Mattress Disposal Guide

Learn about your options to donate your mattress or recycle it depending on its condition.

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just dump your mattress. In many places, you’ll be fined for leaving it on the curb for your garbage collector. In others, you’ll be charged with an ‘illegal dumping’ misdemeanor and face community service and restitution. To make matters worse, your landfill isn’t a responsible option because a mattress can take more than a decade to decompose here.


What’s the Proper Way to Dispose of a Mattress?

You have options! Good, happy options like recycling and charitable donations.
To learn more about the best way to get rid of your mattress, select the condition that your mattress is in from the options below.

Is there a rip or stain anywhere on your mattress?


donate

Donating Your Mattress

If your old mattress is still in good condition, it can be a valuable item for someone in need. Learn how to donate your mattress and choose a mattress donation service near you.

If it’s time for a new mattress but your old mattress can still be used, then donating it to a charitable organization can be a great option.

This resource is designed to help you choose the next chapter in your mattress’ life. Here you can learn about the mission of a number of charitable organizations and their standards for mattress donations to make your choice easy. Keep in mind, there are many laws about donating and reselling mattresses. So while one branch of a national charity may accept your mattress, the one 10 minutes down the road may not. We recommend that you contact your local branch to see what they will and will not take.

If there’s not an organization near you that accepts donated mattresses, try passing it along to a family member or check out our guide to recycling your mattress.

*Not all Habitats take used mattresses. Please contact your local store for more information.

Mission statement:

“Habitat for Humanity partners with people in your community, and all over the world, to help them build or improve a place they can call home. With your support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.”

Impact numbers:

One Habitat for Humanity affiliate reported in their county an average of over 1900 mattresses of all sizes are donated yearly to their store.

Where are they located?:

Nationwide and in 70 countries

What condition must my mattress be in?
  • No age limit, but Habitat will have to inspect it.
  • Mattress cannot have any rips or stains.
Who does my bed go to?

“Your furniture donation is first taken to be sanitized and then sent back to the Habitat ReStore to be sold to someone in your community that will give it a second life,” one Habitat for Humanity affiliate shared with us. “Proceeds from that sale help Habitat for Humanity provide a decent place to live for people in your community and around the world.”

Do they come pick it up at my house?

Yes.

Can I schedule online?

In some locations. Find out here.

Tax deductible? 

Yes.

What other bedding furniture do they accept?
  • Bedding Furniture: headboards, box springs
  • Essential furniture: tables, couches, end tables, coffee tables, dressers, lamps, etc.
Mission statement:

Founded in 2011, Beds for Kids is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to provide beds and essential furniture to children and their families in need. Beds for Kids empowers families with children by delivering these beds and essential furniture items to powerfully supplement the family’s resources as they rise out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.

Impact numbers:
  • In 2017, the delivered 2,239 beds
  • To date, they have served just over 10,000 clients since their launch in 2011
Where are they located? 

Charlotte, NC with plans to expand*

What condition must my mattress be in?
  • 8 years old or younger. No exceptions.
  • No rips or stains.
  • Unfortunately, BFK doesn’t take king-size mattresses. This is largely because the clientele they serve are in 800 x 1200 sq. ft apartments with 3-6 people. King beds take up too much space.
Who does my bed go to?

Beds for Kids works with children and families transitioning out of homelessness. Most of these families are coming out of a shelter or another family member’s house and have nothing. Your mattress will go to families that have been referred by partner agencies of BFK, such as Refugee Support Services, YWCA, Changed Choices, Habitat for Humanity, etc.

Do they come pick it up at my house?

Yes.

Can I schedule online?

Yes, just shoot an email to BFK here.

Tax deductible?

Yes.

What other bedding furniture do they accept?
  • Bedding furniture— headboards, box springs, new bed linens, new pillows and new blankets to give with beds.
  • Essential furniture— tables, couches, end tables, coffee tables, dressers, lamps, etc.

*With hope by the end of 2018/early 2019, the next BFK location will be open. They are hearing from new cities interested in their organization every day!

*Not all Salvation Army’s take used mattresses. Please contact your local store for more information.

Mission statement:

For over 100 years The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) programs have provided spiritual, social, and emotional assistance for men and women who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. Centers offers residential housing, work, and group and individual therapy, all in a clean, wholesome environment.

What condition must my mattress be in?

“The condition a mattress must be in will vary on a local level. However, for all donated items we ask that they be gently-used and to not be ripped, soiled or stained. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t give it to your family to use then please refrain from donating.” – The Salvation Army

Who does my bed go to?

Your donated mattress will first be sanitized and then sent to one of three places:

  1. The Salvation Army Family Stores to be resold – all profits from the family stores fund the ARC program
  2. Directly to the ARC to be used in the residential housing program
  3. Other arms of the Salvation Army, such as Disaster Relief
Do they come pick it up at my house?

Yes.

Can I schedule online?

Yes. Depending on your location and the type of items you may have to call a local store. Find out that information here.

Tax deductible?

Yes.

