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How to Properly Recycle a Mattress

We have to talk about your old mattress. It sags, it buckles, it squeaks, and it leaves your muscles in knots. We know you two have become close over the years, but it’s time to let it go and move on to something better. Don’t worry, your mattress doesn’t have to go to the dark and scary mattress underworld known as the landfill. Recycling your mattress ensures that it will keep on keepin’ on. Oh, and it’s also one of the best things you can do to SAVE PLANET EARTH.

old mattress that needs to be recycled

Mattress Recycling: How to Properly Recycle a Mattress

  • Recycling Center
  • Pick-up Service
  • Reselling
  • Donation
  • Upcycling

Mattresses are big and bulky, and they inspire a lot of head-scratching when it comes to disposal. You may be tempted to toss it in a dumpster, but for the sake of the penguins, don’t do it! Mattress recycling is easy. There are even some services that will come to your home and pick up your mattress for you. That’s even easier than hauling it to the curb! When you’re ready to get a new mattress, remember these mattress recycling options. The penguins will thank you.

Recycling mattresses doesn’t just save the world. It can also save you a lot of time, heavy lifting, and even money. Plus, you get to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Here’s how to do it.

Recycling Center

The most straightforward way to recycle your mattress is to bring it to your recycling center. We understand that many people may not have the time or the right vehicle for mattress removal, but for those who do, it’s probably the quickest way to recycle a mattress.

But don’t tie your old mattress to the car yet. Some recycling centers don’t offer mattress recycling services, and some charge a mattress recycling fee (some states mandate a fee, such as the California mattress recycling fee).

First, give your recycling center a call and ask about mattress disposal methods. Even if you know there isn’t a mattress recycling center nearby, it’s still worth calling. Some centers have mattress drop-off locations that might be closer to your home.

If they can’t help you, get online and search “mattress recycling center near me” or “free mattress recycling near me.” There are likely more options and locations than you think.

If there aren’t any mattress recycling centers around, don’t fret. You still have a bunch of options. You can easily find a recycling location that isn’t an official recycling center. We’ll look at those recycling options next.

Pick-up Service

moving truck driving down the road

Having your mattress picked up and recycled for you is easy and convenient. In our opinion, this is the best way to recycle a mattress. Mattress pick-up services are great because many of them are free. Mattresses and mattress materials are valuable, and a lot of services would love to come take yours.

The Salvation Army is one of the best-known companies that will pick your mattress up for free. Just give them a call and schedule a pickup. You can also call scrap metal yards, junk yards, and local charities to see if they offer a similar service.

One of the easiest ways to recycle a mattress is to get your new mattress provider to take the old one. Many mattress retailers will haul away your old mattress when they deliver your new one. Some online mattress companies will do the same. They might not advertise this service, so you’ll have to inquire. It’s better to ask before you make a purchase. Retailers might be more likely to say yes to a free pickup if it means you’re more likely to buy from them.

Reselling

What’s better than recycling your mattress and saving the environment? How about making some cash while doing it?

Reselling is even better than recycling a mattress for its materials. When you resell, no resources have to be used to give your mattress a new life. It will be useful for years to come in another home.

Make sure your mattress is presentable if you consider selling it. You may not find it comfortable anymore, and that’s fine. It might be an upgrade for someone else. But if your old mattress has water damage, mites, or serious problems like bed bugs, please seek a different recycling method.

The best places to sell your mattress are on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. These resources are free and will direct local mattress-seekers to your ad. Selling your mattress is so easy that you’ll probably find a buyer within hours of posting.

Here are some extra helpful tips for reselling your mattress:

  • Set a reasonable price: Remember, you’re trying to get rid of this thing and find it a good home.
  • Make pickup a requirement: This will reduce the likelihood of delivery disputes.
  • Be ready to negotiate: Buyers on these sites are always trying to haggle. If you’re worried about this, set your price a bit higher.
  • Respond quickly to inquiries: Be ready to chat with potential buyers or risk losing them.

Donation

If you don’t want to deal with reselling, you can give your mattress away to charity. Donating a free mattress will give you warm fuzzy feelings, and it’s better for the environment than straight-up recycling.

