Getting a new mattress is super exciting! Who doesn’t love the idea of sinking into a comfy, supportive mattress for their best night’s sleep? But ... buying a new mattress can leave you with a queen-sized problem on your hands.
Yep, we’re talking mattress removal. If you’re not relocating your old mattress to a guest room or donating it to someone who needs it, you can’t settle in for that dream sleep until you’ve figured out what to do with your old mattress. If it wasn't an organic mattress, dumping your old mattress in a landfill certainly isn't your greenest option. And, really, your mattress ending up in a landfill in general isn’t the greatest outcome – no matter what it's made from.
So, what can you do? If you're trying to live as sustainably as possible, don't worry. You do have some more environmentally conscious options for your old mattress. At Happsy, we're all about greener living … sleep, sleep environment and mattress removal most definitely included! Let's walk through some responsible mattress removal options.
Mattress disposal: avoid going straight to the dump
It is no secret that materials like plastic and synthetic foam take a long time to decompose. Unfortunately, these are exactly the type of materials found in conventional mattresses, along with a whole mess of toxic chemicals, flame retardants, mattress glues and more. In fact, conventional mattresses take a century or more to completely decompose. That’s longer than most of our lifetimes.
Considering most people have multiple mattresses throughout their lifetime, that’s a lot of mattresses sitting in landfills leaking toxic chemicals into the ground (AKA "off-gassing"), which is harmful to our environment. When these chemicals enter the soil, you can expect them to end up in our water supply, too.
There's no two ways about it. Your mattress can significantly add to your carbon footprint. Here are some quick facts on mattresses in landfills in the U.S.:
- Nearly 50,000 mattresses enter landfills every day
- Nearly 18 million mattresses enter landfills every year
- On average, a single mattress takes up 40 cubic feet
Yikes. Essentially, there are no pros to sending your mattress to a landfill. It simply transitions it from being your problem to everyone's problem ... especially Mother Nature's.
Mattresses are recyclable!
Yep, that’s right! Although mattress recycling isn't an option for everyone, it's a fantastic (and free!) option for some. Nearly 75% of mattresses are recyclable according to the Mattress Recycling Council, a nonprofit that operates recycling programs in the states that have mattress recycling laws, including:
- Rhode Island
Mattresses are full of materials that can be repurposed into other products if recycled. Obviously, your mattress cannot fit in your recycling bin so how do you go about the mattress recycling process? Here are a couple easy options. You can:
- Use Bye Bye Mattress or Earth 911 to locate a local mattress recycling center
- Contact a local junk removal service to see if they donate or recycle mattresses
Speaking of mattress removal services, you could check out the removal company Happsy partners with, Load Up. We love Load Up because they aim to recycle or donate all of the items they remove, including mattresses. If you use this link to schedule, you will not only get $5 off of your mattress removal, but Happsy will make a donation to 1% for the Planet as well!
Is donating your mattress an option?
Yes, it sure is! But, not always. There are some health and safety best practices to keep in mind. If a mattress has bed bugs, major staining or holes/tears, most charities won't be able to accept it (nor should they). Mattresses in this state are a better candidate for mattress recycling. Also, be aware that a lot of organizations have changed their mattress donation policies after the pandemic.
That said, if your mattress is in pretty good shape, donating it can help someone in need. For example, Happsy partners with Humble Design, a nonprofit that assists those emerging from homelessness. We make monthly new mattress donations, but this organization also accepts gently used mattresses. And your donation could make an enormous difference to someone who is rebuilding their life.
There are plenty of organizations out there that accept mattress donations, but remember to call first and ask what the parameters are and if they are currently accepting them. This helps ensure that your mattress is a good candidate for donation and that they have room for it. Here are some other organizations that usually accept mattress donations:
You can also call local homeless shelters, transitional housing programs, animal shelters and churches, and you can even try posting on Facebook to see if anyone knows a family in need of a gently used mattress.
Consider repurposing your mattress
Before you write off your old mattress entirely, consider if there are other ways to make it useful – same goes for pillows, bedding, etc. If you’re someone who has a little extra time on your hands or who loves to repurpose things for use around your own home, you may love the below options:
- Relocate your old mattress: Do you have a guest bedroom that could use it? If not, consider storing your old mattress in the basement and taking it out for sleepovers or fun movie nights.
- Upgrade your garden set-up: If you’re getting rid of the foundation as well, you can use the wood frame to create a compost pile or a garden box. The mattress filling can be used to protect your compost from the elements by keeping it warm. This actually accelerates composting, so win, win! These same materials can also help keep weeds at bay. Even the springs within the mattress can have a second life as a trellis for viney plants that love to climb.
- Do some DIY recycling: Sometimes, finding a place to recycle the mattress as a whole can either be troublesome or cost a small fee. If you have the space and time, you can take the mattress apart yourself and pull out the materials that may be more easily recycled, like the coils, if already removed from the mattress.
- Get crafty: If you’re taking the mattress apart, the cotton batting can make excellent filler for pillows and bean bag chairs, latex works for pillows and pads, and the coils have all kinds of creative uses!
You have the ability to make a difference by responsibly disposing of your mattress, whether by means of recycling, donating or repurposing. The decision to do so has an impact for years to come as your mattress won’t be sitting in a landfill for the next century decomposing. We know that there are still plenty of mattresses entering landfills each year – some mattresses ending up in landfills is simply unavoidable – but every little bit really does make a huge difference when we’re protecting our planet. Cheers to greener mattress disposal and happy mattress shopping!