How to Recycle Mattresses

Recycling mattresses is something many of us don’t even think about however they are filled with recyclable material. The wood, foam, cotton and metal springs that make up most mattresses are all recyclable.

If you’re purchasing a new mattress you can talk to that business about taking your old one to be recycled. Many mattress stores offer free mattress disposal but only if you are purchasing a new one.

If you aren’t purchasing a new mattress there are a few options out there though admittedly, mattress disposal can be difficult. There are some charity organizations that will pick up your old mattress for reuse however these are rare.

There are also some recyclers who will pick up mattresses for a fee. If you’re looking to recycle your mattress for free however you’ll likely have to drop it off at a designated location.

To recycle mattresses in your area use our recycling locator found at the end of this article.
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Find Recycling Guides for Other Materials

Frequent Mattress Recycling Questions

Each year in the U.S., 15-20 million mattresses are disposed of, and a mattress can take up as much as 40 cubic feet in a landfill – making it that much more important to recycle your old one.

First, see if the company you bought your mattress from has a take-back program in place. If that doesn’t work out, jump to the recycling locator to track down recycling opportunities near you.

Mattress recycling options are limited in the U.S., but the number of programs is growing since mattresses can be taken apart for their components and recycled. King County, Wash., for example, recently expanded its recycling program to include mattresses.

Most thrift stores choose not to accept used mattresses for resale. But some, including St. Vincent de Paul, will take your old mattress for recycling or reuse.

Call ahead to local thrift stores and charities in your neighborhood to see if they accept used mattresses. If your mattress is still in good condition, you can also try giving it away on Freecycle or selling it on sites like Craigslist.

About 90 percent of the average mattress can be recovered for recycling. If you can’t find a recycler near you that will accept your old mattress, you can also take it apart and recycle the component materials yourself. Some mattress materials, such as the steel coils, can actually make you money at the recycling center.

Keep in mind that mattresses are very difficult to disassemble. If you’re feeling ambitious, check out this DIY guide from How Stuff Works for tips and step-by-step instructions.

Box springs are made up of a steel cage, wood frame and cotton outer layer. After the box spring is disassembled, all of these components can be recovered for recycling. Any recycler or reuse agency in your community that accepts mattresses should also accept your used box spring.
Yes, the foam used in memory foam, latex foam and Tempur-Pedic mattresses is completely recyclable. It’s just a matter of finding a recycler that accepts it, which can be difficult. Most recyclers that accept mattresses should accept foam varieties, but you may want to ask first before lugging your mattress down to the recycling center.