What to Do with Old Mattress: 11 Ways to Dispose Them

Mattresses are some of the big-ticket purchases every household will make from time to time. While you’ll only, ideally, need to replace this piece of furniture every 8 to ten years, dealing with your old unit can still cause some headache. Its size, weight, and other traits make it complicated to dispose of.

What to do with old mattress, you ask? The disposal of these hulking pieces can be quite tricky, so let us help you address this concern fully.

What to Do with Old Mattress- 11 Responsible Ways to Dispose of Your Old Mattress

What to do With Old Mattress?

Contrary to what a lot of people think, mattresses lose their magic over time. Since you spend ⅓ of your day in it, it will eventually show signs of wear and tear. Some areas will lose their elasticity and bounce. They won’t be as supportive as they once were. They will also stop feeling cozy and comfortable after nearly a decade of providing you a nice sleeping surface.

If you wake up with body pains or you find it hard to get comfortable in your old mattress, then it’s already time to get a new one. The prospect is exciting as you might already be tired of sleeping uncomfortably by now. The only thing that might hold you back is how you’re going to dispose of your old mattress.

You definitely cannot just leave an old mattress alone inside your home. You can’t just let it sit on top of your bed and then place the new one on top of it. Aside from the extreme heights it will put you in every night, it might also affect the comfort of your new mattress.

You also can’t just leave it in your storage or garage as it will take up too much space. It can be bothersome to have there, too, as it might keep you from easily accessing your other stuff.

Leaving it out on the street is also an option for some but it’s not a very responsible thing to do. Sometimes, garbage collectors don’t pick them up, leaving you with a large item in front of your house. If you intend other people to pick them up, the weather is something that might not permit passers-by to do so.

Recycling these items are also quite tricky. You can’t just jam them inside the recycling bins in your neighborhood. As they’re also made with different materials, you might also need to take the unit apart manually if you want them to be re-used properly.

For some lucky folks, they might find a good mattress replacement from companies that also offer mattress removal services. This tends to make the switch easier because the mattress manufacturer will already take care of your old mattress for you. It might not always be clear what they’d do with your old mattress, though. But if you want to replace your old sleep furniture right away, this can be a convenient option.

A lot of mattress companies do not offer such, though. So if you happened to like a product from one of these folks, you belong with the majority of the population who are clueless with what they can do with their old mattress.

Why Mattress Disposal is a Problem?

Why Mattress Disposal is a Problem

There might be lots of other bigger problems than old mattress disposal but no matter how mundane this issue might be, it still amounts to a serious problem. The fact that people find it hard to dispose of their used mattresses means that a lot of these items end up in landfills all over the globe.

In the US, it is estimated that about 15 to 20 million mattresses are disposed of every year. In Australia, about a million mattresses head to the landfills yearly. These are seriously large amounts of waste, not just in numbers but also in size. If we keep up with these numbers, you can bet that used mattresses will soon take up the most space in landfills.

The fact that these items are not made of biodegradable materials is another pressing issue. A lot of today’s mattresses are made with polyurethane foam and memory foam. Some might even have plastics in them in various forms. These can take a while to degrade which also means that they can stick around in our landfills for a good amount of time.

So, yes, mattress disposal is definitely a problem. If the general public cannot easily get rid of their old mattresses, it’s very likely that they’ll only end up crowding our landfills.

We Need Sustainable Mattresses

As an answer to the alarming issue of mattress disposal, some entrepreneurs are already creating their own sustainable mattresses. You might be able to find a few options that market themselves as non-toxic and eco-friendly varieties.

They’re usually designed to offer a healthier alternative to sleepers since they don’t use harsh chemicals in their production. Others say that their materials are biodegradable. So even if they’re not recycled, they still won’t create as much waste as conventional mattress will.

This industry is still in its earliest stages, however. A lot of bigger mattress manufacturers still need to jump on the trend or at least start exploring it. However, it’s a very good start. These biodegradable mattresses might still need to go a long way to make an impact but there’s a chance that it will eventually get there.

How to Recycle and Responsibly Dispose Your Old Mattress?

If you can’t afford or don’t have access to biodegradable mattresses, there are still quite a few ways how you can responsibly dispose of your old mattress. Below are a few good ways that might just work for you.

11 Creative and Responsible Uses for Old Mattresses:

1. Compost It

There are tons of great ways to recycle your old mattress but using it for composting might just be the best idea out there. You will just need a bit of carpentry skills to make this work but it’s definitely worth the effort if you’ve pulled it off properly.

So how do you use an old mattress for composting? First off, take the mattress apart. If it has some wooden parts, you can use that to create a compost bin. You can then use the foam padding or cotton stuffing to cover the pile. It can keep the pile warm and protected from the elements. It can also accelerate the composting process.

