Where Can I Dispose of a Mattress? Unveiling Sustainable and Responsible Options for Your Old Bed

Where Can I Dispose of a Mattress

Each year, the United States discards around 18.2 million mattresses, equating to over 50,000 mattresses finding their way into landfills daily. To curb this waste, mattress owners ought to explore responsible disposal methods.

Typically, experts recommend replacing your mattress every decade. Where Can I Dispose of a Mattress. The decision to replace depends on usage frequency and the level of care it receives.

If you’re wondering about the proper way to dispose of a mattress, leaving it at the curb or dumping it in a city landfill won’t suffice. Improper disposal may result in substantial fines, so thorough research is crucial to ensure you handle the process correctly. Avoiding these fines involves understanding the appropriate channels for mattress disposal, which can be more complex than one might think.

How to Dispose of a Mattress

Embarking on the quest to find the perfect mattress can be a challenging journey, and every mattress owner inevitably reaches a point where upgrading becomes a necessity. Some individuals opt for a mattress switch due to an interest in new models or types, while others seek a change to accommodate evolving comfort needs influenced by factors like age, weight fluctuations, or injuries. Regardless of one’s enthusiasm for exploring different mattresses, the inevitability of mattress replacement remains.

When it’s time to bid farewell to your trusty mattress, there are various disposal options available, ranging from recycling and donation to the straightforward act of discarding. The choice that suits you best depends on several factors, including the mattress’s condition, your location, and the disposal and donation services provided by nearby facilities.

In the following, we’ll delve into the diverse methods of mattress disposal, guiding you on how to select the most suitable option and navigate the process of bidding adieu to your old mattress.

How Do I Know if I’m Ready For A New Mattress?

While the general consensus suggests that mattresses should be replaced every 8 years on average, the longevity of a mattress can vary depending on its type. Hybrid innerspring-foam mattresses, for example, may require replacement sooner, typically around 6 years. On the other hand, plain innerspring mattresses can endure for up to 10 years, and if they’re double-sided, they might even surpass that timeline. Memory foam and latex mattresses, with proper care, can boast a lifespan of up to 15 years.

These estimates represent the average lifespans for each mattress type. However, individual mattresses may deviate from these averages, lasting either less or more time. The durability of a mattress hinges on factors such as its design, materials, maintenance, and the environmental conditions it faces in your bedroom.

Ultimately, the most accurate gauge for determining if your mattress requires replacement lies in how it feels and the quality of sleep it provides. Assess whether you’re still experiencing the same support and comfort as when you first acquired the mattress, as this personal experience is a reliable indicator of its overall condition. Life changes, such as moving in with a partner or introducing a medium-to-large pet into your nightly sleep routine, can significantly impact the dynamics of your mattress. The redistribution of weight may affect an older mattress, compromising its ability to offer the same level of support that it once did.

Once the decision to invest in a new mattress has been made, and you’ve diligently shopped around to select your ideal model, the final hurdle presents itself: what to do with your old mattress? The process of parting ways with your previous sleep companion requires thoughtful consideration and an understanding of the available disposal options.

Donating Your Mattress

Donating mattresses instead of simply disposing of them is a commendable choice, offering a chance to make a meaningful contribution to those in need while creating space for your new mattress.

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that not all mattresses are suitable for donation. While various reasons prompt individuals to invest in a new mattress, some old ones are discarded due to excessive wear and tear, rendering them unusable. Mattresses in such conditions should not be considered for donation.

Moreover, the landscape of mattress donations has evolved, thanks to the availability of higher quality and more affordable beds. Regulatory and sanitation concerns have elevated the standards at charities and shelters regarding the acceptability of donated mattresses. Presenting a sub-par mattress not only lacks courtesy but can also prove to be a futile effort for both you and the dedicated staff and volunteers at these organizations. It’s essential to align with their criteria to ensure that your donation makes a positive impact.

So How Do You Know If Your Mattress is in Good Enough Shape to be Donated?

Charities, organizations, and shelters each establish their own criteria for acceptable donated mattresses.

Infestations: Avoid donating mattresses with any infestations, particularly bed bugs and mold. Even if you’ve cleaned the surface after a bed bug or mold issue, these problems often persist deep within the mattress, making it unsuitable for donation.

Major Structural Problems: Mattresses with broken, jutting, or bending coils, visible sagging, irregular bunching, or large, permanent indentations are generally unsuitable for donation. Structural issues from wear and tear can compromise the mattress’s usability.

Rips, Tears, and Holes: Do not donate mattresses with noticeable damage, including large rips, tears, or holes. Ensure the mattress cover is securely attached before considering it for donation.

Stains: Mattresses with stains, whether large or small, from any substance or permanent discoloration over time, should not be donated. However, you can attempt DIY cleaning to address small spots or stains.

Vacuum: Use a vacuum to remove pet hair, dander, dust, and other particles from the top and sides of the mattress.

