Mattress removal, disposal, and recycling
The Most Complete Guide to Responsible Mattress Disposal & Understanding Your Options
You just purchased a new mattress and now you need to get rid of your old mattress. Your first thought is probably to just dump the mattress by the trash and be done. You might get away with putting your mattress curbside and hope that the city garbage truck will take it, but in most cases, you will be out of luck and can even get fined. So, how do you throw out a mattress?
Luckily, you have found the most complete guide to proper mattress disposal. The best options for eco-friendly mattress disposal include donation, recycling, selling, give it away, repair or repurpose it, or you can hire a local junk removal pro. Throwing a mattress in a dumpster is not an environmentally responsible way to get rid of a mattress.
Introduction to Mattress Removal
Your old mattress most likely weighs a lot more than your new mattress and you probably have a box spring that needs to go as well. You will most likely need to find someone to help you haul your old heavy mattress around. If you don’t have access to a truck, or a friend willing to loan their truck, then you may need to rent one. On top of renting a truck, you will need to find somewhere to dump the old mattress. Most places, like your local landfill or transfer station will charge you to take the used mattress, if they even will take it at all.
This is why we have put together helpful options to guide you through mattress removal in a more modern, easy and eco-friendly manner at an affordable price. But first you will need to assess the condition of your mattress.
Assessing Mattress Condition
If you are having a difficult time deciding whether a used mattress needs to be recycled or is still in good shape, you need to assess the condition of your old mattress, your sleep, and the age of your mattress.
If you are deciding if your mattress is past its lifespan, you should carefully examine any pain or discomforts you may feel after sleeping on the mattress. Check for back pain, morning stiffness, numbness in your limbs, whether you are sleeping throughout the night or having difficulties sleeping and finally any tossing and turning.
Assessing Wear and Tear
To determine the condition of the mattress itself, you should examine all side of the mattress. Look for any tears or holes that could be releasing pressure in the mattress. Holes caused by nails mean your mattress is no longer holding up appropriately. Search the entire mattress for any lumps that may have formed. Sit beside the mattress and look for uneven spots that may be sagging.
Mattress Age and Quality
Think back to when you first got this mattress, what year was it? Most mattresses are good for 7 to eight years, but if you are over 40 you may want to replace it closer to every 5 years. Remember when the last time you flipped the mattress was. It is good to flip a mattress frequently. If you recently flipped your mattress and it is still uncomfortable, this mattress is probably past its lifespan.
Check for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are very small, but can still be seen with the naked eye. Look for little white, brown or red bugs with 6 legs. Most likely you know if you have bed bugs because they make your skin itchy and red. Do not try and fix bed bugs. Get in touch with a disposal expert immediately.
Look for Mold and Bacteria
If you have bad allergies, it may be coming from your mattress. Notice if your mattress looks dirty, dusty or has a black discoloration. Take off all of the bedding and look for stains. This could be spills or even pee. If your mattress is covered in stains it probably has bacteria in it.
OPTION 1: Donate to Charity
After evaluating the condition of your old mattress and you find that it is still in usable condition, you might want to consider donating your used mattress to someone in need. If you were planning to just get rid of it anyway, why not do a good deed and let the mattress finish out its lifespan in good use. There are many charitable organizations that would be happy to receive a lightly used mattress such as homeless shelters and domestic violence centers. You could donate your unwanted bed to help a family that has lost everything in a fire, earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disasters. You can rest easy knowing your former bed is helping someone less fortunate have a good night’s sleep. Learn what organizations accept mattresses and in what conditions.
Nationwide Charities Accepting Mattress Donations
Goodwill’s across the country may take your used mattress if in good shape and offer many local drop-off locations for mattress donation.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army offers scheduled pick-ups with load hauling trucks for mattress donations. There may be a 2 week to a month waitlist.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization dedicated to helping people find a safe place to live and may accept mattress donations.
Furniture Bank Assoc.
Each Furniture Bank operates independently and donation pickup requirements vary. Most pickups are available within a 15-20 mile radius.
