Mattress disposal is (literally) no small matter. Leaving something this sizeable out for the refuse collectors isn’t an option. You might be keen to keep it out of landfill, too.
So, if you've bought yourself a brand new mattress (no doubt, from our list of the best mattresses), what is the right way to dispose of it? The list of options will depend on the condition of the mattress. If it hasn’t gone beyond its useful lifetime – it simply wasn’t the right design for you – you’ll have more choices. Use our expert guide to find the best mattress disposal strategy.
While some places will offer free mattress disposal, you may have to part with a small sum at others. Whichever place you choose to part with your old mattress, the encouraging news is that more companies are choosing to recycle instead of laying your bed straight into landfill.
Mattress disposal made easy
1. Get your new mattress supplier to take it away
Depending on where you’ve decided to buy the new mattress, you might be able to get the store to take the old one away. The company may take advantage of a specialist recycling service for mattresses. John Lewis, for example, works with The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group), which diverts 100 percent of the mattresses it processes from landfill.
Meanwhile, if you’re buying a new Ikea mattress, the company can take away the old one. It will be given to a local charity partner who will in turn donate it to someone in need or, if this is not possible, disassemble and recycle it in an environmentally responsible way, the company says.
Bear in mind that there may be a charge for taking away your old mattress even though you’ve bought a new one from that company, so always check the T&Cs first.
'A key element within our sustainability policy is our mattress recycling service,' says Andrew Tyler, co-founder, Brook + Wilde.
'Whether it’s your old mattress or a Brook + Wilde mattress that doesn’t quite suit, our committed team strip down the mattress into parts, with each component being recycled – for example, our memory foam goes on to be used for heat insulation. Over 95% of our materials are recycled, with the remainder being used for energy. This process ensures that nothing goes to waste or to landfill.'
While Emma Reid, head of sustainability at Simba Sleep says: 'We can remove your old mattress. Simply select the mattress removal option at checkout. This service costs £40 for all mattress sizes,'
'Within 2-3 working days post-delivery, our partner KEEN & ABLE will contact you via text to schedule a convenient removal date. This will be within 1 week of your delivery date.'
'Currently, we cannot offer this service in a few parts of the UK, so if you cannot see the option in the checkout, unfortunately, the removals service is not available in your area.'
'Your courier will remove the same number of mattresses that are delivered. For example, if you’ve ordered 2 mattresses, the courier will remove 2 mattresses. Don’t worry about moving your old mattress, your courier will remove it from any room. Don’t leave your old mattress outside, this could damage it and make it unsafe for handling and might prevent us from completing the collection service.'
2. Dispose of an old mattress yourself
If the store where you’ve bought a new mattress doesn’t offer removal for the old one, you might be able to arrange disposal yourself. Be wary that it’s not just disposal but recycling you’re arranging when that’s your preference.
Here, we look at some of the options:
3. Mattress removal by the council
You could take a look at the mattress disposal services available from your local council. Find out about waste collections in your area by inputting your postcode into the UK government’s site, or going straight to the local authority’s website. However, be aware that you're likely to be charged for this service – and that while some local councils do recycle old mattresses, many don't and they'll end up in landfill.
So, if what happens to the mattress next concerns you, be aware that you can’t assume it will be recycled. It could, for example, be shredded and used with other waste to generate electricity, or it might still end up in landfill. Where it’s not made clear on your local authority’s site, you’ll need to ask.
If you do choose this route, be aware that it's not as simple as leaving your bed out on display for the garbage man on your usual trash day. You may need to book in a special collection online and declare the number of mattresses you want to get rid of.
In order to collect the items, your council may ask you to display it at the boundary of your property so that they can carry out the collection quickly, efficiently, and safely. Because no one wants to see a mattress in the middle of the road. Nor do you want to navigate your way around it on the sidewalk.
4. Take the mattress to the tip
Tip, recycling center, dump? Whatever you call it, this waste facility can be used for mattress disposal.
Check first if your local tip deals with mattress disposal. If so, you’ll have to be able to fit the mattress into a car, of course, to get it to the local waste center. Mattress too big to squash in or don’t have a car? You might be back to contacting your local council to arrange collection, which as we've said above is likely to incur a charge.
If you've swapped your car for a van to transport your mattress - make sure you check for vehicle height restrictions. You don't want to get to your location only to find yourself maneuvering your mattress manually. Especially if you've gone alone, or if you've paid to rent or hire a vehicle for the day for this purpose.
