Mattress Disposal: Where to Throw Away a Mattress
Has your old mattress reached the end of its useful lifespan, and you’re wondering what to do with it?
You’ll be surprised to learn that there are several mattress disposal methods that don’t include hauling your mattress to the landfill. Although throwing away a used mattress is always an option, you can also consider recycling it, donating it, or selling it. The method that’s right for you generally depends on different factors, like the state of your mattress and where you’re located.
This post will cover the different methods of mattress disposal in great detail. We’ll also offer tips for choosing the right option and how to get the job done.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Buy a New Mattress?
Most mattresses usually last between 7 to 10 years. However, there are many factors that can influence your bed’s lifespan. For instance, the original build quality of your bed, the materials used, and even your weight and sleeping style can affect your mattress’ longevity.
Some of the signs that show you need a new mattress include:
- Noisy springs
- Trouble sleeping
Essentially, you should buy a new mattress if the old one is no longer helping you get the restorative sleep you crave. Generally, there’s no clear-cut way of knowing whether it’s time to ditch your old mattress. However, if you’re considering getting a new bed, it’s worthwhile to do so sooner rather than later.
Things to Do Before You Throw Away Your Mattress
Before you get rid of your old mattress, make sure you know two vital policies:
- Your bed’s warranty policy
- Your state’s mattress disposal
These requirements can significantly impact your next move regarding whether or not you should dispose of your mattress and how to do it.
Most mattresses are backed by a warranty that details the type of issues your manufacturer can repair or replace for free. Warranties often allow sleepers to receive free repairs or replacements for manufacturing defects that impact their bed’s effectiveness. To learn more about your mattress’ warranty, you can check the mattress tag, google your mattress model and warranty, or call your manufacturer.
Similarly, each state has unique policies that dictate how to properly dispose of a mattress. For instance, some states like Rhodes Island and California have mattress recycling programs to prevent old mattresses from ending in landfills.
Donating Your Mattress
Donating your mattress is an effective way of keeping it out of landfills while at the same time providing people in homeless shelters with a comfortable place to rest. Better yet, many charity organizations take all the work out of getting rid of your mattress.
These charities often have the resources to transport your old mattress from your house to their donation facilities. However, it’s crucial to note that not all used mattresses are fit for donation.
So, How Do You Know Whether Your Mattress Is in Good Shape for Donation?
Before considering donating your mattress, be sure it’s in reasonably good shape. It will likely have one or two sagging spots, but local charities may not accept it if it has major defects.
A good rule of thumb is to consider why you’re buying a new mattress. If it’s because the old one is no longer comfortable and supportive enough, it may still suit other sleepers. However, if your mattress is excessively dirty, damaged, or worn out, your best bet is to get rid of it.
Generally, your mattress should meet the following criteria:
- Minimal or zero stains
- No tears or rips
- Functional cushioning (no extreme sags)
- No infestations, bed bugs, or mold present
For box springs, ensure the bed frame isn’t bent or broken, and the fabric cover is firmly attached. If your mattress has any of the problems mentioned above, it may be better to recycle it rather than donate it.
If you feel that your mattress is in perfect condition for donation, you can move on to choosing the right place to donate it. You have two primary options: national charity organizations and the local ones.
National Charity Organizations
Whether living in a city, rural, or suburban area, you can always find a charity that accepts mattress donations. Unsure where to start? Begin by searching for national organizations in your area. These organizations have establishments across North America, with some also existing in other parts of the world.
- Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is a popular source for household goods and clothing. They provide donated goods to disaster victims, domestic abuse victims, and others in need.
- Goodwill: Goodwill is an international and multi-faceted charity organization that brings goods, clothing, and employment opportunities to maligned or lower-income communities. Some locations accept used mattresses in relatively good condition.
- Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is an organization centered around helping people in underserved communities obtain affordable and sustainable housing. Like Goodwill, they take used mattresses at specific locations and normally offer free pickup.
- Furniture Bank Association of America (FBA): The FBA provides furniture to people in underserved communities at low or no cost. Most furniture banks have quality standards for a donated mattress (i.e., no bed bugs, stains, etc.), so ensure you check each location’s requirements.