Spot Clean: Address small stains with non-toxic enzyme cleaners, a DIY solution of hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and baking soda, or a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Blot dry with a clean rag.

Odors: If the mattress has a strong odor, consider sprinkling baking soda on the surface, letting it sit for a few hours, and then vacuuming it off. Air the mattress outside if possible. If the odor persists, reconsider donating the mattress.

Remember, these guidelines help ensure that donated mattresses are in a condition that can genuinely benefit others. It’s important to be honest about the mattress’s state and take appropriate measures to address any issues before considering it for donation.

Larger Organizations

Several national and multinational organizations facilitate mattress donations, contributing to various charitable causes:


Overview: Goodwill is a network of community-based nonprofits with thrift stores that sell donated items. The proceeds fund educational, training, and job placement programs for individuals facing barriers to employment.

Acceptance Policies: Each of the 162 local Goodwill locations in the United States and Canada has its own policies regarding mattress donations. Some may accept mattresses in good condition, while others may not. Contact your local Goodwill to inquire about their specific policies.

Habitat for Humanity:

Overview: Habitat for Humanity is a global organization dedicated to providing affordable and sustainable housing. They operate ReStore, a chain of thrift stores, with sales supporting Habitat’s building and housing projects.

Acceptance Policies: ReStore locations vary in their acceptance policies, especially regarding mattresses. Contact your nearest ReStore for information on their donation guidelines, including whether they accept mattresses and if they provide home pick-up.

Furniture Bank Association of America (FBA):

Overview: FBA is a network of furniture banks that furnish low-cost or free furniture to underserved communities and individuals living in poverty. They have over 80 furniture banks across the U.S.

Acceptance Policies: FBA typically accepts mattresses in good condition (free from structural problems, bed bugs, tears, or stains). They may offer pick-up services within a certain distance from their furniture banks. Contact them in advance to confirm acceptance and arrange for pick-up.

Catholic Charities:

Overview: Catholic Charities operates charitable service organizations nationwide, providing assistance to children, refugees, individuals experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, and those with lower incomes.

Acceptance Policies: Catholic Charities, with programs for individuals of all religious affiliations, often runs residential housing programs and shelters in need of suitable mattresses. Check their website for local programs requiring mattresses, and inquire about pick-up services.

Before donating, it’s crucial to check with each organization regarding their specific requirements and policies for mattress donations, including whether they provide pick-up services and any conditions for acceptance.

How to Get Rid of a Mattress

Disposing of an old mattress presents various options, each with its own implications, and a survey of Which? members revealed diverse methods they’ve employed in the past:

Council Collection:

Pros: Council collection is a common method, and it’s often convenient for residents. Many municipal authorities provide scheduled pick-up services for bulk items like mattresses.

Cons: Depending on the area, council collection services may be limited or incur additional charges.

Paying a Specialist Company:

Pros: Engaging a specialist company can be a hassle-free option, with professionals handling the removal and disposal of the mattress.

Cons: This method can be expensive, potentially adding a financial burden to the disposal process.

Donating to Charity:

Pros: Donating to charity is a socially responsible option, allowing the mattress to be repurposed for individuals in need.

Cons: Not all charities accept mattresses, and suitability criteria may vary. Additionally, some may require the mattress to be in good condition.

It’s crucial to consider the environmental impact, cost, and legality of each disposal method. Some options, such as illegal dumping, can harm the environment and result in legal consequences. Choosing a responsible and lawful method aligns with ethical and sustainable waste management practices.

Pay a Company to Pick Up Your Old Mattres

More than half of Which? members shared that they got rid of their last mattress by opting for the convenient option of having it picked up by the company delivering their new mattress, as per a survey conducted in February 2023 with responses from 1,068 participants.

This trend isn’t surprising, considering the growing number of prominent high street retailers providing this service. Retail giants like Argos and John Lewis charge a fee of £30 and £29.95, respectively, to collect and responsibly dispose of your old mattress when you purchase a new one. However, it’s worth noting that Ikea’s mattress removal and recycling service are currently on hold.

Even bed-in-a-box mattress brands like Emma and Eve have joined the fray, offering a service to collect your old mattress when delivering your new one.

While having the retailer take care of the old mattress during the delivery of the new one is convenient, it may pose a challenge if you later decide to return the new mattress. This makes it crucial to be certain about your choice. For those unsure, specialized mattress companies like Collect Your Old Bed offer the flexibility of picking up and disposing of your old mattress at a time that suits you.

Regardless of the method chosen, it’s important to ensure that the company handling the disposal actually recycles the mattress. Additionally, it’s advisable to check the fees imposed by your local council for similar services to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Pay Your Local Council For a Bulky Waste Collection

Local councils typically offer a service to pick up and dispose of bulky waste, including items like beds and mattresses. However, this convenience often comes at a cost, and there’s no guarantee that your mattress won’t end up in a landfill. While some councils, like Liverpool City Council and certain London boroughs, provide free bulky waste collection, they are the exception rather than the norm.

