a mattress correctly to avoid legal issues, but also for environmental reasons. Here are two mattress disposal methods you should avoid at all costs:
- Fly-Tipping: This refers to illegal mattress disposal by dumping the mattress out of your vehicle onto public areas – or even privately owned areas of land. In order to accept waste legally, a public area must be licensed to do so. It is illegal to tip any form of waste onto privately owned land without permission. Fly-tipping is not only illegal, but it can is in some cases lead to an environmental disaster. Some people dispose of their mattress in even worse ways than fly tipping or burning. They simply throw the mattress out of a pickup truck by the side of the highway. This is also illegal and will result in a hefty fine if caught
- Burning Old Mattresses: When you burn an old mattress, which some people do, it can harm and disrupt the environment close to the site of the fire. It is also dangerous to the person doing the burning! Unless you do this on your own land, it is also illegal.
Mattress Disposal – Summary
Finding out how to get rid of a mattress is not always easy. It is important that you know the laws regarding what to do with an old mattress, and we have explained here how it should be done. If you have a problem with how to get rid of an old mattress, or any mattress regardless of age, then you should find it much easier using one or more of the tips we have provided. Mattress disposal need not be a problem for you.
Continue Reading: Mattress Lifespan: How Long Do Mattresses Last? »