To make your mattress disposal experience as pleasant as possible, avoid busy days (Saturdays can be pretty busy for example) and instead pick an off-peak time to visit. Generally speaking, this might be during office hours, but it's best to check opening hours anyway as these vary center to center. Some may even request that you book a dedicated slot in advance.
And... Don't forget to bring some form of identification with you. You'll need ID to prove that you live within the borough, council, or state that you are bringing your old mattress to.
Examples of Identification that you might need:
- Proof of address
- A council tax bill
- A driving license
- A household bill
- Tax bill/utility bill/bank statement
- Residents parking permit
5. Use a mattress recycling service
There’s also the option to contact a mattress recycling service about mattress disposal, such as CollectYourOldBed.com, and arrange for it to take yours. Some of these services are free; others will levy a charge, depending on where you live, so always check first.
6. Freecycle: Donate your old mattress
For a mattress that’s in good nick, there’s the opportunity to find it a new home yourself. Freecycle and you’ll keep it out of landfill. Finding someone who needs a mattress in your local community means it won’t have to be hauled too far either.
7. British Heart Foundation: give an old mattress to charity
Like the idea of giving it to a charity? The British Heart Foundation accepts mattresses for its furniture shops if they’re in good clean condition with no rips, tears, or stains. It’s important that the mattress still has its fire label referring to BS 7177 in place. If your mattress is up to scratch, book the free collection.
'One of the ways we implement sustainability is by donating all gently used mattresses to the British Heart Foundation.' explains Tyler.
'By donating rather than discarding them, we eliminate the risk of our products going to landfill. We are proud that our mattresses are never wasted and can be enjoyed anew for years to come. Not only is giving to charity better for the environment, but it makes us feel good, too.'
8. Donate the mattress to a low income family
Mattress disposal needn't be about throwing it away. You could also take a look at the Furniture Donation Network if you want to contribute to charity. Items it collects are given to low-income families, or sold to help fund its social welfare objectives. Once again, your mattress will need to have its fire label sewn in, and be in very good or excellent condition. If you’re not sure yours qualifies, upload a photo to the site and fill out the form to check.
It’s also worth approaching local charities so long as the mattress has the appropriate fire label and is in great shape.
9. Sell the mattress
'Generally speaking, a fair market price for a used mattress will be somewhere around 20-30% of the original retail value.' says Daniel Noyed, certified sleep coach, Sleep Foundation, A One Care Media Company.
'So, for example, if you paid $1,000 for a memory foam mattress originally, you will likely be able to sell it for $200 to $300.'
'With that said, various factors can influence the fair market value of a used mattress.'
Factors which may affect the selling price of your mattress:
- How old it is (a 3-year-old mattress may fetch twice as much as a 7-year-old mattress)
- How often it was used (primary bed vs. guest bedroom)
- The mattress’ physical condition, stains, visible sagging, etc.
- The mattress’ brand, model, and reviews
- The mattress' composition including special fabrics and materials
- Seller perks (delivery included, or pick-up only)
10. Use a private junk disposal service
Whether you've got a memory foam, sprung or hybrid bed, mattress disposal can be a challenge. So if you live by yourself or can't round up a couple of friends to help move your mattress out of your bedroom, call on some professional help. LoadUp for example, operates in 170 cities in the US, so you're likely to find loaders who are local to you. 1-800-Got-Junk is another company to consider for your mattress disposal needs.
11. Other helpful resources
Wayfair's furniture disposal guide drills down on each state and town's waste management with information on mattress disposal and pickup regulations. This rich resource includes detailed guidance on curbside collection, special services, or whether you can bin your mattress on your normal trash day.
How can I get rid of an old mattress?
'When you need to get rid of an old mattress, call on the mattress disposal pros,' says Tiffany Luther, head of marketing, LoadUp.
'Our junk removal teams will pick up and haul away your unwanted bed for eco-friendly disposal near you to save you time. Our in-home removal is your on-demand service so you can dispose of and recycle mattresses while saving your back.'
'As the nationwide leader in mattress disposal services, we offer easy and affordable mattress haul-away services near you. Let us do all the heavy lifting and hauling of your old mattress or box springs, so you don’t have to lift a finger.'
How not to dispose of a mattress
'Even though it may be a tempting way to dispose of a mattress for free, we advise that you do not burn it,' says Mark Feldman, director of RecycleZone.
'While there are no specific regulations prohibiting bonfires in England and Wales, lighting a mattress on fire might be hazardous as you could quickly lose control of the fire. They may also be harmful to your health and the environment due to the gases they emit.'