How to Dispose of Your Unwanted Mattress (The Green Way)
Did you know that 20 million mattresses go into the landfill each year? To put into perspective, that is enough mattresses to circle the earth. Yikes.
For an item purchased roughly every 10 years, it’s not surprising people have no clue how to get rid of it when it reaches the end of its life. The general assumption is to leave it on the curb for your city’s bulk waste pickup to deal with. Unfortunately, that’s illegal in most places.
So what do you do?
There are options (that don’t involve the landfill)!
First, assess the condition of your mattress.
Does it have any rips or stains? If the answer is no, you should consider donating your mattress. If the answer is yes, consider recycling your mattress. After all, up to 80% of the materials in a mattress can be recycled.
According to Daniel Fogarty, founder of Beds for Kids, most charities will only accept mattresses that are eight years or younger. Some charities will not accept mattress donations at all. That’s because if you’ve had your mattress for more than 5 years, there are most definitely dust mites, bacteria, and other microorganisms that have crept their way into your mattress layers – no matter how clean you think you are. In fact, the average person sweats out half a pint of perspiration every night. Yeah, gross.
If you are interested in donating your mattress, simply call the local charity in your area to ask if they receive mattress donations.
Both of these options are just as simple as taking your old, lumpy mattress to the dump – not to mention, it’s better for the planet.
Why you should avoid the landfill at all cost:
- Mattresses don’t compact well.
- They take up space (FYI: the amount of mattresses dumped each year could circle the earth)
- When a mattress sits in a landfill, it can cause flammable air pockets within its layers.
- They often get caught in equipment, causing damage and imposing costs.
- Some mattresses contain materials made with non-biodegradable chemicals that can seep into drinking water.
On the other hand, a recycled mattress can be repurposed into a variety of household items. For example, mulch, yarn, carpet underlay and even clothes.
If you are interested in recycling your mattress, find locations to recycle near you.
A word of caution
There is the option to call a junk removal service such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK and College Hunks Hauling Junk. Just make sure to call and ask where they take the mattresses in your area. Oftentimes, they take them to the landfill – which we are trying to avoid! However, sometimes they DO recycle. Just make sure you know where your bed is going, and try to avoid the landfill at all costs!