OPTION 2: Recycle Your Mattress
Did you know that there is a large household object that can be recycled, but rarely is? Your mattress! That’s right, not only are they difficult to handle and dispose of but when you think about it almost every person goes through a few mattresses in their lifetime. Because more than 20 million are thrown away each year, that means we are talking about billions of mattresses choking our landfills. To make matters worse, even once compacted, each mattress takes up an average of 23 cubic feet of landfill space.
As mattresses begin to pile up, the springs inside start to break free and can clog the equipment used to compact the landfill’s waste. Then you have to deal with the fact that mattresses are filled with nasty chemicals that not only contaminate landfills but also can run off into local water supplies. This could hurt an entire city’s eco-system if their water becomes spoiled.
This run-off not only damages our planet but also creates unsafe working conditions and pollution for workers. Not good!
Want to help create a safer earth in a simple way by recycling your mattress? Do your part to safely recycle your old, used and unwanted mattress. Then pat yourself on the back!
City Recycling Programs
Mattress recycling programs exist in almost all major North American cities, providing used mattress recycling for a processing fee. Many are nonprofits that benefit local communities. If you have a large enough vehicle and want to handle recycling your mattress yourself, you can find a recycling center near you by searching online in your local area.
If you call your local recycling centers, some cities will provide pick-up services. Be aware though, that most do require drop off. If you want to be part of the solution to mattress damage in our communities, get confirmation your recycling centers offer mattress pick-up services before leaving it by the curb and making matters worse.
Mattress Items Not Recyclable:
- Items that are wet or heavily soiled
- Items that are infested with bedbugs
- Air mattresses or water beds
- Camping beds or car beds
- Cushions (chairs, couches or furniture)
- Used mattress toppers
- Used Mattress pads
- Pillows or sleeping bags
- Sofa beds and futons
- Collapsible roll-away beds
OPTION 3: Sell Your Mattress
If your mattress is lightly used and still in good condition, why not try to sell it? You could not only put the extra income towards your new mattress, but you could also be helping out someone that can’t afford a brand new mattress. Additionally, you are making a smart monetary decision by getting a return on your initial investment. There are plenty of ways to find a new home for your old mattress that take little to no work and zero investment on your end.
Craigslist is a popular classified online posting website and is available in nearly every city in the United States. It is fairly easy to post an ad in your local area for free by offering to sell your gently used mattress and anyone interested in buying can get in touch with you through the site. Make sure to take an attractive picture to entice buyers and make sure you have someone with you when the customer visits for safety!
Facebook Marketplace is another great way to post your mattress or other furniture items for sale. On Marketplace, you can find local people looking to buy a used mattress at a cheaper cost than purchasing a brand new one. You can also make the post public and it will be seen by others in your area and in your larger network of mutual friends and family. Make sure to upload a nice picture and respond quickly for faster selling.
Letgo is a mobile app that you can quickly post an image of your mattress and how much you want for it and it will be shown to people in your area that have this application. You can message back and forth thru the app and agree upon a final price and meeting location. LetGo allows you to connect your Facebook and Google accounts so that anything you post will also be posted to your personal profile. This will also show up in your Facebook Marketplace profile.
When considering whether to sell your old mattress or donate it, it’s best to follow the Golden Rule. If you wouldn’t want to sleep on it, then it’s likely not good enough for anyone else either. If it has bed bugs it needs to be destroyed, not given away or sold. Your best bet may simply be professional mattress disposal.
OPTION 4: Give Your Mattress Away
Why not reach out to your friends and family to see if anyone is in need of a new-to-them mattress. Just because you are ready for a new mattress a few years before its end date doesn’t mean you need to throw it away. This is the ideal opportunity to give your mattress to someone else that needs it without having to stress about how to recycle it.
Pass It On
You know those kids that just graduated? Yeah, they want your old mattress. College-aged kids and recently graduated young adults are the prime target for wanting free stuff and a new-to-them mattress is a goldmine. Most likely they will probably be able to upgrade to a better mattress in just a few years, so a used one with a few years left is perfect for their situation.