- Catholic Charities: Catholic charities usually run smaller charitable service organizations that provide furniture and bedding for refugees, children, people with disabilities, and lower-income people. While their requirements tend to be a bit strict for mattresses, it’s a perfect donation alternative, especially if you bought the wrong mattress size or model for your liking.
If you’re far from national charities or donation banks, check out your local options through your phone book or the internet.
Donationtown.org is one of the most reliable online resources for finding the best place to donate a mattress to charity. They offer a completely free, searchable database of local charities that might accept your mattress, with specifications about their terms and conditions and whether or not they provide pickup services.
You can also decide to donate your mattress directly to local shelters. Simply conduct a quick Google search to get a list of contacts for potential local shelters.
Give it Away
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of looking for a donation center, you can always give your mattress away to someone directly.
Start by posting on social media platforms like Facebook and asking your family, friends, and other people in your cycle. You can also use online marketplaces like Craigslist, NextDoor, Letgo, and Facebook Marketplace to advertise your mattress.
Remember to specify that the mattress is free and be clear about its size and condition. Provide dimensions and pictures, if possible.
Recycling Your Old Mattress
If your old mattress is not in perfect condition for donation, the best alternative is to recycle it. And the good thing about this is that the process is relatively easy, considering many mattresses come with recyclable materials. What’s more, there are several viable options available to you, as we’ll further discuss below.
Work with Local Recycling Centers
Some local recycling centers accept old mattresses, irrespective of their current state. Although it might take some digging, many cities have at least one recycling center that can accept a used mattress. Some mattress recycling facilities partner with other companies to pick up your mattress and recycle it for you at a small service fee. Certain EPR-enacted states, like Rhode Island, offer mattress recycling programs and free pickups.
If you’re having a hard time finding a recycling center that will take your mattress, there are a few reliable databases that you can use.
This online database can help you locate a recycling facility near you by simply entering your zip code. This site will give you detailed information on a facility’s location, hours of operation, and the various items they recycle.
Bye Bye Mattress
Operated by the Mattress Recycling Council, Bye Bye Mattress is available in EPR-enacted states. If you live in California, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, check out this website for guidance on how to find a free pick-up or minimal-fee recycling program near you.
Many cities have municipal offices that offer mattress recycling services on a local level. That said, consider calling your local municipal office for information on how you can recycle your mattress.
Local residential Facilities
If you’re still stuck, you may consider calling local businesses, facilities, and establishments that offer accommodation services. These facilities usually have a higher need for mattress and garbage disposal, so they may be able to help you find a recycling facilities that accept mattresses.
DIY Recycling and Repurposing
Most mattresses in the market are made of reusable materials. If you have the time and tools, you can easily break down the parts of your old bed and recycle them or repurpose them for household or DIY projects.
For instance, you can sell steel springs as scrap metal and break down wooden parts for landscaping mulch. On the other hand, memory foam materials can be used as pet beds, cushions, or padding inside throw pillows.
Throwing Out Your Mattress
If none of the above alternatives works for you, you’ll have no option but to throw away your mattress. While this may seem the easiest alternative, you’ll still have to follow specific rules to dispose of the mattress properly. Many states and towns have specific procedures about throwing away old mattresses, some of which prohibit leaving a whole mattress in a dumpster.
Other municipalities will only allow you to throw out your mattress during a heavy trash day. In some places, you’ll be required to wrap your bed in a plastic mattress bag and seal it with packing tape to avoid fines or pickup refusal.
To avoid going through the hassle of following state regulations and dumping your mattress on your own, you can always schedule a waste disposal service and let the professionals do the work for you. Another feasible option is to request mattress hauling services from your previous mattress company.
Getting rid of your old mattress isn’t as easy as leaving it in the dumpster. Before you consider disposing of your mattress, take time to understand how you can better use it by recycling its materials, repurposing it, or donating it to homeless shelters and other people in need.
Now that you know the perfect ways to get rid of old mattresses, you can start planning your new mattress purchase. Just remember to think carefully about your budget and research warranty policies, delivery options, and the terms of any free sleep trials.
Gabe is the newest member of The Sleep Shop team. If you like the design of The Sleep Shop, give Gabe a thumbs up. He’s a digital marketing and design guru and the brains behind the design and SEO of The Sleep Shop. He also won’t say no to testing a ton of mattresses either, and helps on almost every mattress review.
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