Activism bed1

Published on August 13th, 2008 | by Sarah Pressman Lovinger

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We Have a New Mattress–How Do I Recycle The Old Mattress?

August 13th, 2008 by

my new bedMy husband and I are quite pleased with our brand-new king size mattress.  It’s firm, yet comfy, and because we also indulged in some new down pillows, we are sleeping much better these days.  But what should we do with the old mattress?  I know the mattress delivery company removes it, but I am sure that they just send it to a landfill.  I would like to dispose of our old mattress in a more eco-friendly way.

In looking for green suggestions on how to handle the old mattress, I googled ‘mattress recycle’.  Nothing really useful came of my web search, however.  Health department laws prohibit donating the mattress to the Salvation Army or another charitable organization, and I could not find a local mattress recycling company.  I could try a local freecycle group, but the health department restrictions would probably come into play again.  So we have a nice, new mattress, and we just don’t know how to handle the old mattress in an environmentally-responsible way.

I invite you, dear reader, to weigh in on this one:  what’s the best way to dispose of an old mattress?

Photo from my personal collection.

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About the Author

In trying to find the most effective way to help other people reduce their carbon footprints, Sarah turned to one of her favorite activities: writing. She started a green business, chicagogreenlife.com, to help her clients plan newsletters for their eco-friendly businesses. She also started her blog, mygreenerlife.blogspot.com, to provide useful advice to anyone who wants to lead a more environmentally friendly life. She also regularly contributes to www.afreshsqueeze.com, to let other Chicagoans know about eco-friendly stores, restaurants, and events. Sarah, an internal medicine doctor, works part-time in community health centers in the Chicago area. She graduated from Barnard College and Columbia University, and she lives in Evanston, IL, with her daughter and her husband. Stop by some time for some delicious, sustainable food--Sarah and her husband love to cook and entertain--any extras will end up outback in their composter.



  • Furniture Bank of Metro Atlant

    The Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta will pick up any mattress in any condition for a small fee of $20. If the units are in good condition they get re-purposed to families in need. If they are stained or damaged they will be responsibly deconstructed and recycled. You can find us online and fill out our donation form to get the process started. It is important that we start thinking about the waste stream in a responsible way and take responsibility for our planet. http://www.furniturebankatlanta.org

  • http://www.atlanticbeddingandfurniture.com mattress stores charleston sc

    I savour, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • http://Web john

    Matrec limited a mattress recycling company that deal with all mattress that come into the london waste disposal sites they strip them down to the springs and recycle 99% of all mattress they receive.

  • http://Web kyle

    make moon shoes out of it. sell them then donate the money to some charity that will do the least amount of embezzling your money!

  • http://Web Tina

    Hi, could you tell me of any Eco companies in UK who would recycle an old mattress. Do not want it to end up in landfill and it is not good enough to give away. Any suggestions would be appreciated

  • http://Web teresa fuqua

    i have 1 queen pillow top an 3 twin mattress I need to get rid of properly

  • http://Web Cha

    Seems good idea to give it to someone but then there is the big problem of bed bugs. http://www.best-mattress-4u.com has information on how to prevent and treat bed bugs.

    I think the best way where possible is to ask the company you are buying the mattress from to dispose your old mattress. Most are willing to do this.

  • Dave

    There is a company called Ohio Mattress Recovery and Recycling that will come to your house and pick up the old mattress and recycle it for you. Its a great service and we feel so much better knowing that it won't end up in a landfill. We found a new mattress at http://www.mattress-wiz.com/ very pleasant experience there as well. The model we chose is all organic and made from naturally produced latex, so comfy!

  • Jake

    The Salvation Army or Red Cross thrift stores will gladly take old matresses off your hands. The Salvation Army will even come pick it up for you if you call them.

  • john

    Just wanted to let you know that i listed my mattress on craigs list, and within 45 minutes i had 8 people wanting to come pick it up. at least it’s out of my house and not in a dump some where in the ground.

  • http://www.peachtreejunkremoval.com Eco Friendly Junk Man

    Here in Georgia the only place I know is the Atlanta Furniture Bank. They sanitize the mattresses in their warehouse. Mattresses cannot have heavy stains or rips. They do expect light, surface stains. If you need mattresses removed and recycled in Atlanta contact Peachtree Junk Removal.
    http://www.peachtreejunkremoval.com
    770-676-0810

  • annie miller

    Our local county dump has trailers on site just for mattresses – when the trailer is full all mattresses are then recycled into furniture, etc…..

