The US disposes of millions of mattresses every year. Sadly, most old mattresses don’t make it to recyclers. Instead, they take up millions of cubic feet in landfills where they gradually decompose.
Fortunately, instead of just disposing of your mattress you can help cut back on waste by recycling your old mattress or topper the next time you buy a new mattress.
Why You Should Recycle Your Mattress
Local landfills are stuffed with old mattresses. However, up to 80 percent of a used mattress’s components can be recycled according to the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC). Recycling a mattress, therefore, can free up millions of cubic meters of landfill space and help reduce waste.
Over 600 million pounds of foam scrap ends up in landfills across the United States. Old mattresses thrown in the garbage represent a large share of the foam waste around the world. Polyurethane foam takes a long time to decompose, which can disrupt ecosystems and cause environmental degradation over time.
The good news is that we can cut back on post-consumer waste by recycling our old mattresses and their various internal components. For example, a mattress’s bonded carpet padding is now 100 percent recyclable in new mattresses. Internal steel coils, for instance, can be strapped and sold to steel mills.
By recycling our mattresses, we can help protect the environment while also help clean up our landfills and natural ecosystems.
What Mattresses Are Made Of
Mattresses have changed a lot over the years. Most modern mattresses are constructed with many natural and synthetic materials, but the materials used ultimately depend on the type of mattress. Innerspring mattress varieties feature steel coils, whereas airbeds consist mostly of polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
- Flame retardants
- Steel springs or coils
- Foam (polyurethane foam, gel memory foam, or viscoelastic)
Many of the mattress components listed above are, in fact, recyclable. At recycling centers, the fibers and foam pieces inside your mattress can be extracted and reused to manufacture new mattresses and other items.
Who Can Help With Mattress Recycling?
There are many organizations that can help you recycle your mattress in an environmentally-conscious way. We’ve listed them below.
Mattress Disposal Plus
Mattress Disposal Plus is one of the few commercial organizations in the United States dedicated to removing, restoring, or recycling mattresses. They pick your mattress up from your home and discard it without you having to transport it.
ByeByeMattress is part of the Mattress Recycling Council and provides resources and support for those living in states with mattress recycling programs, such as Rhode Island, Connecticut, and California.
Earth911 is an online aggregator of mattress recyclers, drop off locations, depots and services across the United States that can help you find a new home for your used mattress.
What About Recycling Box Springs?
Box springs are often fully recyclable. Since box springs are mostly built of wood, metal, and natural fabrics, up to 90 percent of a box spring can be reused or recycled.
Is Donating Your Mattress An Option?
Absolutely—donating your mattress to a charity or a church is one of the best uses of an old mattress. However, you should only donate mattresses that are lightly used and won’t cause another sleeper back pain or discomfort. Here are some of the best organizations or contacts who can help you donate your mattress:
- AMVETS Thrift Stores
- Furniture Bank Association of North America
- Some Goodwill locations
- Habitat for Humanity
- The Arc
- The Salvation Army
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- Local homeless shelters and non-profits
- Friends and family
Does Your State or City Have A Mattress Recycling Program?
Currently, only the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and California have a statewide mattress recycling program to help curb waste and reduce their environmental impact. However, residents of other states can still donate or recycle their mattresses.
If you are looking for a recycling facility or recycling center near you, check out ByeByeMattress. This online resource, which is part of the Mattress Recycling Council, is a locator of recycling depots and other organizations across the United States to help you dispose of your mattress in an environmentally friendly way.
Have A Mattress Recycling or Donation Plan Before Getting Your New One
You shouldn’t throw out or recycle your old mattress without first finding a replacement. Whenever you buy a new mattress, you should do your research so you find one that suits your body type and sleeping style. To find the right mattress for you, take the Helix Sleep Quiz today and be paired with a custom mattress that’s engineered to meet your unique needs.