Most components of a mattress are recyclable, and recycling a mattress reduces unnecessary landfill waste. Several facilities can pick up old mattresses, or people can travel to recycling centers.

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On average, a mattress will last around seven years before a person needs to replace it. Protective bedding, such as waterproof undersheets and following manufacturer instructions may prolong mattress life.

Learn more about when to replace a mattress here.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for a person’s mental and physical well-being. When a person’s mattress is no longer supportive, it can increase aches and pains and reduce the quality of sleep.

Older and well-used mattresses may also accumulate mold and dust mites, which can cause or worsen respiratory symptoms. They can also trigger allergic reactions in some people. As one study notes, about 25% of people in industrialized countries have allergies, such as a dust mite allergy, that cause symptoms in the upper airways.

As mattresses are large and not biodegradable, disposing of them as waste at a landfill site may have a negative effect on the environment. For this reason, many people are interested in eco-friendly mattress disposal.

According to one mattress recycling scheme in the United States, more than 75% of a mattress is recyclable.

Mattresses components contain different materials. The first stage of processing a mattress for recycling is to take it apart. After separating the various components, the next step is transporting them to specific recycling destinations.

For example, many mattresses contain a layer of metal springs. Part of the recycling process is extracting and sending these springs for scrap recycling.

Foam layers are also recyclable. Foam in good condition undergoes cleaning and then becomes part of carpet manufacturing. If the foam is not good enough for this, then it goes to a plant that uses waste to create energy.

Mattress filling, especially polyester, is also recyclable. However, mattress covers often are not, as sweat, skin, mold, and dust mites contaminate them over time.

Most mattress recycling centers do not offer a free collection service. For this reason, mattress recycling will often require individuals to transport their own mattress to their local recycling center.

It is important for anyone who is moving a mattress to do so carefully. It may be dangerous to attempt to move a mattress alone, as this can be very strenuous.

Some states have Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws. This means that the producer is responsible for the collection and recycling of products. However, the amount of responsibility may differ from state to state.

According to the International Joint Commission, only California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island currently have EPR programs for mattresses.

The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) is a non-profit organization that educates manufacturers and provides cost-free collection networks for residential and commercial mattresses in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. However, the MRC states it will launch a program in Oregon in 2024.

The MRC created Bye Bye Mattress to help people in these states and across the country to access mattress recycling facilities.

When states pass laws requiring people to recycle their mattresses, they also start charging a statewide recycling fee on every mattress and box spring sold. This is when Bye Bye Mattress becomes active in a state. In these states, a person can recycle their mattress for free.

However, recycling centers and companies in other states may charge a fee for recycling mattresses.

Bye Bye Mattress provides a directory of recycling centers and companies that accept mattresses for recycling.

People will have to call or visit each company to learn whether it offers pick-up or if a person has to transport the mattress to the location themselves.

Where recycling a mattress is not possible, people can consider other ethical options.

Sometimes, a mattress may only show a few signs of wear and tear. When this happens, it may be worth attempting to reuse the mattress rather than recycling it.

Some thrift stores and charities will accept mattresses in nearly new condition. A person can contact the organization to find out whether they will accept mattresses or other bedding products and what standards these items must meet.

When a mattress is unsuitable for recycling or donation, a person should dispose of it at a landfill.

In either case, mattress disposal often involves individuals transporting the mattress to a local facility.

It is important to remember that lifting heavy objects can be harmful. For example, scientists know that this activity can sometimes worsen hernias.

Dumping a mattress is illegal and hazardous to the environment.

Here we answer some common questions about recycling mattresses.

How do you dispose of a ruined mattress?

It is always worth inquiring whether a recycling center will take a ruined mattress. Depending on the extent of the damage, the center may be able to take some components, such as the springs, to recycle.

How do you recycle mattress materials?

Although roughly 75% of a mattress is recyclable, this is not generally something a person can do on their own.

To recycle a mattress, a person should check if their local government offers curbside mattress recycling or visit Bye Bye Mattress to view its directory or recycling centers and companies.

Replacing an old mattress can have important positive consequences for a person’s health. However, many people are worried about the environmental impact of mattress disposal.

People can recycle most mattresses at local facilities. Numerous organizations and businesses accept mattresses in various conditions for recycling.

If recycling a mattress is not possible, some charities will accept mattresses in good condition. Otherwise, disposal at a landfill is the last option.