How to Dispose of a Mattress

Peter Chambers

Mar 10, 2023

how to dispose of a mattress

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Getting rid of an old mattress might not sound like a big deal until you realize you can’t just throw it out with the regular trash pickup. Knowing how to dispose of a mattress so it’s safe for everyone without spending a fortune requires a little research. 

Tips for How to Dispose of a Mattress

Several states have mandatory mattress recycling laws, where mattress manufacturers must take back used mattresses and recycle them. While some would like to see federal legislation to take care of the problem of what to do with used mattresses, unless you live in California, Rhode Island or Connecticut. 

What can you do if you have to figure out how to dispose of a mattress you no longer need?

1. Talk to the Retailer

Are you in the process of buying a new mattress? Some companies offer free pickup of your old mattress for a small fee or free, depending on what you’re purchasing. They may have specific requirements, such as fully wrapping the item in plastic. 

2. Recycle Your Old Mattress

The United States has around 56 recycling centers for transforming an old mattress into reusable parts. Finding one near you might be a bit of a challenge. However, many of the parts are reusable, particularly older beds with wooden frames and box springs. 

Call your local recycling centers to see what they have available. You could also tear the old mattress down and recycle the various parts on your own and dispose of the ones that aren’t recyclable. 

Pull back the mattress cover and see what is underneath. If you own a memory foam mattress, then you may have fewer available parts to recycle. 

3. Offer It for Free

Does the old mattress still have a bit of life left? You can always list it on a “Buy Nothing” group on social media or a site such as Craigslist. Some people will tear it down and recycle the pieces to make a few bucks, while others will take the mattress for their home.

New mattresses can be expensive, so getting one for free that has a few years of life left in it may be worth it to those who are on a tight budget. 

You may be able to donate a mattress to an organization. Call and see which ones have the ability to refurbish old mattresses and give them new life. Some areas don’t allow it due to health concerns, but others are happy to take these items and reuse them. 

4. Keep It and Repurpose It

Another option might be to repurpose the mattress for another use. Can you give it a waterproof cover and use it as a sleeping area on a back porch? Perhaps your basement needs a guest bed? Could your large dog use a comfortable place to sleep?

Around 50,000 mattresses get discarded every day in the United States, contributing to growing problems with overcrowding at landfills. If you think you might have a use for your old mattress or know someone who does, keep it rather than disposing of it. 

Tear the mattress apart and use the wood to build something and the foam to stuff a dog bed or chair. Get creative with repurposing an old mattress.

5. Rent or Borrow a Truck

If all else fails, you can send the mattress to your local landfill. Call your trash pickup service and ask what they offer. Some will pick up heavy trash every month on a specific day for an added fee. Others require you to break the bed down or put it in plastic. 

You could also rent or borrow a truck and take the mattress to a landfill yourself, assuming they accept mattresses. Always call ahead and find out. While sending even more to the local landfill isn’t a great idea, sometimes it can’t be avoided as you’re updating your home and buying something you truly need. 

Ask Others How They Dispose of Their Mattresses

You should also reach out to people in your area and find out how to dispose of a mattress. Some might have a need for your old mattress and others will know a company that hauls away or the ins and outs of local trash pickup for bulk items. The more information you have, the easier it is to decide which option is best for your mattress disposal needs. 


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