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How To Dispose of Your Mattress: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

Are you in need of a new mattress? Or perhaps you’re just looking to upgrade your current one? Whatever the reason, knowing how to dispose of your mattress properly is important. Simply leaving it on the curb or throwing it in the trash is not the best solution. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various options available for mattress disposal, from using mattress recycling programs to donating to throwing it away. We’ll also provide tips on how to determine when it’s time to replace your mattress and how to find the right method of disposal for your specific situation.

Signs it’s Time for a New Mattress

Before diving into the different methods of mattress disposal, it’s essential to recognize when it’s time to replace your current mattress. While the general lifespan of a mattress is around eight years, several factors can affect this timeline. Some signs that indicate it’s time for a new mattress include:

  • Sagging: If your mattress has noticeable sagging or indentations, it may no longer provide proper support.
  • Wear and Tear: Rips, tears, or broken coils can impact the functionality and comfort of your mattress.
  • Odors: Lingering odors, especially those caused by spills or accidents, are difficult to eliminate and can affect your sleep quality.
  • Changes in Sleep Quality: If you wake up tired, experiencing aches and pains, or having difficulty falling and staying asleep, it may be time for a new mattress.
  • Partner Disturbance: If you’re noticing your partner’s movements more than before, it might mean your mattress isn’t stopping motion like it should.
  • Allergies: Mattresses can accumulate allergens over time, leading to increased allergies and discomfort.
  • Lumps and Hammocking: Uneven surfaces or areas where the mattress sags excessively can affect your sleep and spinal alignment.
  • Noise: If your mattress squeaks, creaks, or makes noise when you move, it may be a sign of worn-out components.

Keep these signs in mind as we explore the various options for disposing of your old mattress.

Option 1: Recycling

Recycling your mattress is one of the best and most environmentally friendly disposal methods. Recycling prevents the mattress from ending up in a landfill and allows its components to be repurposed. In fact, approximately 80-90% of most mattresses can be recycled. Here’s how you can recycle your mattress:

  • Research Local Recycling Programs: Conduct a brief Google search with your ZIP code to locate mattress recycling services nearby. Look for programs that offer pickup services or drop-off locations.
  • Check State Recycling Laws: Some states, such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California, have robust mattress recycling laws and programs that make disposal easy. Familiarize yourself with your state’s specific regulations and requirements.
  • Utilize Online Resources: Websites like Earth911 and Bye Bye Mattress provide comprehensive databases of recycling centers and programs across North America.
  • Contact Municipal Offices: Reach out to your city’s municipal offices responsible for trash and recycling to inquire about local recycling programs. They may have information on mattress recycling facilities in your area.
  • Recycling Fees: Remember that some recycling programs may charge a small fee for pickup or drop-off services. Research the costs associated with each option.

By recycling your mattress, you’re reducing waste and contributing to the circular economy by allowing valuable materials to be reused.

Option 2: Donation

If your mattress is still in good condition, donating it to a local charity or organization is a great way to help those in need. However, it’s important to ensure that your mattress meets the donation criteria set by these organizations. Here’s how to donate your mattress:

  • Check Donation Guidelines: Contact local charities, such as the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Catholic Charities, and Furniture Bank Association of America, to see if they accept mattress donations. Each organization has its own guidelines regarding acceptable mattresses.
  • Verify Condition Standards: Ensure your mattress is in good condition and free of infestations, major structural problems, rips, tears, and stains. Some organizations may have specific requirements for mattress condition.
  • Schedule Pickup or Drop-off: Arrange for pickup or drop-off of your mattress according to the organization’s instructions. Some organizations offer free pickup services, while others may require you to transport the mattress.
  • Explore Local Shelters: Reach out to local shelters, including homeless shelters and women’s shelters, to see if they accept mattress donations. These organizations often have a high demand for bedding.

Donating your mattress helps someone in need and reduces waste by extending the mattress’s lifespan.

Option 3: Reselling or Giving Away

If your mattress is still in good shape, but you’re unable to donate it, consider reselling it or giving it away. This option allows you to find someone who may benefit from a used mattress. Here’s how you can resell or give away your mattress:

  • Social Media Platforms: Use social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, NextDoor, and Craigslist to advertise your mattress for sale or for free. Take clear pictures, provide accurate descriptions, and specify the price or that it’s free.
  • Local Networks: Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances to see if anyone is in need of a mattress. Word-of-mouth can often lead to finding someone interested in purchasing or taking your mattress.
  • Community Bulletin Boards: Post flyers at local schools, coffee shops, community centers, or universities to spread the word about your mattress. Include relevant details like size, condition, and contact information.
  • Local Businesses and Institutions: Contact hotels, hospitals, universities, or homeless shelters in your area to inquire if they are in need of a used mattress or if they can direct you to recycling or donation resources.