Hand It Down
Rather than buying your teenager a new bed, why not upgrade your own and pass yours down. Now that your child is ready to sleep in a bigger bed, but you don’t want to fork over the money for a brand new mattress, letting them have your old one is a perfect solution for the whole family. Plus they will thank you for your decision and love their new upgrade!
Use In Guest Room
Instead of getting rid of your used mattress, move it to the guest room. Now that you are upgrading your own mattress situation, why not go ahead and make that guest room a little bit more comfortable. Instead of using an air mattress you can now make your guests feel a bit more at home on trips by staying in an actual bed.
Find A New Home
Check with your neighborhood association, Facebook group or LinkedIn group to find out if anyone in your area needs a new mattress, it could be an easy way to get it removed from your home without much work. Feel free to posts signs on the community board if allowed.
OPTION 5: Fix Up Your Mattress
Are you wanting a new mattress, but maybe it’s not quite in the budget yet? It’s understandable that you are so ready to get rid of the old mattress you can’t stand, but have you gone through all the possibilities for fixing it up? You just may be able to fix your mattress enough to get a few more good years out of it.
Gel Mattress Pads: Add a gel mattress topper or pad for a cool to the touch improvement. Simply unroll to fit your mattress exactly, while still allowing your mattress pad and sheets to fit nicely over everything — and the bed is much more comfortable and can even help reduce heat and sweating during your nights sleep.
Mattress Covers & Protectors: Adding a mattress cover and protector to your mattress could not only aid in fixing a sagging mattress by compressing it together but would also help keep your mattress clean as well as hiding any nasty stains. A mattress cover will also contribute to a more comfortable night’s sleep.
Under Mattress Helpers: These types of items are not very common at many stores, so you may not know about this product, but you can purchase props that you place underneath the exact areas of your mattress that is sagging. These are not 100% helpful but do offer some extra support when other options don’t do the trick.
Adding Mattress Support Pillows: Pillows are a great temporary fix and a cheaper option. This sagging mattress hack is to use any old pillows as under-mattress helpers when you feel your mattress sagging. Whether you use two cheap bed pillows or buy new pillows and use your old ones, lift up your mattress and place one under each side of the mattress.
Replace Cardboard or Plywood: Wooden parts that are part of your bed frame may be old and broken in. You can either place another piece of plywood underneath the mattress or replace the current one. This will help correct the bed frames role to play in correcting any of your sagging mattress and support issues.
Add Carpet Gripping Sheets: Adding carpet gripping sheets under the sagging areas can help keep your mattress in place. Carpet grip is thin so you won’t be able to feel it, but it also has good grip to not allow the mattress to move out of place above it. These are available in nearly every department store or your local home improvement shop.
Replacing Old Box Springs: New box springs under your mattress will help to increase it’s lifespan and flatten out any sagging issues. To help your spring mattress stay comfortable, look for any damaged or compressed springs and replace them. You can easily replace box springs with new ones. Be aware that they do come in multiple sizes and you need to makes sure to choose box springs that match your mattress.
Replacing Frame Slats: These wooden slats come with your bed frame and are used in platform beds to support the mattress appropriately. Sometimes the wooden slats on your frame may become depressed in the middle and could result in the uneven surface of your mattress. You can easily fix the slats by installing new metal slats for a smooth surface.
Memory Foam Mattress Pads: Foam mattress pads can help to make your bed more comfortable in cases of minor issues, depression, and aching backs. I recommend using waterproof and machine-washable mattress pads that are also hypoallergenic. Be sure to wash these too on a regular basis or as needed.
OPTION 6: Repurpose Your Mattress
Another option you probably haven’t considered is in using the materials that make up your mattress in other products. Just because the materials are no longer needed in the old, worn out mattress, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still good. The mattress materials that have a longer life-span than the mattress itself are the steel inner-springs, box-springs, steel wire, coils, mattress foam, box-spring wood, foundation wood, fabrics, and fibers.
Inner-Springs & Steel Wire
Much of the steel wire used to make mattress inner-springs and box-springs is made from recycled scrap steel. Once the mattress is discarded, the steel wire can again be recycled, remelted, and poured into new steel.