Most councils impose fees for bulky waste collection, and the charges can be surprisingly high. For instance, Argyll and Bute Council charge a substantial £76.30 for a 10-minute bulky waste collection, with the potential for additional costs if the process takes longer. Wealden District Council charges around £60 for the disposal of three bulky items, and the London Borough of Richmond charges £71 for each collection of up to five items.

If you reside in England or Wales, you can easily find out the cost for bulky waste disposal by entering your postcode on the gov.uk website. For those in Scotland or Northern Ireland, visit your council’s website and search for information on bulky waste disposal.

While having the council collect your mattress from your home is convenient, it’s crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions. Many councils have a tiered pricing structure based on the number of bulky items to be collected. Keep in mind that items such as a bed frame and mattress may be counted as two separate items. Additionally, items are typically collected only if they are placed in a designated spot as specified by the council.

Take Your Old Mattress to The Local Tip

If you’re looking to dispose of an old mattress, your local waste disposal site is likely to accept it, but the challenge lies in transporting it there. You’ll need a vehicle large enough to accommodate the mattress. If your car has limited space and the mattress doesn’t fit when flat, you might find success by rolling it up and securing it with rope.

However, considering the effort involved, especially if there’s a chance the mattress could still end up in a landfill, you might opt for a more sustainable approach. One alternative is taking the mattress to a dedicated recycling facility. Another convenient option is paying for a service, either through your local council or a specialized disposal company, to collect the mattress directly from your home. This way, you avoid the hassle of transportation and ensure a more environmentally friendly disposal process.

How Often Should You Change Your Mattress?

If the number of years you’ve had your mattress escapes your memory, it’s probably a good indicator that it’s time for a replacement. Even if the mattress still feels comfortable, it’s likely lost some of its original support and hygiene.

Experts recommend considering a new mattress every seven years. Beyond this timeframe, a mattress will have endured over 20,000 hours of use, equivalent to approximately 2,555 nights. This prolonged use takes a toll, especially when you factor in that adults typically lose around half a pint of fluid each night and shed a pound of dead skin cells annually. As time passes, a mattress becomes less effective at providing the support and cleanliness crucial for a good night’s sleep.

How Long Should a Mattress Last?

A survey conducted in March 2021 with 1,098 Which? members revealed an interesting perspective on mattress lifespan expectations. Almost 25% of respondents believed a new mattress could last more than a decade, showcasing a notably optimistic outlook. However, a more realistic estimate, shared by about a third of participants, was an expectation of 8 to 10 years a duration that aligns more closely with industry standards.

Incorporating durability tests, Which? found that top-quality mattresses can indeed maintain their integrity for up to a decade, showing minimal signs of softening, sagging, or reduced support. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance may further extend the lifespan of a good mattress.

It’s worth noting that while investing in a new bed frame might not necessarily elongate the life of your mattress, using an incompatible bed frame could potentially void its warranty. For more insights on choosing the right bed, refer to their tips on bed selection.

What Type of Mattress is The Most Durable?

Pocket sprung mattresses, which constitute 94 mattresses tested, demonstrate impressive durability, with nearly three quarters (70) earning four stars or more in the tough durability assessments. These assessments involve measuring height, firmness, and supportiveness, followed by simulating up to a decade of use by rolling a heavy barrel over the mattress 30,000 times. To excel in these durability tests, a mattress must maintain its supportiveness, firmness, and height. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for rotating or turning the mattress is essential for maximizing its lifespan.

In the case of memory foam mattresses, out of the 52 memory foam, foam, and latex mattresses reviewed, over 90% received four or five stars in the lifespan (durability) test. The remaining mattresses achieved three stars, indicating an average or acceptable level of durability. Although most memory foam mattresses perform well, it’s noteworthy that some have fared poorly in past durability tests. Regular rotation is still necessary for memory foam mattresses to ensure their longevity, making them no less maintenance-intensive than pocket sprung options.

Free Mattress Recycling Programs

Several states, such as California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, have implemented mattress recycling programs facilitated by the Mattress Recycling Council, known as ByeBye Mattress. Statewide regulations permit households to dispose of old mattresses and box springs at designated collection sites without incurring additional fees, as these fees are typically paid at the time of purchase.

To locate a mattress recycling spot, you can use resources like ByeByeMattress or search engines such as Earth911. An interactive map available on these platforms reveals the presence of over 100 mattress recycling centers nationwide.

If you have more than just a mattress to discard or if the mattress is too large to transport yourself, some municipalities allow for home pickup services. It’s worth noting that this service may or may not be part of a formal recycling program.

For those participating in city recycling programs, be aware that there might be a fee associated with dropping off mattresses or box springs. Additionally, some locations may require you to schedule an appointment for the drop-off process. Checking with your local authorities can help clarify the specific guidelines in your area.

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