Goodwill, and thrift stores like it, are the easiest places to start. They take old mattresses that are in decent condition and find them a new home. But Goodwill won’t accept all mattresses, especially if they don’t have the space.

If that doesn’t work, try donating to Habitat for Humanity or your local homeless shelter. They’re always looking for mattresses for the less fortunate, and they probably won’t be as picky as Goodwill.

Another option is your local Humane Society. They need mattresses and blankets to keep the pups and cats comfy. These places can be pretty bleak, especially at night and during winter. They’ll take your old mattress no matter its condition.

Upcycling

What is upcycling? A flying unicycle? Nope. Upcycling is the act of taking something old and turning it into something new with the power of your creativity. If you love DIY projects, arts and crafts, building things, or tinkering, this is the mattress recycling method for you.

A quick Google search is all it takes to dive into the world of repurposing your old mattress. There are literally thousands of great ideas out there. Or, you can use your noggin and think up a fresh one.

Here are some of our favorite ways to upcycle or repurpose a mattress:

  • Upcycle your polyurethane foam or memory foam mattress to a comfy chair, futon, or dog bed.
  • Make your own super-squishy pillows with repurposed memory foam.
  • Use old innersprings to make wine racks, vases, bird feeders, and more.
  • Wrap an old mattress in plastic (for waterproofing) and use it as an outdoor daybed.
  • Use old mattress box springs to create shelves. A mattress box spring also makes a perfect ready-made planter box for the garden!

The possibilities are endless! So, turn on those light bulbs above your head and make the most out of your old mattress.

What NOT to Do When Recycling a Mattress

dumpster with trash overflowing

Depending on what type of mattress you have, there are a few recycling mistakes to avoid. Recycling the wrong way can do more harm than good.

Avoid Dumpsters

We get it. Dumpsters are quick and easy. And they even have shiny dumpsters for recyclable items and large trash. This means you can be rid of your bulky item, such as your mattress, easily and with peace of mind, right?

Not so fast. These dumpsters are for specific recyclables, and mattresses are rarely included on that list. When you dispose of a mattress in this way, not only will it add to landfills, but it also increases the burden on your local recycling center and local junk removal employees.

Choose the Best Method for Your Mattress

Just because you donate your mattress for recycling doesn’t mean it won’t end up in a landfill. It’s up to you to choose the most responsible disposal method for your mattress.

For example, you might get the Salvation Army to pick it up, so you don’t have to deal with it anymore. If your mattress is in poor condition, the charity may throw it away. But if you had taken it to the recycling center, it could have been salvaged.

So, how do you know if your mattress should be donated, resold, or recycled?

First, find out how old it is. How long does a mattress last? About 10 years on average, or a bit longer if it’s been treated with love and care. If your mattress is older than this or has visible signs of damage, it should go straight to the mattress recycling center.

Make Sure Your Mattress Materials Are Recyclable

Different mattresses are recycled in different ways. A classic innerspring mattress can be recycled for its fabric and steel springs at a mattress recycling center.

Foam mattresses made with memory foam, latex foam, and poly foam are also completely recyclable — though not all recycling centers are equipped to recycle them. Often, you can send these mattresses to mattress manufacturers who will recycle them into new mattresses. Check the label or special instructions on your mattress to find out more.

If your mattress contains special materials like cooling gel or electrical parts, make sure to inform the recycling center or charity. Some of these materials may not be recyclable, or they might be toxic in certain situations (if consumed by an animal, for example).

Recycle Your Mattress

Dooming your mattress to the dark unknown of dumpsters and landfills is a scary thought. All those toxic foams and rusty springs polluting the earth could come back to haunt you. Instead, recycle your mattress and get a good night’s sleep knowing that you did right by your community and the planet.

Recycling your mattress is easier than you think. Just give your local recycling center a call, and they’ll point you in the right direction. Or, if your mattress is in good shape, consider donating it to charity or reselling it to make some cash. You can even get someone to pick it up for free. If you can’t stand to say goodbye, get creative and upcycle your mattress. There are plenty of ways to repurpose the old springs and foam.

Choosing a new mattress to fit your lifestyle is exciting, but it’s very important to dispose of your old mattress responsibly. Recycle your mattress for a better night’s sleep and a healthier planet.

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