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.
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.
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.
“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.”
One Habitat for Humanity affiliate reported in their county an average of over 1900 mattresses of all sizes are donated yearly to their store.
“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.”
In some locations. Find out here.
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.
Charlotte, NC with plans to expand*
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.
Yes, just shoot an email to BFK here.
*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.
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.
“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
Your donated mattress will first be sanitized and then sent to one of three places:
Yes. Depending on your location and the type of items you may have to call a local store. Find out that information here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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? Check out our guide on the best organic mattresses if you want to do the environment one better with your next mattress purchase, or our guide on the best mattresses of 2020 to see more options. You can also leave us a comment below!