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 bed foundation 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.
You may also wish to recycle your mattress instead of donating it if you’re upgrading from a fiberglass-filled model to a mattress without fiberglass. The concerns about fiberglass are that it can escape through holes in the mattress cover as its fabric wears out. Loose fiberglass can cause a number of health issues, from skin irritation to breathing difficulties and stomach troubles.
If your mattress has bed bugs or another infestation, you may not even be able to recycle it. If that is the case, you may need to seal the mattress up and have it hauled it by a junk service.
Where to Donate Your Old Mattress?
When it comes to where you can donate your mattress, your options are often limited. Understandably, many organizations are wary of even the most gently used mattresses, preferring to buy completely new mattresses as needed.
You can ask your friends and family if they’re interested or know of someone who might be. Or, you can consider giving back to the community through charitable organizations that still accept mattress donations.
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, donated mattresses 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 them.
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. Steel springs can be sold as scrap metal and wood parts can be broken down for landscaping mulch.
Foam materials can be used as cushions, pet beds, or padding inside throw pillows. You can also use it as packing material if you plan to move soon. You can also use old pillows this way, taking the stuffing for craft projects or using down feathers and natural fabrics for composition.
However, we do want to warn you that you should be certain your mattress is a fiberglass-free mattress before you start taking it apart. Fiberglass is often used as a fire barrier, and if it the mattress cover is removed, the tiny glass particles can irritate your skin or even your lungs, eyes, or stomach.
What companies can pick up a mattress?
Charitable organizations, recycling organizations, and junk hauling services are all options that often offer home pickup of used mattresses. These services may include a fee, although charities usually do pickups for free, particularly if you’re donating a large amount of furniture. If you can’t have an organization come out and pick up your old mattress, you may need to consider renting a truck for transportation.
Does it cost anything to recycle a mattress?
Recycling services and junk removal services may charge as little as $20 or over $100 for recycling your mattress, particularly if they’re doing a home pickup. However, some will take the mattress off your hands for free, especially if you’re dropping it off at a recycling center that takes mattresses. Before you schedule a mattress pickup to recycle it, it’s smart to ask what the charges will be.
Which donation centers accept used mattresses?
When it comes to places that will accept a gently used mattress, your best options include the National Furniture Bank Association, along with your local religious centers and shelters. You may have to get in contact with them and ask if they will accept a mattress still in good condition. Even if they do accept used mattresses, they likely will have guidelines about the mattress’s condition.
Why should I avoid trashing a mattress?
Mattresses take up a lot of space in a landfill and can take several decades to decompose. To prevent landfills from overflowing, there’s been a social push to recycle or repurpose older mattresses. Depending on the state you live in, you may not even be able to toss out your mattress with the trash.
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.
If you’re buying a mattress online, it’s easy enough to search for the best way to get rid of your old mattress.
About the author
Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.View all posts