2. Use as Gardening Fixtures

Use as Gardening Fixtures

If you find composting too much of a hassle, you can still find a use for your old mattress in your garden. Some use the stuffing and padding as landscape fabric. They are said to effectively prevent weeds from growing which can then ensure that your beloved plants will get all of the nutrients they need from the soil. You can also repurpose the wooden frames and even the spring system as trellises for your climbing plants.

3. Reuse for Children's Playtime

If you have a play space for your little ones at home, you can also just relocate your old mattress there and they can have fun in it. If it’s bouncy enough, it can be a substitute for an indoor trampoline. They might not be able to do flips in it but they can still have hours of fun bouncing up and down in them.

Old mattresses can also come in handy in creating cushioning for your little ones’ jungle gyms and other climbing play areas. They can make their playtimes safer, so there might not be any need for you to fully dispose of an old mattress if it’s still in relatively good condition.

Just make sure to have it thoroughly cleaned before letting your kids play with it, though. This way, you can be sure that they’re completely safe to have around your precious ones.

4. Donate to a Shelter or Church

If your mattress is still in good, usable condition, shelters and churches might still be more than willing to take them off your hands. Just make sure to have it professionally cleaned before taking them to the facility you’re giving them to, though. As old mattresses tend to have an accumulation of dust, sweat, dead skin, and other kinds of gross things, having them cleaned before giving them away ensures that they’re hygienic to be used by someone else.

5. Donate to a Pet Rescue Center

Some animal shelters will also accept donations of used mattresses. They might be less particular about stains, so if you had some accidents in bed, letting homeless animals use your old mattress might be the best way for you to get rid of it.

6. Disassemble and Use the Parts

Again, if you’re quite handy, you can easily find ways to reuse the individual parts of your old mattress. By taking your old unit apart, you can easily find new ways to breathe life into its components.

The padding and stuffing can be turned into cushions and pillows. You can also find lots of ways to repurpose wooden frames. The metal springs and its actual material can also be turned into other stuff around the house. If you’re crafty enough, you can definitely find lots of ways to reuse your mattress.

7. Recycling Centers

Studies say that about 85 to 95% of the materials used for mattresses are recyclable. The earlier point can actually prove that in the simplest way. However, if you’re not crafty enough, you might not have the skills to do it yourself. This doesn’t mean that you can’t recycle your old mattress anymore, though.

Some recycling centers will take in your old mattresses. There are also facilities that are specifically made for mattress recycling, so you can also take your old unit there.

Note, however, that these places don’t usually do pick-ups. If you want your old unit to be recycled, you might need to  drive it there yourself or pay them to get the item off your hands. It can be a bit of a hassle, but it might also be the best way for you to responsibly get rid of your old unit. So in the end, the effort will pay off nicely as well.

8. Create Art

Your old mattress can also serve as the perfect canvas for your art. So if you have a good dose of creativity in you, why not unleash it on your mattress? Besides, there are some organizations that encourage such by hosting competitions that require the use of old mattresses.

If you’re not exactly good with colors but you’re skilled in other forms of art, fret not. You can surely find other ways to make use of your old mattress’ materials. Take it apart and you have more materials to turn waste into art.

9. Donate It

Some charitable organizations can also accept old mattress donations if the unit is in good condition, professionally cleaned, and stain-free. However, not all organizations accept such donations as hygiene and the mattress’ size are pressing issues for most institutions. So while this is an option, it’s not a guaranteed way for getting rid of old mattresses.

10. Sell It

Since mattresses are expensive items, some people opt to just get them second hand. It’s not the most hygienic way to furnish your apartment, but it works for some people.

 You can take advantage of this if your unit is still in good condition or if it wasn’t used a lot. Cleaning it thoroughly before having it picked up will be a nice touch, though, so the next buyer won’t bother you with potential issues.

11. Give It Away

Again, because mattresses are quite expensive, you can also easily find people who are very willing to take your old mattress from your hands if they don’t have to pay for it. Ask friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors if they know anyone who might want to take your old mattress and you might just find someone within the day.

Disposing of your old mattress may seem like a daunting task but don’t let it get to you. There are tons of good ways how you can get rid of your old unit without adding a large chunk of waste into our local landfill. You just need a bit of creativity and maybe exert some effort to responsibly deal with this kind of waste but you’ll be able to do it.

The 11 tips above are just some of the most creative ways in doing so. With some additional research, you can be sure to find more techniques that might just work for you better.

Billy L. Osorio

My name is Billy. I am a computer engineer by profession. So, most of my work is on the desk. In my past days, I had many back pain issues due to a long time sitting, eating, working habit. I did a lot of studies and consulting for overcoming my problem. Now, I am trying to share my knowledge.

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