Did you hear that thud? Someone just threw away a mattress. And another. And another. Every single day, tens of thousands of used mattresses are discarded to landfills. In fact, around 40 million mattresses are disposed of in the United States each year.
The worst part? Around 80% of a typical mattress is completely recyclable, yet most of these discarded mattresses end up landfills, illegally discarded by roadsides or tossed in the woods.
Why aren’t we recycling our old mattresses? Maybe ignorance is bliss, because there certainly are many different ways for sustainable disposal. Let’s do better, America!
Eco-Friendly Mattress Disposal Alternatives
Getting ready to replace an uncomfortable mattress or buy an entirely new bed? There is almost never a reason why you can’t do better for Mother Earth when tossing out a mattress, and sending it to the landfill should only ever be a very last resort, after all other options have been ruled out.
Let’s take a look at some of the top sustainable ways to dispose of that old mattress without putting stress on the environment.
1. Warranty Based Recycling
Before you do anything else, find out if your old mattress is still under warranty. Many mattress manufacturers are retailers offer warranty-based recycling or buyback opportunities. Many companies will even pick up and dispose of your mattress for you at absolutely no charge.
While disposing of a mattress in a landfill is not illegal, there are several states that require mattress manufacturers to charge a disposal fee on each mattress and box spring sale they make. These fees are then fueled into sustainable mattress disposal, including recycling programs and drop-off centers.
If you’re not sure if your mattress is still under warranty or not, you can contact the company to find out. In some cases, even if your warranty has expired, the company may still be able to help you recycle your old mattress.
2. Resell Your Mattress
How old is your mattress? If it’s only a couple of years to ten years old, and still in decent, useable condition, you may very well be able to resell a used mattress.
Local consignment stores may take quality used mattresses, and, if so, they typically dispose of items that don’t sell, so that you don’t have to.
Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist also make good places to resell a mattress. Frequently, online buyers will arrange to have large items, like mattresses, picked up from your home, and you won’t ever have to lift a finger. For a quick sale, try the “Buy it Now” selling method on Ebay, and allow potential buyers to make offers.
4.Give Away or Donate
Can’t sell it? Why not give it away or donate it to a good cause? Offer a good condition, used mattress for free on Craigslist or Facebook, and you’ll likely have it gone by tomorrow. Goodwill Industries will also take used mattresses that are in resalable condition.
Alternatively, if your mattress is in overall decent condition, clean, disinfected and bug-free, you can donate it to a charity. If you donate a mattress or box spring to Habitat for Humanity, they will refurbish it and pass it on to someone in need.
Homeless shelters may also be in need of mattress donations. If your mattress is in decent shape, and you’d be happy to sleep on it if you weren’t getting a new one, more than likely a shelter will be grateful to take it off your hands.
Don’t think your mattress is good enough? Never fear, an animal shelter may be able to use it! While not all animal rescues and shelters will take used mattresses, some will be extremely happy to do so, since old mattresses can make great beds for dogs and cats.
If you’re not sure if an organization will take your mattress or not, simply contact them and ask. Most charities are happy to help you figure out what to do with something you don’t need.
4.Pass the Buck
Exhausted your recycling, selling and donating options? Or, maybe you simply don’t feel like trying any of the above? That’s okay. There are plenty of junk removal companies who will take your old mattress of your hands.
Fees for mattress removal vary widely, depending on where you live, the mattress size and the company itself, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 to have your old mattress hauled off. Still, that seems like a small price to pay, when you won’t ever have to lift a finger.
4.Repurpose That Thing
Wait, I can do what with a mattress? That’s right, mattress upcycling and repurposing crafts are totally a thing. If you’re crafty or artistic, you may find that repurposing your old mattress is the best answer.
Let’s Get Comfy!
You could turn your old mattress into an outdoor lounge area, a porch daybed, a guest bed or even a couch. Better yet, upcycle a damaged quilt or ratty afghan by sewing it onto your old mattress to give it some aesthetic charm.
Make a Masterpiece
Like to paint? A set of box springs could easily be turned into a giant canvas for your next masterpiece. With a fabric backdrop that large, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Plant a Garden
Turn those bedsprings upside down and you’ve got yourself an instant planter for flowers, vegetables, shrubs or small trees. Paint the springs in vibrant, rainbow hues for a burst of color, and tuck some terracotta pots into the springs.
Wining and Dining
Use a whole set of springs as a wine rack, or attach single, large springs to wood pieces and make hanging bottle holders. You can also create mug and teacup storage with a box spring or metal cot frame. Simply attach the frame to the wall or hang it overhead, and then fix hooks onto the springs.
These are just a few possibilities for craftily repurposing a mattress or set of springs. You can find hundreds of other ideas with a quick Google search.