How to Recycle Your Old Mattress

Jul 23, 2020 by

By Angela


Although you may not replace your mattress frequently, it is still important to dispose of it properly for the benefit of the environment. A mattress is a rather large and unwieldy object, and with billions of people getting rid of theirs every handful of years, improper disposal can have an adverse effect on the environment at large.

In fact, if you really want to level up, you’ll avoid disposing of it and instead recycle your old mattress. Sustainability might sometimes come across as the fad of the new age – but there’s no denying that it has a huge net benefit to the planet as a whole. Humans are simply producing too much trash, and the more of it that can be recycled, the better it will be for the environment.

The Basics of Mattress Recycling

About 4/5ths of your mattress is comprised of recyclable material; since the standard mattress requires 40 cubic feet of space in a landfill, it goes a long way if you can keep most of this out of those final resting places of numerous materials.

1 – Mattress Warranty

First thing first: if you’re trying to get rid of a mattress, make sure that it’s not under warranty – if it is, then you just might be able to take advantage of your state’s by-back program. If you live in Rhode Island, Connecticut or California, for example, you should be able to locate a mattress recycling program that may pick up your old mattress and save you the trouble of transport and disposable.

2 – Self-Recycle

Even if your state has a buy-back program, nothing prevents you from properly disposing of your mattress, yourself. As long as it is still usable and not too old, you could potentially sell the mattress, or donate it to a nearby Goodwill or charity in your city. The Golden Rule applies here, when deciding whether your mattress is fit for donation: do unto others as you have them do unto you. If you cannot or would not sleep on the mattress, then junk it.

3 – Give It Away

This is an extension of the above; however, instead of having a charity or Goodwill come by and collect it (many will do this – they reserve the right to refuse it upon inspection, however), you can list your mattress on a website such as eBay or Craiglists. On eBay, be sure to list it as free and “local pickup” only – as it is obviously unreasonable to try and ship and old mattress to someone. New websites such as OfferUp are always springing up, and you may be able to sell or give it away on these.

4 – DIY Your Mattress

A mattress is a large object; if you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer, then there’s little doubt you can find some utility in the wood, metals springs and cloth from which it is comprised. The process of changing your mattress in an artistic capacity (or a utilitarian once, in fact), is called “upcycling” it. If all else fails – you can donate the mattress to an animal charity. Cats and dogs can always use a bed that, while functional, may not be terribly suitable for humans.

The Mattress Recycling Process

Once your mattress gets to the recycling bin, it cannot simply be tossed into a crusher and usable materials be extracted! As a somewhat “complex” object that is made up of different materials, it has to be taken apart. It is not recommended that you do this yourself; if you choose to go the sustainability route and have it recycled, the following will be done for you:

  1. First off, your mattress will be disassembled by cutting. The foam part and the cotton, primarily, can be recycled and used as bedding for animals and in industrial oil fillers. Before they are shipped off to these respective places, the materials of which the mattress was comprised are separated by type being compressed (in the cases where compression is applicable, such as with foam and fiber).
  2. The tough parts of the mattress, which are the box springs and other pieces of metal, will go to the scrap yard. Eventually, these will end up at foundries and similar places where steel can be broken down and reused to construct materials such as kitchen appliances, etc.
  3. The wood components of the mattress will then be shredded and employed as fuel or mulch.

Recycling is not something that you have to worry about doing personally, as all states have recycling centers (some by law). Oftentimes, you need only pay a nominal fee to have them pick it up for you – or you could drive it there, yourself. Keep in mind that most of the fee they charge is simply for the gas used to drive there and pick it up – not for labor or anything like that. If you have an air mattress or waterbed or similar, these are not easily recyclable and should be disposed of if their operational lifetime has reached its conclusion.

Ultimately, if you’re in the market for a new mattress, recycling your old mattress is better than outright disposal in a landfill or something. This is primarily due to the sheer space a mattress takes up, as well as the fact that many of the components are actually useful in other endeavors. Best of all, recycling reduces your own carbon footprint.


About the author;

Data geek who has always loved numbers (and cats) that fell in love with writing while attending Baylor University.

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