  • Shannon Holt

    I’m running into the same problem with recycling mattresses. A long time ago I got so frustrated I actually busted the box spring up, recycled the wood and springs and ripped up the mattress. Boy, was that a lot of work. So, apart from breaking the darn things down or trying to give them away, I’m searching for better ideas.

  • Kate Welker

    You can schedule a clean up with Allied Waste (if they are your trash service), and they will take the used mattress and box springs as the one large item for the clean up. (They provide clean ups as a free service 2x per year.) I understand that they recycle the mattress – not as good as re-use, but better than landfill.

  • http://www.BayAreaRecycle.com Bay Area Recycle

    If you are in the SF Bay Area we will pick it up and recycle it in a Green Manner for a small fee.

    http://www.BayAreaRecycle.com
    925-465-5576

  • http://www.monstermattress.com Chris Anderson

    I also faced problems with old mattress because I bought new mattress http://www.monstermattress.com. First I put that in store. Then after few days we planned to go out for camping and then an idea came in my mind that y not we use our old mattress for this purpose only. Hence we took that with us and we felt very comfortable throughout our trip. I think that only best possible way of using an old mattress.

  • Nona Burnett

    Another note: If you reside where folks “dumpster dive” routinely— simply set the mattress down beside the dumpster on a non-rainy day.
    It will quickly disappear!But, please try to place newspapers or a tarp; etc. underneath it to prevent it from being soiled.
    If you lean it against the dumpster, it will absorb the smell of the trash and nobody will want it!

  • Nona Burnett

    Yes, health restrictions hinder donating any mattress to any charity. But, you will always find some poor soul who needs a free mattress. If you do not want strangers to phone you or to come to your home, simply contact your local fire department or news station whenever someone has lost everything in a fire, a flood, a tornado or hurricane. They always know of families that will gladly accept your old mattress. Secondly, mattresses can be professionally cleaned and recovered. Many motels do that.

  • http://www.planetsave.com Sarah Pressman Lovinger

    I love the creativity in all of your responses! If we don’t use the old springs in our garden, perhaps we will use the wall insulation idea as we do some home renovations.

  • http://www.greengroove.org greenola

    I think a used mattress is kind of like getting rid of used tires. I mean, the things just wear out. At one point in time people thought it made sense to just pile the things up out in rural areas someplace until they went up in flames. Now, there are several companies just looking for free used tires to make their recycled goods.

    Hmmm, WALL INSULATION from textile materials. I imagine the springs could somehow be recycled.

    Sounds to me like somebody needs to put together a business out of taking in old mattresses, and doing something constructive with the materials.

    The thing is, everything comes from the earth and then goes right back in some form or another. If your old mattress is destined not to be re-used, I’d say you might as well make it into some kind of art project. That would be prettier to look at anyway, than just another old mattress stacked up on other old mattresses.

    http://www.greengroove.org

  • http://boggywoggyscache.blogspot.com BoggyWoggy

    I think you could cut it open and pull out all of the metal pieces, such as the springs and stability frame. Take those and use them in your garden as stakes for plants and decorative art. Then, carefully cut up the “fabric” parts into small 2″ squares. It might take awhile, but it will be worth the effort. When you are done, stack all of those squares up into one tall tower. It will be, say, oh, 18 feet high. Using a roll of duct tape, completely cover the tower of fabric. Make sure there are no gaps or openings in the duct tape. You want this tower to be solid. Then, post it on ebay as a “kinder, gentler” atomic bomb. See, it will look like a torpedo, if you’ve taped it up well enough. Someone from the US Airforce will purchase the bomb, put it under one of their bomber planes, and fly it over to Iraq. Then, when they drop it, the people below will try to shelter themselves as they see it drifting to the ground. After it hits the ground, with a bounce, no doubt, they’ll come out and have something to celebrate over! The bomb didn’t explode! A small child, who has no idea what just happened, will then approach the “bomb” and touch it, only to discover that it is solid, yet soft. She/he will pick it up and hand it to another family member. This person will then be in a position of authority in the hood, and will carry the “bomb” around, getting whatever he/she wants, as all who do not realize it is a fake will think it’s a bomb!

  • http://www.goodpasturegroup.com Jonathan

    I personally would put it in the paper as free for the taking. I’m almost positive there are people in your area who are sleeping on way worse than your landfill mattress.

  • MattKelly

    Hi Sarah-I’ve actually listed a used mattress on Craigslist before and had over 20 responses. I included the bedding and metal bedframe and it felt good to give it to a less fortunate woman who seemed so grateful to get it. And the mattress was a several years old but still in decent shape. You might try that and see what response you get before trying something else…

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