Mattress Disposal Guide
Whether your mattress is no longer supporting you or you simply want to upgrade to a better model, part of the process of buying a new mattress involves figuring out what to do with your old one.
Mattresses are large so it’s not as simple as getting rid of other things you own, and disposing of them improperly causes a drain on the environment. According to the Mattress Recycling Council, 50,000 mattresses end up in a landfill every single day.
Here are five responsible ways to dispose of your old mattress so you’re part of the solution and not the problem.
1. Resell Your Old Mattress
If your mattress is fairly new, unused, and in otherwise great shape, you may be able to sell it. Most mattresses won’t go for more than $200, but this is likely your best option for getting some cash back on your investment.
Before you sell your mattress, have it professionally cleaned or clean it yourself. Then, take a few nice photos and post your ad in local buy/sell/trade sites like Craigslist, NextDoor, and OfferUp. Your ad should include information such as the brand, size, firmness, original price, and any other relevant information (such as why you’re selling it, special features, or additional items you’re including like a boxspring).
However, if your mattress is in pretty good shape, consider whether you might be giving up on it too soon. Unless you’re waking up with aches and pains, see noticeable signs of wears and tears like sagging, or can’t remember when you bought it, you may be able to salvage your current mattress and make it last a bit longer.
For mattresses that feel too soft, try rotating or flipping the mattress for better support. If, on the other end, your mattress is too firm, consider adding a memory foam or latex foam topper for additional comfort. Adding a piece of plywood between the mattress and the foundation can help reduce sagging.
Of course, you may simply want to get a new mattress, in which case, have at it!
2. Recycle Your Old Mattress
As long as your mattress isn’t wet, stained, or infested with bugs you can recycle it. In fact, many of the materials within a mattress can be recycled:
- Wood bed frames can be chipped into mulch or pulped into paper. By recycling wood, you save a tree.
- The steel from innerspring coils can be melted down and recycled into new steel products.
- Polyurethane foam can be shredded, compressed, and reused in padding for carpets, car seats, furniture, and gym equipment.
- The cotton and polyester fabrics used in pillowtops and mattress covers can be recycled to create new clothing, blankets, bedding, textiles, and more.
Find a mattress recycling facility near you using one of the tools below:
- Earth911 is a local directory of recycling facilities that handle a range of materials, from aluminum cans to mattresses.
- ByeByeMattress is a mattress recycling facility locator managed by the Mattress Recycling Council.
- Finally, this Google map lists mattress recycling locations across the U.S.
Note that mattress recycling isn’t free. You can expect to pay between $20 to $40 if you arrange for a facility to pick the mattress up from your home, or $10 to $20 if you drop it off yourself.
If you’ve ever purchased a mattress in California, Connecticut, or Rhode Island, you may have noticed a small fee added to your purchase for recycling. These fees are required by state law and fund the programs that allow these facilities to exist.
3. Donate Your Old Mattress
The average mattress can last 7 to 8 years, so unless your mattress is in extremely bad shape, you can donate it to someone else who needs it. Your mattress should be in good enough shape – that means only minor tears and no serious damage like permanent indentation or burns.
When you donate your mattress to a charity, you can deduct the value on your next tax return. Depending on the size of your mattress, this will be between $10 to $75. The services below will all give you a donation receipt for your mattress:
- Goodwill accepts and sells donated mattresses at their stores. Some of the donations are used in their homeless shelters.
- The Furniture Bank Association of America provides furniture to poor families and accepts used mattresses at their donation centers. They offer limited pickup services at some locations.
- Vietnam Veterans of America sells donated mattress and other household items to fund their programs that help veterans. They also offer pickup services.
- Habitat for Humanity International sells donated items like mattresses at their ReStore facilities. The funds raised help them build and provide sustainable housing for people in need. HFHI does not accept mattress donations in all locations, so call first to confirm.
- The Salvation Army sells donated mattresses in their thrift stores. They also offer free pickup services for large items like mattresses in certain locations. The Salvation Army does not accept mattresses in several states, so call first to confirm.
Alternately, you can contact a homeless shelter or thrift shop in your local community to see if they’ll take your mattress. DonationTown.org lists local charities that take donations and offer pickup services.
You can also post on neighborhood message boards like NextDoor and Craigslist to donate your mattress to a neighbor.
4. Schedule Junk Removal for Your Old Mattress
If you don’t live near a recycling facility, or your mattress is too stained or damaged to donate, you can hire a junk removal service to come and pick it up for you. These companies usually charge by the number of items or total weight, and they may also charge a pickup fee. For a single large item like a mattress, the total cost may be as high as $100.
However, before you contact a junk removal service, check your mattress warranty to see if the manufacturer offers buyback or disposal services. Alternately, the manufacturer of your new mattress may include mattress recycling as part of their in-home delivery. In either of these cases, the service may be free or cheaper than junk removal.
5. Repurpose Your Old Mattress
If you break down your old mattress yourself, you can reuse many of the individual components in arts, crafts, and home improvement projects.
- The steel springs from your mattress can be bundled and sold as scrap metal, or you can use them to create homemade ornaments, wall sconces, and candle holders.
- The wooden frame and other parts can be used as firewood or in various carpentry projects. Alternately, you can chip it for use as mulch in your home garden.
- Memory foam, latex foam, and polyurethane foam layers can be shredded and used as padding in pillows, cushions, and pet beds. The fabrics in the cover can also be used for this purpose.
- Other odds and ends, such as nails, screws, and buttons, can be used to build something or as decoration in craft projects.
These are just a few ideas. If you need more inspiration, you’ll find plenty of it on Pinterest.
Please be careful as you open up and disassemble your old mattress so you don’t end up injuring yourself. Innersprings and nails can be sharp, and the wood can cause splinters.
Now that you know what to do with your old mattress, it’s time to get a new one. If you need help deciding, check out our guides: