How to Dispose of a Mattress

Written By: Alison Deshong

Every mattress wears out eventually. Once your bed no longer provides the right level of cushioning and support, it’s time to start shopping for a new mattress.

But getting rid of your old mattress can be a challenge. Mattresses are hard to move, and your regular trash collectors may not accept them.

We’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to getting rid of your mattress. In addition to disposal options, we’ll also cover how you can donate, reuse, or recycle your old bed.

When Should You Replace Your Mattress?

You should replace your mattress when you notice a drop in your bed’s quality. As the cornerstone of your sleep system, your mattress helps create a comfortable environment so you can sleep soundly every night, so it’s important to make sure it’s in working order.

Although a bed is a major purchase, mattresses don’t last forever. After years of regular use, all mattresses will eventually wear down and need replacing.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Mattress?

The average lifespan of a typical mattress is 7 to 10 years. However, there are many factors that can affect your mattress’ longevity.

How you use and care for your mattress has a large impact on its lifespan. Additionally, inadequate support and rough use by pets or children may prematurely wear out your bed.

Another major factor that can influence how long a mattress lasts is the quality of materials used to make it. Certain mattress materials are more durable than others. For example, a high-quality memory foam mattress may last longer than a bargain polyfoam mattress.

That said, assuming you’re taking good care of your mattress and using it an average amount, it’s possible to estimate how long a mattress will generally last.

Mattress Type Average Lifespan
Futon About 5 years
Air Mattress About 5 years, depending on frequency of use
Waterbed 7 to 9 years
Innerspring 5 to 6 years, depending on quality
Hybrid 6 to 7 years
Memory Foam 4 to 10 years, depending on foam density and quality
Airbed 4 to 8 years
Latex Up to 10 years

Warning Signs Your Mattress Needs Replacing

While averages are helpful, every bed is unique. Depending on quality and care, some mattresses may not reach the average lifespan, while others may last much longer.

With that in mind, it’s important to know what signs indicate your mattress needs replacing. You don’t want to get rid of a perfectly good mattress just because it hits the 10-year mark. On the other hand, a worn-out mattress may cause aches and pains, as well as frequent tossing and turning.

Key signs that your bed is nearing the end of its lifespan include:

  • Sagging
  • Lumpiness
  • Springs that poke through
  • Creaking
  • Loss of motion isolation

Disposing of Your Mattress

Disposing of a mattress isn't as simple as taking it out to the curb with the rest of the trash. For one thing, mattresses aren’t usually eligible for standard garbage pick-up. And if you’re mindful of the environment, you may want to consider disposal alternatives that include recycling or reusing parts.

Check Your Warranty

Depending on how long you’ve had your mattress, it may be eligible for replacement under the manufacturer’s warranty policy. The manufacturer may even be willing to help arrange for the disposal of your old mattress. If disposal isn’t covered, reviewing the terms could still provide opportunities to save money on a new mattress.

Know the Rules of Disposal

Because every town and city manages waste differently, it’s important to understand the waste disposal laws in your area.

In some places, you can leave your mattress at the curb for regular pick-up if you wrap and seal the bed with plastic and tape. In other areas, doing this may earn you a ticket or fine for improper disposal. Be sure you know what’s appropriate for your place of residence.

Look Into Disposal Services

If your weekly trash collection doesn’t accept mattresses, you can take your mattress directly to the nearest landfill for disposal.

If you don’t have the transportation necessary to drive your mattress to the landfill, consider using a disposal service. Most areas have several independent waste removal companies that specialize in hauling bulky items like mattresses for disposal. You may also be able to schedule a mattress pick-up with your regular waste collection service.

Keep in mind that all of these options may include a fee. Be sure to research the available options so you can choose the service that best suits your needs.

White Glove Delivery

Many mattress brands offer White Glove delivery when you purchase a new mattress. This premium service often includes old mattress removal. If you know you’ll be buying a new mattress to replace your old one, try looking for a brand that can take care of the disposal for you.

Donating Your Mattress

If you need to get rid of a bed that’s in good condition, consider donating your mattress. Donating prevents your bed from heading to the landfill and benefits a charitable cause. Depending on the receiving organization, your mattress donation may also be tax deductible.

Be sure to confirm that your charity of choice accepts used mattresses. Not all charitable organizations take second-hand beds due to sanitation and space issues.

Some popular nonprofits that accept mattress donations include Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and the Furniture Bank Association of America. You may also be able to find smaller local charities or thrift shops that are happy to take your gently used mattress.

Recycling Your Mattress

Another way to keep your mattress out of the landfill is to recycle. Recycling an old mattress is a good choice if you’re unable to donate.

Some states, including California, have created mattress recycling programs in an effort to prevent illegal dumping and increase mattress recycling. Keep in mind that recycling regulations can vary depending on your location. Research your local recycling rules to find out if any nearby recycling centers will accept your mattress. Be aware that they may charge a fee.

Mattresses contain many recyclable and valuable materials, such as steel. However, not all mattress materials are recyclable.

Reuse Your Mattress at Home

If you can’t recycle your mattress, consider whether you can reuse parts of it around the home. Depending on the materials, there are many ways you can repurpose parts of an old mattress.

For example, you can cut and portion foam layers into new cushions, pillows, or beds for your pets. You can also remove the coiled steel springs from your innerspring mattress for home improvement or craft projects. By getting creative, you can ensure your old mattress doesn’t go to waste.

Consider State EPR Laws

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a type of environmental waste management policy. EPR laws work to lower the environmental impact of certain products. They do this by requiring manufacturers to take responsibility for a product’s whole life cycle, including disposal.

This means that the company you bought your bed from may be responsible for helping you recycle it. California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have EPR legislation covering mattresses, so it’s worth researching whether your region has any EPR laws that apply as well.

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