Regardless of the underlying reason, investing in a new mattress means you need to get rid of your old one. There are a variety of mattress disposal methods: discarding, donating, selling, or recycling. The right choice for you depends on a few variables, like the condition of your mattress, your location, and local disposal, donation, and recycling facilities. Below, we’ll dive into some of the options for getting rid of your mattress, so you can make way for a new one.
Why Getting Rid of Your Mattress is Difficult
Electronics, batteries, and mattresses are some of the most difficult items to dispose of properly. There are rules for throwing them away, and you can’t toss them out with your regular trash. And that’s why you often see these objects discarded along the road because that’s an “easy” answer. However, enlightened readers, there is a better way!
Although you’ll have to do a little research to discover whether or not you can sell, recycle, or donate your old mattress in your specific area, it’s worth the effort. You can help ensure that your used mattress doesn’t end up as roadside pollution that negatively impacts the surrounding environment. Most mattress materials aren’t biodegradable, so they’ll slowly rot away in urban and rural environments until someone else cleans it up. Don’t be that person! Instead, follow our guide to better options for dealing with your old mattress below.
Sell Your Mattress
If you want to try and recoup some of the cost of your old mattress, you may be able to sell it. However, it’s important to note that not all states allow you to re-sell your mattress. Other states do allow it, but only under the condition that it’s been cleaned rigorously. You’ll need to verify with your local governing bodies that selling your mattress is legal before slapping a “For Sale” tag on it. These laws and regulations are designed to protect consumers from getting used mattresses that are dirty, contaminated, or misrepresented in the sale copy in any way.
Although it might be tempting to create a listing for your used mattress on eBay and other similar sites, a wider net of potential consumers isn’t worth the shipping costs if the buyer lives across the country. Stick to local marketplaces and consider leveraging social media to post about your available mattress. Websites and apps like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and OfferUp are good places to start.
Before you sell your mattress, make sure you take the time to properly clean it – even if it “looks” clean to the naked eye. Dust, hair, and other particles often settle into the crevices of your mattress. You can use a steam cleaner in addition to vacuuming the surface to sanitize the mattress. Sprinkling baking soda onto the mattress is another good idea to fully deodorize it.
If you’re going to be listing your used mattress on a website or app, make sure you provide honest details about its condition that answers the questions below.
- Does it come from a smoke-free home?
- Does it come from a pet-free home?
- Did it have a full mattress encasement covering it?
- Is the mattress still under warranty?
- How old is the mattress?
- What brand is the mattress?
Donate Your Mattress
If your mattress is still in good shape and doesn’t have any rips, stains, frayed areas, or other signs of major wear, it could be a good contender for donation. Besides its outward appearance, the mattress will also need to be less than 5 to 7 years old.
When you’re trying to figure out how to donate your mattress, remember that not all charities will accept used mattresses because of the risk of bed bugs and other health issues. Charities that do accept mattress donations will each have their own standards for accepting it. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind when donating your mattress that are generally applicable across all charity groups.
- Infestations and sanitary issues: If your mattress had bed bugs, mold, or other issues, don’t donate your mattress.
- Structural issues: Bent coils, metal sticking out, major lumpiness, and other mattress disfigurements will automatically disqualify your mattress from being eligible for donation.
- Surface issues: Large holes and even small ones are typically a no-go for charities.
- Stains: If a mattress has stains from spilled food or wine, it shouldn’t be donated. In addition, if the mattress is simply discolored from use, that’s another sign you’ll need to consider either tossing it (properly) or recycling it.
Remember, always call the charity before transporting the mattress to verify they accept used mattresses in good condition.
Recycle your Mattress
Around 20 million mattresses get dumped in landfills each year despite the fact that 80% to 90% of mattresses are recyclable. Much like selling and donating your mattress, the feasibility of recycling your mattress is limited by your location, and the local regulations governing it. Some states, like Connecticut, California, and Rhode Island, have legislation that makes mattress recycling free or low-cost thanks to local programs.
Besides those three states specifically, there are more than 20 other states that offer at least one mattress recycling center. Sometimes, these recycling centers will accept mattresses as-is and offer pick-up services.
Here are a few databases you can check if you’re struggling to find a recycling facility:
Another option is taking recycling into your own hands. You can usually break down a mattress and box spring yourself, which allows you to recycle individual components. Again, it’s important to verify what materials a recycling center takes before taking on this DIY project.
An additional method for breaking down your mattress is by upcycling it. You can re-use many foams for padding or insulation, break down the wood for mulch, or repurpose parts of the mattress for art.
If you’re in an area without mattress recycling, some mattress retailers will take your old mattress and recycle it for you. You’ll need to inquire about this option with the business, however.
Dispose of Your Mattress
If you decide to toss your mattress that’s not in a condition to be sold or donated, it’s time to review your disposal options.
One option is renting a dumpster. The benefits of the dumpster method include only needing to move the mattress once, and you can toss any other larger items simultaneously. However, not all cities and towns allow mattresses in dumpsters. In some cases, you’ll be charged an additional processing fee to dispose of it.
In some municipalities, curbside collection services will take used mattresses during weekly service or on certain days, often dubbed, “heavy trash days.” There are typically rules regarding what kind of trash you can put out for these special collections and in what condition, so make sure you do your homework. Often, you’ll need to wrap your mattress in plastic and seal it shut.
Unfortunately, curbside mattress removal is not available in all areas. And, even if it is, you’ll need to keep that old mattress somewhere until collection day rolls around – which can be an issue if you’re short on space because your new mattress is already in your home. Additionally, there may be a fee for using this service.
If you don’t want to rent an entire dumpster and your city doesn’t offer mattress pick-ups, you can also use a private company that specializes in junk removal. They will come to your home, pick up your old mattress, and haul it away for you. Prices will vary among these companies, so it’s well worth the time to shop and compare for the best deal.
Invest in a New Mattress
After you’ve said goodbye to your old mattress, it’s time to invest in a mattress that properly supports your body and helps you get a great night of sleep like a memory foam mattress. You’ll need to make sure that you do a little research, so you understand basic differences between different mattress types like memory foam vs. hybrid, for instance. If you want to enjoy years of a like-new mattress, consider purchasing a quality mattress protector to ward off stains and pests. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free mattress removal and on your way to a better night of sleep.