Mattress Recycling

Mattress Recycling – The Ultimate Guide on How to Recycle Your Old Mattress

According to sources, the US disposes of up to 20 million tons of mattresses each year. All of this dump goes directly into the landfill and is left to rot there. That’s a lot of trash!

You’ve heard about recycling paper and plastic but do you know people recycle mattresses too? 

If you are someone who wants to do their bit for the environment then we are here to help.

In this article, we will know more about mattress recycling, the need for it, and some eco-friendly ways to do it. 

Can You Recycle a Mattress? 

Yes. You can easily recycle a mattress, and it is time to try it. Around 16 million mattresses are discarded every year. The textile industry is one of the biggest sources of pollution globally, and landfills are quickly filling up with these discarded textiles.

An average mattress takes up about 40 cubic feet of space. Fortunately, around eighty percent (80%) of most mattress’ components can be recycled.  Once you have decided that it is time to upgrade or replace your mattress, consider recycling it instead of disposing of it at your local landfill.

A discarded dirty mattress dumped on street

What Is Mattress Recycling?

Most material in a mattress can be reused once the bed is deconstructed. Many manufacturing companies are finding new ways to use old bedding materials. Some portion of a discarded mattress could be reused. You could make a new pillow out of a mattress or a small cushion bed for your pooch. This concept is different from refurbishing or renovating a mattress. 

Sounds interesting, right? Let’s have a look at how to recycle a mattress depending on the type and material it is.

  • Foam: These can be used as insulating materials or shredded and used as resting pads or support pillows. 
  • Coils & Springs: Many manufacturing companies melt the springs and reuse them for other purposes.
  • Fibers: Cotton or other fibers can be used as fuel for burning or can be used in making DIY doormats or towels.

Isn’t this great? Why throw a mattress when you can take a sustainable step by enrolling in a mattress recycling program. These programs are organized by manufacturers who either recycle the mattress or donate it to the needy. This is the best way to save the landfills from the unwanted dump and reducing pollution that happens due to this. 

Why Recycle Your Mattress?

To name a few reasons, when you choose to recycle a mattress, you save the planet from pollution, you choose sustainability, and you are smart about your actions. 

Another essential reason to recycle the mattress would be to reduce the carbon footprint. When you choose to recycle a mattress, you could contribute a little less to the 1600 pounds of trash. 

How to Recycle a Mattress

If you live in a secluded place, then you might think, where to recycle a mattress? Relax. Even if you cannot find a mattress recycling program, you can adopt eco-friendly ways to recycle your mattress. 

  • Check if your mattress is still under warranty

If your mattress retailer offers a buyback program, or if they have a complimentary collect and dispose of program. 

In states like California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, there is a law implemented by the Mattress Recycling Council which states that mattress manufacturers must collect a disposal fee on top of the cost of new mattresses and box springs. The money they collect from this fee goes toward the funding of mattress recycling programs and building more mattress recycling drop-off centers. 

  • Sell it

If your mattress retailer does not provide this service, you can still do it yourself. The first step is to assess the state of your mattress: is it under ten years old and is it still in good condition? If so, you might be able to resell it in a thrift store or on eBay. There are a lot of online sites like Craiglist where you can sell the mattress just like that.

  • Reuse it

What better way to recycle than to reuse? There are a lot of DIY techniques that can help you restore your old mattress. You can make a rug, doormat, pillows, throw blankets, or comfy sheets out of your mattress. 

  • Recycle it yourself

You can always take your old mattress to manufacturers who would not take the whole mattress but give you some money for the metal present in your mattresses.  There are other clever ways to repurpose and upcycle your mattress. 

If you are into crafting and DIY design projects, this might be of interest to you. A quick internet search will yield thousands and thousands of craft projects that make use of old mattresses.

  • Donate it

If you can’t be bothered to sell it, you can donate your old mattress to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, a homeless shelter, or your local charity instead. Who knows, someone might really find it comforting. Many organizations help you donate old mattresses. 

How Are Mattresses Recycled?

Step One:

Mattresses are made up of many different layers. The first thing they do is they cut mattresses open and separate the layers. The foam is turned into carpet underlayment or animal bed padding. Cotton is used as industrial oil filters.

Step Two:

The materials are organized by type. Foam, fiber, and other soft materials are then compressed.

Instead of thinking about where to dump a mattress, you can opt for sustainable ways to save the old mattress. You can give your mattress to organizations that recycle a mattress. 

Inner Structure of a Mattress

Step Three:

The metal and box string components are taken out and sent to scrap recyclers. In turn, these are sold to steel mills and foundries. The used springs are used to make new appliances and building materials.

Step Four

The wood components are thoroughly shredded and used as landscaping mulch or burned as an alternative source of fuel.

Look for the nearest mattress recycling center nearest you and give them a call to arrange this. Most will charge a minimal fee, which will cover the cost of picking up your mattress.

Summing It Up

You do a lot of good, for yourself as well, when you choose an eco-friendly way. It’s very easy to throw a mattress away but being responsible is the need of the hour. The next time you think of buying a new mattress and replacing the old one, just think again, how can you do this differently?

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Can a mattress be recycled if it has bed bugs?

No. We don’t think that recycling a mattress that has bed bugs is going to be a great idea as they are hard to get rid of. We suggest checking hygienic ways of mattress disposal in such cases.

Are box springs recyclable?

Yes. Box springs can be recycled. The metal can be melted and reused, while the wood can be chipped and used as fuel or any other DIY piece of furniture.

How much does it cost to recycle a mattress?

The minimum cost to recycle a foam mattress would be $10. You can also get it done without any charges. All you have to do is search for free mattress recycling centers, and they will take care of the rest. You can recycle a mattress for cash if a center around has use for old mattresses. 

Do people buy used mattresses?

Mostly, people prefer a new mattress, but you could get a sweet deal on online selling platforms like Craiglist. If you can’t find a buyer you can always donate the mattress instead of getting rid of a mattress by dumping it in the garbage. 

Can I recycle an air mattress?

Yes. However, an air mattress isn’t easy to recycle and is not accepted by many mattress recycling companies. As it is made up of PVC, you might have to look for centers that recycle PVC materials. The best way would be to deflate the mattress and then take it to a PVC recycling center.