Some items are easy to recycle, like a plastic bottle or newspaper. Other things are a lot more difficult, simply because they probably won’t fit in your average recycling bin—like a king-size mattress, for instance.
Believe it or not, recycling your used mattress is easier than you think, but there’s often a common misconception that we should trash them. Who would want our old mattresses, anyway?
Turns out, plenty of people. From boxsprings to foam, mattresses contain valuable recyclable material which can be repurposed in a number of ways, including as carpeting and clothing.
If you’ve ever wanted to recycle your mattress, here are few ways you can accomplish it.
Contact a nearby bulk waste collection
If you want to recycle your mattress, you should find out which recycling facilities in your area actually accept used mattresses, using Bye Bye Mattress’ locator or Earth 911’s search. (If it’s next door, there’s no reason you can’t lug a mattress there yourself.)
Your next step is to do an online search for local bulk waste collection programs. These programs accept larger objects than your average trash and often require that you set up an appointment in advance.
Once you find a local bulk waste program, you should contact them to find out if mattresses are accepted and if they are brought to a recycling facility. If they offer a recycling option, they’ll haul it to a facility on your behalf. (It’s typically a free service, too.)
Often times, you might be responsible for sealing the mattress in a plastic bag to avoid bed bugs. You can usually find this plastic at hardware stores.
Find a junk removal service
If you’ve discovered that your bulk waste program doesn’t accept mattresses for recycling and disposes of them in the trash, your next step is to find a junk removal service.
You can do an online search for local junk removal companies or use a nationwide program like 1-800-GOT-JUNK and Load Up. Both programs will bring your mattresses to nearby recycling facilities or donate them. It should be noted that your mattress can’t be soiled, soaked, or bed-bug infested if you intend to recycle or donate it. In this case, you might have no choice but to let it find its sad way to a landfill.
This all will require a small fee—dependent on the weight of your mattress— or a per-item flat fee, according to Tuck (somewhere around $30 to $40).
Some states make it easier on you, too. California will allow any business or person to drop off old mattresses at facilities and provide you with a small financial incentive. (Statewide, California also charges a $10.50 fee when you buy a new mattress to fund its recycling program.)
Ask your replacement mattress company to haul it away
So you’ve found a new mattress! Often times, a company may offer to take your old mattress away. In these cases, request that the mattress is taken to a nearby recycling facility. You should inform them first that you’d like to use a haul-away option before they deliver your new mattress, as many companies may require prior notice. You may also be responsible for a small fee, too. (Consumer Affairs estimates $30. Some companies, like Casper, provide this service for free.)
Also, be sure to check the warranty on your old mattress. If it’s still under warranty, you might be able to file a claim and have your old mattress’ company haul it away to a recycling facility. Ikea, for instance, has a 25-year warranty on some of its mattresses, which means plenty of people are probably throwing away Ikea beds well before their warranty ends. For instructions on how to file a claim, you can consult Tuck’s website.
Donate your mattress
If all else fails, donating your mattress is just as valuable as recycling it. Generally, the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores do not accept used mattresses. Instead, you can use DonationTown.org’s locator to find nearby charities that will accept your mattress (they’ll pick it up for free, too), and you’ll have the chance to help someone in need.