How to dispose of a mattress in the US and the UK – Tom’s Guide

Learning how to dispose of a mattress isnt hard and there are now more ways than ever to do it without harming the planet. The very best mattresses are designed to last around eight years on average (some have a longer lifespan), which means that at various points in your life youll be faced with getting rid of an old mattress to make way for a new one. Here we look at how to dispose of a mattress in the US and the UK, with options for free disposal, recycling, and charity donation.

The good news is that there are several environmentally friendly ways to dispose of a mattress. For example, you could donate your mattress to charity, depending on the condition its in, or break it down into individual components for recycling or upcycling into various household and garden objects.

Well also look at how to get rid of an old mattress that has seen better days, and highlight the places where you can dispose of a mattress for free. Dont forget that if you are buying a mattress in a box, the brand may offer an old mattress disposal or removal service, which will save you having to do it yourself.

When getting rid of a mattress whether its a hybrid, organic, spring or memory foam mattress the first thing to do is look at its condition and check your warranty. If yours is covered by a Forever Warranty, you may be entitled to free repairs or an upgrade. For guidance, check out our feature on how mattress warranties work.

The key thing to remember is that a mattress cannot be reused for sleeping if it is in any way unfit to snooze on. That includes if:

If it isnt fit for its original purpose (sleeping), then it may still be able to be recycled. In the US, the Mattress Recycling Council claims that more than 80% of mattresses can be recycled, so this should be your first consideration before heading to the dump.

However, if it really is the end of the road and it absolutely cannot be recycled, then it should be properly disposed of at your local dump. If you need to hire transport to do this, then its worth teaming up with other people too, so you can fill the vehicle and remove several large items at once, reducing your carbon footprint.

Another way to get rid of an old mattress is to break it down and dispose of the components separately. Check the regulations in your local area with regards to the proper disposal of materials such as metal.

If you do break it down, you might be surprised at what you will find. Quite often the components can be upcycled and used around the home look online for creative ideas, such as bird-feeders made with bedsprings!

If your mattress definitely no longer serves its purpose as a place for sleeping, you should still be able to recycle it. This will involve taking the mattress apart and retrieving the separate components such as fabric, foam and metal, so that each part can be reused for other purposes. This could be within pet beds or vehicle seats. Cool, huh?

If you are able to break down the mattress yourself, then it might be easier and cheaper to take each part to a recycling centre. If this is not possible, look online to see if theres a recycling centre near you, and how much it will cost for them to take your mattress and separate it for you. Some companies will also pick up your mattress as part of the disposal process.

Another way to recycle your mattress and recoup some of the costs is to break it down home and sell the parts for scrap. Or, if you are a creative type, repurpose/upcycle the components for use in craft projects and upholstery solutions.

There are many charities and non-profit organizations that accept mattress donations, and some will pick up too. If you do choose to donate your mattress, first consider whether you would sleep on it yourself. If you wouldnt, then it is not fit for donation.

Most donation centers and homeless shelters will take mattresses as long as they are fit for purpose. That means no stains, odors, rips or bedbugs. Also, if the mattress is sagging in the middle, it is generally not suitable.

Mattresses need to be safe too, so if you are trying to dispose of a mattress that hasnt been used for a very long time, check that the safety information on the label is still current.

While some organizations such as The Salvation Army and Goodwill do take larger items, not all of them take used mattresses. Check with your local branches to see if they can help. Its also worth offering your mattress for free on Craigslist, Facebook or FreeCycle.org to see if anybody is in need of it. The following are also good options:

There are several easy ways to donate your fit-for-purpose mattress in the UK, including on Gumtree, Facebook, and Freecycle. If you want to be sure your unwanted mattress is going to a charitable cause, the following are also excellent choices:

If you have found somewhere to donate or sell your mattress but need to deliver it yourself, there are several ways to do this. If the mattress really is unusable, even for recycling, then you might also need help taking it to the tip or dump.

There are plenty of junk removal services available but prices vary, so check out a few before you commit. You can also hire a van, which can be cost effective if you team up with others who also need to recycle or dispose of large items from their home.

If you do go with a junk removal service, check the guidelines with the company first as they may not take your old mattress if it smells, has dampness, mold or bed bugs. If this is the case, dry out or wrap the mattress before it is taken away.

If youre hiring a removal service to take your mattress to the recycling centre, its worth checking out the reputation of the company first to make sure theyre not just dumping your mattress in a field or road. Here is some extra information for removing your old mattress...

The best way to make sure you dont have to dispose of your mattress very often is to buy a good one that will last you for years to come. And if you can choose one with organic, biodegradable components, then thats even better.

While the initial cost is often a little higher when it comes to well-made mattresses, in the long run it will be more cost effective, especially when your mattress serves you well for eight or nine years. When shopping for a new mattress, check that it has a decent warranty, as that is a reliable indicator of long-lasting quality.

If youre on a budget, there are always plenty of offers and cheap mattress deals up for grabs, which could reduce the cost of a pricer but long-lasting model to within your budget. You could also extend its life by teaming it with the best mattress topper for instant comfort and support, and use a good mattress protector to keep it safe from stains and bugs.

Learning how to clean a mattress properly can also help it to last longer. Its also worth rotating it regularly if the manufacturer advises it - read our feature answering how often should you rotate your mattress for guidance.

Ultimately, when it comes to how to dispose of a mattress, the biggest thing to remember is this: if your mattress can be recycled properly, take the time to do so. Dumping a mattress and adding to landfill should always be the absolute last resort. It takes up to 120 years for a mattress to decompose, so try to avoid this at all costs. If youre not sure whether your mattress is recyclable, contact your local recycling centre for advice.

Today's best deals on long-lasting mattresses in the UK

Today's best deals on long-lasting mattresses in the US

For further better sleep products and advice, take a look at our best pillow for sleeping guide, or take a look at our round-up of early Black Friday mattress deals and what to expect.

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How to dispose of a mattress in the US and the UK - Tom's Guide

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