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How to Dispose of a Mattress

So, you think it might be time to get rid of your mattress. Perhaps it’s not sleeping as comfortably as it once did or maybe you’re just ready for an upgrade. Regardless, there are a few things you need to know before you can responsibly (and legally!) dispose of your bed.

And in this guide, I’m going to clue you into all of them! Follow these steps, and you’re sure to take care of your mattress in a way that’s not only good for the environment, but good for your wallet, too.

Deciding When to Replace Your Mattress

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to start inspecting your mattress for wear and tear after seven or eight years of use. This could look like sagging, broken coils, fabric bunching, or any other factors impacting your overall comfort.

This, of course, will look different for each sleeper, which means there’s no date by which you should definitely get rid of your bed. But, if you’re no longer snoozing as dreamily as you once were or you’re waking up with new aches and pains, I’d recommend tossing the mattress out the window and getting a new bed!

Check Your Warranty

When you’re ready to get rid of your mattress, one of the first things you’ll want to do is check the warranty on your purchase. Every warranty is different, so you’ll want to see if yours covers mattress replacement and removal.

Typically, a warranty stipulates a specific time frame in which the company will replace your mattress if it gets damaged (usually between 5-10 years from purchase). However, replacement doesn’t always mean that they’ll cart off your old bed, so you may need to arrange removal on your own terms.

It’s important to do your research before tossing your bed into the trash!

Research State Policies

If you find that your warranty doesn’t cover removal, it’s time to figure out how the heck you’re going to get rid of your mattress. But, before you leave it on the curb or take it to the city dump, you’ll need to read up on your state’s policies for mattress removal.

Some states, like California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, have robust laws that make recycling mattresses a breeze. Companies are required to pay fees up front to cover removal and there are recycling programs throughout the state to cart off old beds with little to no work needed from the part of the sleeper.

Other states, however, have no such laws on the books, so you’ll want to do a little online snooping to see what’s what. If you don’t, you could face some serious fines for not disposing of your bed properly. Plus, you could be disrupting the recycling flow of your city. As always, knowledge is power.

But in general, there are three ways to take care of your mattress: Recycling, Donation, or Junk Removal.

Disposal Options

Recycle

If you can, please recycle your mattress. Like, please, please, pretty please. According to Habitat for Humanity, over 22 million mattresses get discarded irresponsibly every year, whether by being tossed into a landfill or left on the curb. That’s enough mattresses to circle sweet Mama Earth, which is a truly bonkers thing to think about.

Over 22 million mattresses wind up in landfills every year, which is enough to circle the Earth one time!

So, not only do mattresses take up a ton of space, but leaving them in dumps is a complete and total waste of materials that could otherwise be reused. The Mattress Recycling Council, which works with state governments to set up recycling programs, estimates that upwards of 80% of any given mattress can be recycled, from steel coils to wood frames, certain foams, and cover fabrics.

A quick Google search will reveal whether or not there are mattress recycling programs in your community. Typically, these types of programs will send folks to pick up your old bed for a small fee, though of course the specifics change from state to state. Resources like earth911 can help you locate nearby recycling facilities!

Donate

If recycling isn’t going to be a practical option for you, the next best thing to do is donate your mattress. As most of you know, mattresses can be quite expensive, so gifting your old bed to family, friends, or those in need is always a great idea.

However, it’s important to make sure that your bed is in pretty good condition before donating it. Every state has different laws in place governing mattress donations, but almost all stipulate that a donated bed can’t have any rips or stains. These strict parameters are in place to protect future owners of the mattress, so do some research beforehand to figure out if your bed is good to go.

Once you’ve decided whether or not your mattress is donateable, you can use resources like donationtown.org to find an organization to take it. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that many of these groups will require a small sanitation fee to ensure that your mattress is 100% safe.

Junk Removal

And finally, we arrive at junk removal. Not the preferred method for getting rid of a mattress, but one that’ll do in a pinch if you’ve exhausted other options. How this works is you’ll basically contact a local junk removal service (easily googleable) and set up a pick up time. The crew will arrive, cart off your old mattress (for a fee) and you’ll be ready for your new bed in no time.

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding when and how to get rid of your mattress.

Though you’ll sometimes know where your mattress is going, oftentimes its destination will remain a mystery. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but could be a bummer for folks concerned about the “end of life” of their mattress.

When I say “end of life,” I’m referring to a recycling principle in which consumers are tasked with not just thinking about the product while they have it, but where it will go at the end of its life. You won’t be getting that sort of closure with a junk removal service, but it will be better than leaving it on your curb or tossing it into a dumpster.

FAQs

To wrap things up, I’m going to answer a few frequently asked questions we get about mattress disposal here at Sleepopolis!

Where can I throw away a mattress?

Disposing of a mattress differs a lot from community to community, so your best bet is to do some research beforehand to figure out how your local government deals with large scale waste. This is important, because if you discard your mattress inappropriately, you could be fined or face legal action.

When can I throw out my mattress?

I recommend waiting at least 7-8 years before replacing your mattress. Then, you’ll want to work in tandem with either a donation or recycling center to determine pick up, retrieval, and disposal. If you’re doing a curbside pick up, you’ll want to make sure it lines up with your city’s large waste disposal schedule.

How can I get rid of a mattress for free?

One of the easiest ways to get rid of a mattress for free is to donate it! Many charitable organizations will take old beds off your hands at no charge and, of course, family and friends will usually be more than happy to snag a free mattress.

Wrapping Up

Well folks, that does it for this mattress disposal guide! When replacing your bed, remember to do your research  so you know exactly how to get rid of your mattress in a way that’s responsible, legal, and healthy for Mother Nature.

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Cody’s our staff editor here at Sleepopolis, so manages our fantastic editorial team and brings an expert eye to the written content across our social media, news vertical, and blog. A typical day could include editing an extensive piece on sleep paralysis, popping off a quick Instagram post about the benefits of daytime napping, drafting an informative guide to nightmares, or creating a fun round-up of the best cooling mattresses on the market. TL;DR there’s no such thing as a typical day at Sleepopolis and that’s exactly how Cody likes it. His work has appeared online for Esquire, Next, LOGO TV, Fandom, Citylife, The Manual, and more.
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