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How to Properly Dispose of a Mattress

Updated on November 7, 2013
Mattresses in a landfill
Mattresses in a landfill

What Should I Do With This Old Mattress?

If you are not sure what to do with your old mattress, don't send it to the dump! You probably didn't know this, but you can recycle your old mattress. Twenty million mattresses a year are thrown away. Most of them are on there way to landfills. It takes takes over fifty years to decompose an old mattress. Over the past couple of decades recycling all kinds of items including mattresses has become easier and more common. If you look on the Internet you can find a local place that will take your mattress donation.

Making donations
Making donations


The first step is to see if you can find someone else who can use the old mattress. This gives the mattress a second life. If you don't know anyone who could use the old mattress try looking up local places that are accepting donations. These places send your old mattresses to families in need to the homeless and even veterans. You will need to check to make sure that they are accepting the mattress size and are currently taking donations. Some of these places will even pick them up for you. Others you might need to drop them off. This all depends on where you live and the organizations.

What happens to your mattress when it is recycled

Mattress recycling center
Mattress recycling center

Recycling centers

At your local Mattress recycling center. Workers expertly dismantle your old mattress and reuse the materials for other things. They separate the foam, fabric, wood and springs and use what they can to make new mattresses. The leftovers get sent to other places to be reused

Taking apart a mattress
Taking apart a mattress

DIY mattress recycling

Another option is to take apart the mattress yourself. This takes a lot of work but it pays off and you might even make some money. To do this you will need to be very careful. The supplies you will need are listed below.

  • Box cutter
  • Thick gloves
  • Bucket for staples,nails and other small parts

Once you have these things you can get started. The first step is to cut the sides so you can remove the top of the fabric. Remove the staples as you go. Keep cutting and separating the different materials. You want to unwrap the mattress like a present. Put these materials into different piles. You will need piles for, foam, wood, fabric and metal pieces. When you reach the springs and metal inside do not try to pull them out, unwrap the other layers around it instead this is safer.

What to do with the different materials

It is much easier to dispose of these materials separately than it is to get rid of a whole mattress. The wood can be up-cycled or recycled. The metal can be up-cycled or taken to a metal scrap yard. The foam can look for places that recycle polyurethane foam or you can use the padding to make something new like floor cushions. The fabric can be used for all kinds of projects. If you do not want the fabric you can post it online and someone will gladly take it off your hands. Some people even pay for large amounts of scrap fabrics.

Taking apart a mattress

Taking it back to the mattress store
Taking it back to the mattress store


Some places that sell mattresses will take your old one and get rid of it for you. Some of these places are mattress stores, furniture stores and big retail stores. This is an easy way to get rid of an old mattress. Make sure you know what they do with the mattresses. Some places ship them off to landfills and this is exactly what we are trying to prevent. Other places will send them to recycling centers where the parts are separated reused and recycled. You may need to pay for them to take it. Not everywhere does this but some do. It is best to check the policies and costs before you drop off a mattress.

Mattress recycling

Would you rather take apart your mattress or send it to a recycling center

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    • Shiley profile image

      Karen Shiley 4 years ago from Washington

      If I hadn't read your article I probably never would have thought about recycling my old mattress. It is a great idea to keep these large items out of our landfills!