The only thing worse than having to purchase a new mattress is having to get rid of an old one. Mattresses are tough to transport, and with so much time between purchasing, many people often have no idea what to do with an old mattress once it’s time for an upgrade.
Most people would think to (slowly) drag their old mattress out to the curb, but this isn’t the best solution. Mattresses are one of the most troublesome disposed-of items in America and require special processing for recycling. So, how exactly can you get rid of a cumbersome old mattress? Further, is it even time to get rid of it? Read on to find out how to get rid of a mattress.
Before deciding whether or not to get rid of your current mattress, consider its recommended lifespan. A mattress’ lifespan largely depends on its quality and varies significantly between manufacturers. Most manufacturers provide a rough estimate, but many inflate their estimates as a selling tactic.
Typically, most high-quality mattresses last anywhere from 10 and 13 years, while low- or mid-quality mattresses last between five and nine years. Of course, this is only a general guideline; comfort is the real test of a mattress’ lifespan.
Typically, mattresses reach the end of their life when they become uncomfortable. While you can extend the life of your mattress through regular rotating and flipping, it eventually wears down and causes sleeping problems. Discomfort, however, may not be the only sign of a worn-out mattress.
When to Get Rid of a Mattress: Signs to Look For
While all old mattresses are uncomfortable, not all uncomfortable mattresses are old. In other words, if your mattress is uncomfortable, it might be in perfectly good condition, and your discomfort might come down to a matter of preference.
Different types of sleepers require different types of mattresses, and one of the most significant mistakes people make when purchasing a mattress is purchasing the wrong type of mattress. As a result, if your mattress is uncomfortable yet still relatively new (as in under five years old), it might still have many years of life left!
In this unique case of owning a “young” yet uncomfortable mattress, you may want to consider either selling or donating your mattress. While it can be challenging to imagine someone wanting a used mattress, many people – especially bargain hunters – are always on the lookout for a good quality mattress for less than the going price.
Of course, if your mattress is around ten years old and causing discomfort, then it’s probably time for a replacement. In this case, however, be careful about attempting to sell or even donate your mattress; if a worn-out mattress is not good enough for you, then it’s probably not good enough for anyone else!
Other signs of an old mattress include sagging and lumpiness. Look where you sleep, too; if there’s a “you-sized” indentation in your regular sleeping position, then your mattress is either at or near the end of its life. While regularly flipping and rotating the mattress can help avoid this type of degradation, your mattress is going to wear out eventually.
Mattress Disposal Options
When you’re ready to throw out an old mattress, there’s nothing more tempting than leaving it on the curb with your regular trash and recyclables. While this would be convenient for you, think of everyone else: Waste disposal workers would have an especially hard time, and the environmental impact would be less than ideal. So, what to do?
Thankfully, there are several convenient, responsible options for getting rid of a mattress, many of which are environmentally friendly and require little effort on your part.
Let the mattress company take it
If you’re buying a mattress form a physical mattress store (i.e., not online), there’s a good chance that they’ll take your old mattress after delivering the new one. This option is ideal: not only will the delivery professionals do all the heavy lifting, but it’s likely that the company itself often responsibly disposes of old mattresses.
This option is arguably the most convenient of all and, as a result, is highly recommended. Another benefit is avoiding the possibility of being “bed-less” during the replacement process. By allowing the mattress company to perform the entire replacement all at once, you can wake up on your old mattress and go to sleep on your new one all in the same day!
However, if you’re purchasing your mattress either online or through another source that doesn’t offer mattress disposal, then you’ll need to consider other options.
Recycle your old mattress
According to the Mattress Recycling Council, up to 80 percent of your mattress is recyclable. This statistic is not only good news for the environment, but it’s also good news for you: Because of your mattress’ recyclability, there are plenty of organizations waiting to make good use of it!
During the recycling process, your mattress is cut open and processed for recyclable materials. Recycling companies organize the materials by type, typically selling scrap metals – such as springs – to refineries and smelting plants. Fibers and foams, on the other hand, are compressed and eventually shipped for further processing and use in various industries.
Either way, much of your mattress is recyclable, and recycling your mattress is the best option for disposal. Even if a mattress company is coming to take your old mattress, rest assured that most mattress companies end up recycling old mattresses anyhow. So, whether you recycle your mattress yourself or let a mattress company do it on your behalf, you’re still helping the environment and giving your mattress a dignified exit.
No clue where to recycle your mattress? No problem: There’s likely at least one mattress recycler in your area.
Donate your old mattress
While most people wouldn’t consider an old mattress worth sleeping on, an old mattress can still be a welcome relief to those less fortunate. Many charities, homeless shelters and similar organizations are actively on the lookout for old mattresses to provide to those whose sleeping options are usually far less comfortable.
Many charitable organizations, notably the Salvation Army, pick up donated mattresses for free. Other organizations that accept mattress donations include Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. Note, however, that most of these organizations require that your donated mattress still is in usable condition. While the criteria for “usable” will vary between charities, it typically requires that the mattress be clean, structurally sound and free of any major damage.
Thankfully, if your mattress doesn’t pass these requirements, you can still do plenty of good by recycling it either yourself or through a mattress company. While you may not be helping the less fortunate, at least you’ll be helping the environment.
However, if you don’t live near a recycling center or aren’t having your old mattress swapped by a physical mattress company, then read on to find out what other options are available to you.
Other disposal options
If none of the options above are available to you, then you may have no choice but to dispose of your mattress the “old fashioned” way. In other words, you’ll need to find some way to get your mattress into the dumpster.
Many would think that they can toss their mattress on the curb with the rest of their garbage, but this wouldn’t be a good idea; most cities and states have particular mattress disposal laws dictating how and when you can throw away your mattress with other waste. If mattress disposal is either illegal or heavily regulated in your area, what else can you do?
The only other options for getting rid of an old mattress are taking it to a landfill or renting a dumpster. Both of these options are relatively reliable. Most landfills accept mattresses and often have special permits allowing them to being the recycling procedure. However, be careful: many landfills charge by weight, meaning that your mattress is weighed and charged accordingly.
Renting a dumpster is an especially convenient way to dispose of not only your old mattress, but maybe also a few other things you wouldn’t mind getting rid of. Dumpster rental services often charge a set rate based on rental time or dumpster size. The best part? The rental service brings the dumpster to your house and hauls it away when you’re done!
For any of the above options, be sure to check for mattress disposal fees. Most cities, landfills and dumpster rental services charge an extra fee for old mattresses due to the extra processing required.
Now that you know how to get rid of a mattress, you’re well on your way to less pain, less tossing and turning, and better sleep. Although getting rid of an old mattress is never easy, you can rest assured that almost everyone who handles it will find a way to dispose of it responsibly.