Your new, high-quality mattress has arrived at your doorstep, and you are ready to set it up and start getting a better night’s sleep. But what about your old bed? Discarded mattresses harm the environment. In fact, Americans dispose of more than 50,000 mattresses a day, with the majority of these beds ending up in landfills. With one bed taking up about 40-cubic feet of space, this represents a significant burden on landfills.
This environmental strain makes it more critical than ever to find ways to donate or recycle your old mattress. Fortunately, several organizations make this process easy and convenient. Read on to find out 5 ways to donate your mattress and help it find a new home.
Can Your Mattress Be Donated?
Before you can consider mattress donation, be sure your old bed is in good condition. It will likely have some normal wear and tear, but if it has any major defects, non-profit organizations and local charities may not accept it, or they will end up throwing it out themselves.
Before donating, check for stains, rips, tears, holes, and any serious issues like bed bugs or mold. For box springs, be sure the fabric cover is firmly attached and that the frame is not bent or broken. If the mattress has any of these issues, it may be better to recycle the bed rather than donate it. We will discuss the best way to recycle your mattress and include some resources at the end of this article.
Where to Donate Your Old Mattress?
Although it may come as a surprise, local thrift stores do not accept mattresses at most locations. Some cannot take any mattress or box spring, including waterbeds, traditional innerspring, or foam mattresses. Due to health and sanitation laws, beds have to be sanitized before being resold at those locations. Because most thrift shops do not have the resources to do so, they are unable to take these donations.
Although some locations will accept mattresses if they’re in good shape, you’ll want to call ahead of time to be sure they will take it.
But don’t worry, there are plenty of other charitable organizations happy to accept gently used mattresses and box springs. Below is a list of nationwide charities and non-profit organizations that can help get your mattress to someone in need.
National Furniture Bank Association
Organizations, such as The National Furniture Bank Association, operate an online database of those in need of home furnishings, especially mattresses. Their online directory covers all of North America, so it is easy to locate a Furniture Bank facility near you. Once you drop off your donation, they will place the items with less fortunate individuals and families preparing to move into housing. Most Furniture Bank locations also offer a free pick up service. The website for your local Furniture Bank will allow you to schedule a drop-off or pick-up.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
If you don’t want the hassle of finding a donation center, online marketplaces, such as Craigslist, Facebook, and Letgo, have a free listing section. Posting your free mattress on one of these sites allows someone in need to pick up your old mattress. It may take you some time to reply to messages and schedule a pick-up, but this is generally a quick and easy process. When planning a pick-up, be mindful of giving out your home address. Do your best to meet in a public location and try to bring someone with you if possible.
Freecycle.org is an online network that lists items within each community currently being offered for free. Once you enter your location on the site, a list of free items in your city will come up. You can list your mattress on FreeCycle, and someone looking for a bed can get in touch with you. You can communicate with members directly on the site, and there is no need to exchange information until it is time to coordinate a pick-up.
Recycling Your Mattress
If your old bed is not in good enough condition for donation, the best option is to recycle it. This process is quite easy, considering most mattress materials are recyclable, even memory foam.
When it comes to recycling, there are several options available to you. You can use one of the resources listed below to find a recycling facility near you, or you can opt to recycle it yourself. We outline the details for both of these options below.
Earth 911 is an online database that helps you locate a recycling center near you by entering your zip code. It will give you information on the center’s location, hours of operation, and the items they recycle. Once you locate a recycling facility in your area, you can check their website or give them a call to find out if pick up is available.
Bye Bye Mattress
To reduce the number of mattresses that end up in landfills each year, Bye Bye Mattress helps you locate a mattress recycling center in your area. If you live in California, Connecticut, or Rhode Island, you can use your zip code to find the facility nearest you. Bye Bye Mattress is expanding quickly and will soon be available in other states.
With locations in every major US city, Mattress Disposal is fully licensed furniture and mattress removal service. For a small fee, they will pick up your unwanted items and dispose of them in the most eco-friendly way possible. They do their best to avoid landfills, even donating items when they can. However, they don’t guarantee that every item will be recycled, so they should be used only as a last resort.
City Recycling Programs
Most major cities in the United States have mattress recycling programs; some even offer pick up. But before you place your mattress on the curb, be sure to visit your city’s website or give them a call to verify.
When recycling your mattress, it is important to remember that most recycling centers will not take mattresses if they’re wet, heavily soiled, or infested with bedbugs. They also won’t take used mattress toppers, mattress pads, pillows, futon covers, sleeping bags, or camping beds.
DIY and Repurposing
Most of the materials within a mattress can be reused. If you’re able to, you can break down the parts of your old mattress and either recycle them or repurpose them for DIY and household projects. Foam materials can be used as cushions, pet beds, or padding inside throw pillows. You can also use it as a packing material if you plan to move soon. Steel springs can be sold as scrap metal and wood parts can be broken down for landscaping mulch.
Although it may be tempting to toss your old mattress in the dumpster, there are better ways to dispose of it. By opting to donate or recycle your old bed, you are doing your part for the planet, and you will rest easy knowing your old mattress went to good use.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.