Recycled Steel: Iron and steel are used widely in the construction of roads, railways, other infrastructure, appliances, and buildings. Most large modern structures, such as stadiums and skyscrapers, bridges, and airports, are supported by a steel skeleton. Even those with a concrete structure employ steel for reinforcing.
Get Creative with steel: Artists today use it to build everything from sculptures of animals and people, to abstract pieces that include scrap metal, and basic home or wall décor. Artists can also turn parts of your everyday home into a work of art, by creating steel designs for fences and gates, for stair railings, and more.
Mattress Foam & Stuffing
Most mattresses contain polyurethane foam made from the oil from renewable plants like soy, castor beans, and other natural oil sources. Similarly, plant-based latex can be used to make latex foam used in mattresses.
Recycled Foam: Can be used as biomass fuel for a renewable energy source to heat homes. Currently, there are studies underway on how to easily convert used foams back into polyols for new polyurethanes.
Get Creative with Foam: once removed from a used mattress, polyurethane foam can be ground up, mixed with binders and formed into the foam padding used underneath wall-to-wall carpets and in other cushioning applications. You could even make a pet bed out of your unneeded foam. More foam mattress reuse projects.
Box Foundational Wood
Most wood used to make box-springs (also called foundations) is from common, non-endangered tree species – like spruce, pine and fir – grown in certified renewable forests.
Recycled Wood: After a box-spring is no longer useful, the wood can be chipped and used as animal bedding, landscaping mulch or biomass fuel as a waste-to-energy production. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, you could have a bonfire!
Get Creative with Wood: What is Pinterest for if it isn’t for thousands of ways to use recycled wood to create something new and beautiful for your home. You can use it as scrap material in home projects such as signs or recovering furniture. You could even make a funky headboard or nail them together and glue corks over the top to make a cool earring display.
Mattress Fabrics & Fibers
A number of renewable plant and animal fibers – including cotton, wool, silk, sisal and coconut fibers – are used in mattresses. Another renewable fiber is rayon, which is made from wood and other cellulosic plant fibers. Other textiles and fibers used in mattresses are made from recycled materials.
Recycled Fibers: You can then donate these fibers to clothing stores, thrift shops or art communities. These fibers can also be reused as insulation or filters.
Get Creative with Fibers: You can learn to sew and make clothing and kitchen towels. A very popular type of art is called fiber art that would be a great way to use these materials. View these fiber art products on Etsy to get an idea of different art that has been made with fibers.
**Disassembling a mattress can be dangerous due to sharp objects. Be careful and proceed with caution.
OPTION 7: Hire A Disposal Pro
In the end, it seems like a lot of work and a huge hassle to get rid of your old, used and unwanted mattress. And the last thing you want to do is dump your mattress on the curb, in an empty parking lot, or behind a local business after hours.
Now you can save time, effort and the environment when getting rid of your old mattresses. This means it is time to hire a Mattress Removal Pro to do the work for you.
LoadUp Junk Removal
LoadUp is a nationwide mattress disposal and junk removal service that offers up-front pricing and easy online booking. It’s simple to schedule your pick up with dedicated six day a week disposal and recycling in over 160+ US cities. All you have to do is call or book online the day before you want service to receive an appointment time slot.
- 250 + Local Driver Teams
- 160 + Nationwide Cities Covered
- 43,500 + Junk Items Removed
- 29,000 + happy Customers Served
- 2.5 Million + Pounds Diverted From Landfills
Reasons to Hire Our Professionals
Our uniformed pick up specialists are fully licensed and insured to enter your home. On arrival they do all the heavy lifting including pick up, hauling and delivery to a recycling center. Most junk removal companies either charge too much or won’t take a single mattress or box spring, but we will! View Pricing ❯
Not only will we take just one mattress, but we will also haul away other furniture or couch items if needed. Remember, the earth doesn’t want your old mattress, but we do! What We Take ❯
Book Mattress Disposal Online
Mattress Disposal Customer Reviews
Find out why customers prefer LoadUp Junk Removal when it comes to professional, affordable and responsible mattress disposal services. Our dedicated support team is committed to making your disposal experience with us as easy as possible.
