How to Recycle Mattresses
Mattresses are just about the bulkiest item a consumer can recycle. On the plus side, you’re likely only disposing of one once every 10 to 20 years, but the size and weight means it won’t be an easy process.
The good news is that mattresses contain several valuable materials like steel that increases the recycling market. However, most mattress recycling companies don’t want to deal with consumers disposing of one mattress, especially if you need it hauled away. This means your best bet is to find a hauler who will recycle it for you.
Here are the four best options (in order of ease and cost) to accomplish this:
- If you’re buying a replacement mattress that is being delivered, ask if the store will haul away your old mattress for recycling.
- If your local recycling program offers bulk waste collection, call and ask if mattresses are included and recycled.
- Call a secondhand store like Goodwill, The Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul (each local affiliate has different acceptance/collection rules) and ask if mattress donations are accepted/hauled away for recycling.
- If you’re recycling a mattress to clean out a property, find a local hauling company that will take away this and other items for recycling. You can find these companies in the phone book or using an online search engine like Yelp.
Find a place near you to recycle your mattress with our Recycling Locator.
Frequent Mattress Recycling Questions
St. Vincent de Paul has its own recycling program in California and Oregon that recycles 170,000 mattresses and box springs annually, so it’s possible your local store will accept and ship them for recycling.
Metal springs are sold as scrap metal, as steel is one of the most commonly recycled materials in the world. The wood is often chipped or used for mulch. The foam can be recycled into carpet padding, and fabrics can be recycled into industrial machinery filters.
- Bye Bye Mattress: Educational guide and recycling locator for California, Connecticut and Rhode Island, provided by the Mattress Recycling Council
- dreamGreen: A video on Mattress Firm’s recycling initiative, including a breakdown of how mattresses are recycled
- How One Company Is Changing Mattress-Making: Some small-scale manufacturers are trying to shake up the mattress-making industry and inject some ease into the shopping experience, making it a little more eco-friendly, too
- Green Label Guide: Mattresses: A look at some of the industry’s most relevant third-party certifiers and a few rules on how to evaluate them