Reselling or giving away your mattress ensures that it finds a new home instead of contributing to landfill waste.

Option 4: Repurposing

If you enjoy DIY projects and want to get creative, repurposing your old mattress can be a fun and sustainable option. You can give it a second life by breaking down the mattress and using its components for various purposes. Here are some repurposing ideas for your old mattress:

  • Recycling Mattress Components: Disassemble the mattress and separate its components, such as steel springs, polyurethane foam, memory foam, natural fibers, latex foam, wooden parts, nails, and screws. Recycle these materials at local recycling centers or scrap metal recyclers.
  • Home Projects: Use the foam and cotton from your old mattress for home projects like carpet padding, insulation, filters, seat cushions, pet bedding, or pillows.
  • Gardening: Repurpose wooden parts of your mattress for gardening. Shred the wooden slats for lawn mulch or use them to create a compost bin.
  • Arts and Crafts: Get creative with the fabric from your old mattress. Use it to make rugs, cut memory foam into cleaning sponges, or repurpose screws and nails for arts and crafts projects.
  • Decoration: Meltdown coils and springs to create unique objects like plant holders, candle holders, ornaments, or bird feeders.

Repurposing your old mattress allows you to tap into your creativity while reducing waste and giving your mattress a new purpose.

Option 5: Properly Throwing It Away

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If none of the earlier choices work for your mattress, the final option is to dispose of it. However, following proper disposal guidelines is crucial to avoid fines and contribute to landfill waste. Here’s what you need to know about throwing away your mattress:

  • Research Local Regulations: Check the rules and regulations regarding mattress disposal in your specific state, city, or town. Some areas prohibit curbside disposal of mattresses or have specific requirements, such as wrapping the mattress in plastic.
  • Monthly Heavy Trash Days: Find out if your municipality designates specific days for disposing of large items like mattresses. Take advantage of these designated days to ensure proper disposal.
  • Waste Disposal Services: Private waste disposal services specialize in collecting and disposing of items that can’t be thrown in regular trash. Look up waste disposal services nearby to explore choices for getting rid of your mattress.
  • Mattress Hauling by New Mattress Companies: Some mattress companies offer mattress hauling services when you purchase a new mattress from them. Inquire about this service and associated fees during your new mattress purchase.

Throwing away your mattress should be your last resort, but if it’s necessary, make sure to follow local regulations and dispose of a mattress responsibly.


Can I throw my mattress in the regular trash?

No, throwing your mattress in regular trash is generally not recommended. Mattresses are bulky and can take up valuable space in landfills. Many areas have specific disposal regulations for mattresses to reduce their environmental impact.

How much does mattress disposal cost?

The cost of mattress disposal can vary depending on the method you choose. Some options, like donating or recycling, might be free or have a nominal fee. Professional removal services or renting a dumpster can incur higher costs.

Can a mattress be recycled?

Yes, mattresses can be recycled. Many mattress components, such as springs, foam, and fabric, can be processed and repurposed. Contact local recycling centers or waste management facilities to learn about mattress recycling options in your area.

Is mattress donation a good option?

Donating your mattress to charitable organizations or shelters is a great option if it’s still in good condition. Many people in need could benefit from a usable mattress, and it prevents unnecessary waste.

What should I do before recycling a mattress?

Before recycling a mattress, check with your local recycling center to understand their guidelines. Some centers might require you to drop off the mattress, while others offer pickup services. Also, remove any bedding or covers from the mattress before recycling.

Are there regulations for mattress disposal?

Yes, there are regulations for mattress disposal in many areas. These rules are usually there to promote responsible handling of waste and lower the environmental effects of mattresses. Research local laws or guidelines to ensure you’re disposing of your mattress properly.

Conclusion – How To Dispose of Your Mattress

When it comes to disposing of your old mattress, several options are available. Recycling, donating, reselling or giving away, repurposing, and proper waste disposal service are all viable methods depending on the condition of your mattress and local regulations. Choosing the most suitable method ensures that your old mattress finds a new purpose and contributes to a more sustainable future. Remember to assess the condition of your mattress, explore local donation options, and research recycling programs or waste disposal services in your area. Proper disposal allows you to make room for a new mattress while minimizing your environmental impact.


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