OPTION 8: Dump It Yourself “DIY”
Dumping your old mattress is definitely Not Recommended, nor do we condone disposing of a mattress in this fashion. This creates an eyesore for the community and doesn’t solve any problems except taking it off your hands in exchange for forcing someone else who is more responsible to take time, effort and cover any costs to deal with disposal properly.
Let’s not forget about the environmental impact your actions can have. Mattresses are built with so many harmful products to our environment that they actually can create hazardous pollution that is bad for the earth and sustainability. And dumping your old mattress in a landfill is just as bad as as by the curb. Think of the all the waste workers are now having to deal with that contribute to chemical runoff from a degraded mattress.
Before you dump your old, used and unwanted mattress please consider these facts when improperly disposing of your mattress:
- Mattress are filled with nasty chemicals.
- Chemical runoff can contaminate landfills and local water supplies.
- Each mattress take up an average of 23 cubic feet of landfill space.
- Over 20 million mattresses end up in landfills every year.
Doing The Right Thing!
Dumping your mattress improperly is illegal and just plain bad for the community and our planet. Please try to do your best to be responsible and try out any of the other available options listed in this mattress disposal guide at all costs.
If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us and our dedicated LoadUp support team will always help you with finding the right mattress disposal solution that’s best for you!
General FAQ: Mattress Disposal
How do you throw out a mattress?
The best options for eco-friendly mattress disposal include donation, recycling, selling, give it away, repair or repurpose it, or you can hire a local junk removal pro. Throwing a mattress in a dumpster is not an environmentally responsible way to get rid of a mattress.
Can you take mattress to the dump?
In most areas, mattresses are not allowed in dumpsters or require an additional processing fee. If you need to get rid of a single mattress or a large amount of mattresses, check out our full mattress disposal guide for every option available for your old mattress and box springs. Call our friendly customer support team to learn more about what you can throw into a dumpster near you. The dump is not ideal for disposing of only one mattress.
Can you throw a mattress in a dumpster?
You cannot throw a mattress in a dumpster unless it is allowed in your area. In some cases, there may be a fee for each mattress to cover the cost of breaking them down before they’re either recycled or landfilled.
Who takes old mattresses?
Habitat for Humanity and The Salvation Army accepts mattress donations in most local areas, just schedule a time for one of their trucks to pick your old mattress up. Many local charities, homeless shelters and domestic violence centers would be happy to give a mattress to a family in need.
Where can I donate mattresses?
If your unwanted mattress is still in usable condition, you might want to consider donating your used mattress to someone in need or donating to a local charity. There are many charitable organizations that would be happy to receive a lightly used mattress such as homeless shelters and domestic violence centers. You could donate your unwanted bed to help a family that has lost everything in a fire, earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disasters. You can rest easy knowing your former bed is helping someone less fortunate have a good night’s sleep.
Nationwide charities that accept mattress donations are: Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and the Furniture Bank Association of North America.
Does the city dump take mattresses?
There are some municipalities that will remove bulk junk items along with your regular trash pickup or on a regular schedule such a monthly bulk item pickup day. This is not common in the majority of cities, and some will even go so far as to give you a warning or a fine when you place a used mattress or kitchen appliance curbside.
If you don’t want to wait until your bulk item collection date or if that is not available in your city, there are other options for getting rid of your old mattress. This includes booking a locally-sourced, independent driver with LoadUp, who will come into your home and remove any item, all without you lifting a finger!
How do you dispose of a mattress?
If your mattress is no longer usable or in good enough condition to give to someone else, the best option for disposing of your old mattress is recycling. Throwing your old mattress in the landfill is bad for the environment, but to help create a safer earth start by recycling your old, used or unwanted mattress.
Call your local recycling center or city hall to find out where you will need to drop the mattress off or hire a local junk removal pro to responsibly dispose of the mattress for you.