What other bedding furniture do they accept?
  • Bedding Furniture: headboards, box springs
  • Essential furniture: tables, couches, end tables, coffee tables, dressers, lamps, etc.

recycle

Recycling Your Mattress

Even if your mattress can no longer serve its purpose, the materials in your mattress may still have value

If your old mattress is unfit for donation due to the condition it’s in, there are still steps you can take to dispose of it properly and help improve the earth. By law, charities can’t take mattresses with rips or stains. So we are here to educate you on all the ways your mattress can be reincarnated. It doesn’t have to end here.

Recycling a mattress can be confusing because laws for mattress disposal vary from city to city, but there are still many options available. However, one option we’d advise you to avoid is taking your mattress to a landfill.

Mattresses in landfills = bad news.

Here’s why:

  1. Mattresses don’t compact well.
  2. They take up space.
  3. When a mattress sits in a landfill, it can cause flammable air pockets within its layers.
  4. They often get caught in equipment, causing damage and imposing costs.
  5. Some mattresses contain materials made with non-biodegradable chemicals that can seep into drinking water.

How Your Mattress Can Be Brought Back to Life

There are four main materials in your mattress: foam, steel, fibers and wood. These materials can be extracted and sorted by recycling facilities. Scraps are then sold to material buyers for repurposing. Just look at all the potential your mattress still has.


Where to Recycle a Mattress Near You

Now that you understand all the good recycling your mattress can do, here are some organizations you can contact to get your mattress recycled.

 

This tool, created by Earth 911, locates recycling programs in your area based on the item you want to get rid of. FYI this tool doesn’t filter out junk removal services, so make sure to call and ask where your mattress goes!

Bye Bye Mattress is a recycling program launched by the Mattress Recycling Council. Currently available only in California, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

This tool, created by Sleep on Latex, is a collection of 100 recycling facilities nationwide that accept mattresses. All you have to do is click on a location closest to you and get the details.

Keep America Beautiful launched iwanttoberecycled.org to make saving the earth easy for you. All you have to do is enter your zip code to find recycling facilities in your area.


Junk Removal Services

Before we leave you, we’d like to offer a word of caution on junk removal services.

You may think hiring junk haulers is equivalent to recycling your mattress. That’s not necessarily true. Be sure to call the junk removal service in your area to see where your mattress actually goes once it’s picked up.

We made a few calls—here’s what we found out from customer service reps at the top three junk removal services in the US.

Service Locations Where does it go? Quote*
College Hunks Hauling Junk Available in 36 states nationwide and in Canada. Usually, a landfill, but if you specify you want it donated they will try to make arrangements based on options in your area. $95-$125*
1-800-GOT-JUNK Available in 42 states nationwide. Their default is to keep your mattress out of landfills, so they will make arrangements to recycle it, if possible. $146*
Junk King Available in 30 states nationwide and in Canada. Licensed by law to recycle your mattress. $88* for mattress

$128*for mattress and box spring

*Quoted for a queen size mattress. Quotes may differ based on location and size of items being picked up. 


Now you can rest assured knowing you have disposed of your mattress responsibly. Pat yourself on the back for helping our world become a better and greener place.

Still have questions about mattress recycling or need tips on finding a new mattress? Please leave us a comment below.


Comments (1)

  1. Let’s work together in the Central Florida area…….
    Did you know 90% of a spring mattress is recyclable?

    Mattress waste poses a real problem. There are nearly 40 million mattresses disposed of in the USA alone each year, most ending up in a landfill. Waste mattresses and box springs are not only a nuisance; they are a hazard in landfills. They cannot decompose, they create flammable air pockets, jeopardize the landfill equipment & put operators at risk.

    The most common items in a mattress are fabric, foam, cotton, wood and steel springs.
    The Mustard Seed of Central Florida obtains mattresses for reuse and recycling in the Central Florida area.

    The recycling process is labor intensive and involves stripping the mattress down to its individual components – the quilted topper, the polyurethane foam, the high quality grade steel springs, the wood frames and the rough-hewn interior pad. Those components, in turn, can be baled and sold for use as carpet pads, mulch and shredded steel.

    The Mustard Seed of Central Florida now has the green technology, equipment and capacity to perform this service for the community. In summary, our recycling solution hits the triple bottom line:
    • Provides a green sustainable solution for safe and secure disposal of mattresses
    • Helps provide beds for low income families (we have had a consistent supply of high quality reusable beds since we began the program)
    • Diverts this nuisance from the waste stream, with a huge community benefit

    Since 2011, The Mustard Seed’s recycling program deconstructed over 120,000 mattresses and sold their components, saving over 2.6 million cubic feet of landfill space and protecting our environment.

    The Mustard Seed Mattress Recycling received The Sustainable Florida – 2014 Best Practice Award for outstanding achievements and excellence in helping to create a sustainable economic, environmental and social future for Florida.

    The Mustard Seed Mattress Recycling Program received the Social Entrepreneur & Innovation award at the National Philanthropy Day 2018.


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