Getting rid of an old mattress can be a difficult and inconvenient task. Mattresses are large, heavy, and awkward to move and transport. Improperly disposing of a mattress can also lead to illegal dumping. This article will provide tips and guidelines on the proper and legal ways to dispose of an old mattress.
When Is It Time to Get Rid of Your Mattress?
Knowing when it’s time to replace your mattress can help you avoid sleep issues and health problems. Here are some signs that indicate you should start shopping for a new mattress:
- You’ve had your mattress for over 7 years – Most mattresses should be replaced every 7-10 years. The materials break down over time.
- You wake up with aches and pains – An old, sagging mattress can cause back, neck and joint pain. Lack of support leads to poor sleep quality.
- You see visible sagging or indentations – Sagging of more than 1-1.5 inches indicates the mattress materials are breaking down.
- You sleep better in other beds – Pay attention to how you feel when sleeping in a hotel or friend’s guest room. If you sleep better elsewhere, you may need a new mattress.
- Allergy symptoms have increased – Dust mites and allergens build up in an old mattress. This can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms.
Dangers of Improperly Disposing of a Mattress
It may be tempting to put your old mattress out with the trash or dump it illegally, but this causes problems for communities and the environment:
- Mattresses are bulky, so illegally dumped mattresses take up significant landfill space.
- Chemicals and materials from mattresses can leach into groundwater when dumped illegally.
- Mattresses dumped illegally can collect rainwater and breed mosquito populations.
- Local municipalities often have to dedicate resources and labor to collect dumped mattresses. This raises taxes/costs for residents.
- Mattresses dumped on roads, fields, or other properties lower surrounding property values and create an eyesore.
- You can face fines or legal penalties for illegally dumping a mattress in many areas.
Preparing Your Mattress for Disposal
Before getting rid of your mattress, there are a few steps you should take to prepare it:
- Remove the mattress from the bed frame – It’s easier to handle and transport a mattress on its own.
- Vacuum the mattress – Vacuum all surfaces to remove dust, dander, and debris. This also allows any bed bugs to be removed.
- Air out the mattress – Place the mattress outside and allow it to air out for a few hours to remove odors and air it out.
- Strip off bedding and mattress cover – Remove all sheets, mattress pads, and covers before disposal. These can be washed and reused or disposed of separately.
- Clean any stains – Use an enzyme cleaner, vinegar solution or hydrogen peroxide to clean any visible stains or soiling on the mattress surface.
Ways to Dispose of an Old Mattress
There are several responsible ways to dispose of a mattress without illegally dumping it. Options include:
Curbside Bulk Waste Pickup
Many municipal waste management providers offer a bulk waste pickup service. Residents can call and schedule a time for large items like mattresses to be collected from the curb. Fees are often $10-$30 per item.
You can transport your old mattress to a local landfill. Fees for dropping off mattresses and box springs often range from $10-$20. Call ahead to check requirements and fees.
Special Waste Collection Events
Some communities hold periodic waste collection events for large or hazardous household items. Mattresses are often accepted at these events for free or reduced cost.
Retailer Take-Back Program
Some mattress retailers, like Original Mattress Factory and Sit ‘n Sleep, offer recycling or haul away programs when a customer purchases a new mattress. In some cases, there may be a small fee.
Donate for Reuse
Shelters, charities and organizations like Habitat for Humanity sometimes accept used mattress donations if the mattress is still clean and in good condition. Call local charities to find out if they can take mattress donations.
Mattress Removal Companies
Junk removal companies and waste management firms like 1-800-Got-Junk or Waste Management often provide old mattress removal services. Rates vary based on location and mattress size but average $100-$200.
Mattress Recycling Facilities
Specialized mattress recycling facilities accept old mattresses, break them down and recycle the materials. Search for “mattress recycling near me” to find local options. Fees vary by facility.
DIY Mattress Disposal
If you want to handle mattress disposal yourself, here are a few options:
Rent a Truck
Rent a truck, van or junk removal trailer from Home Depot, U-Haul or a rental company. Transport the mattress yourself to the dump, donation center or recycling facility.
Cut Up In Pieces
Use a utility knife to cut up the mattress into manageable pieces. Double wrap the pieces with plastic and dispose of them in your regular household trash pickup over several weeks.
List For Free Collection
List your mattress as “free” on sites like Craigslist and Freecycle. There is often someone willing to haul it away for reuse or disposal. Avoid leaving it curbside for long periods.
Illegal Mattress Dumping: What To Avoid
While the convenience may be tempting, here are some disposal methods to avoid:
- Leaving on the curb or street indefinitely
- Dumping in a field, wooded area, commercial lot or any non-public space
- Burying on public or private land
- Burning or incinerating, which releases toxic gases and chemicals
- Putting out with bulky waste without contacting provider for pickup
- Placing in a dumpster that does not belong to you
- Hiding mattress inside bulk waste like branches or furniture
These practices can incur hefty fines. Only utilize proper disposal methods.
Choosing an Eco-Friendly Mattress
When shopping for a new mattress, look for eco-friendly options that are easier to dispose of responsibly. Consider mattresses made from natural materials like:
- Organic cotton
- Natural latex
- Recycled steel springs
- Sustainably sourced wool
- Plant-based foams
Many eco-mattress brands like Avocado, Birch and Happsy utilize these materials. Look for mattresses with certifications like:
- GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard)
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100
- Greenguard Gold
These labels indicate the mattresses are made without toxic chemicals and are sustainably produced. Choosing an eco-friendly mattress means it will have less impact when you eventually dispose of it.
Mattress Disposal Regulations By State
Mattress disposal laws, rules and fees can vary widely depending on where you live. Here are some state-by-state mattress disposal requirements:
Arizona – No special regulations. Follow local municipality policies.
California – Mattress recycling law requires retailers to provide pickup and recycling of old mattress with each delivery. Fees apply.
Colorado – Mattress disposal ban prohibits landfill dumping. Must recycle or donate.
Connecticut – $9 recycling fee per mattress. Retailers must provide recycling.
Maine – Mattress manufacturers coordinate recycling program. $16 fee on new mattresses funds the program.
Maryland – Counties set their own mattress recycling and disposal policies. Fees range $5-$25.
Massachusetts – Statewide mattress recycling law start in 2021. Retailers must collect used mattresses.
Minnesota – Mattress recycling law. Retailers collect old mattresses and charge a visible recycling fee.
New Jersey – Regulations vary by county or municipality. Most levy a $10-$25 recycling fee.
Rhode Island – Law requires retailers provide mattress recycling. Fee ranges from $10-$16 per unit.
Vermont – Ban on landfilling and incinerating mattresses. Must donate, recycle or self-haul to facility.
Contact your local waste authority to learn about mattress recycling programs and fees in your state or county.
Top Mattress Brands and Average Cost
If you decide it’s time to replace your old, worn out mattress with a new one, here is an overview of some top mattress brands and their average queen size mattress costs:
|Starting Queen Price
|Stearns and Foster
|Tuft and Needle
Prices can range higher depending on mattress materials, size, and features. Be sure to comparison shop and look for sales around holidays for the best deals.
Mattress Buying Considerations
Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for the best new mattress for your needs and budget:
- Sleep style – Side, back and stomach sleepers have different needs for spinal alignment and pressure relief. Choose a mattress suited for your sleep position.
- Mattress type – Consider innerspring, memory foam, latex and hybrid mattresses to find the most comfortable material for you.
- Firmness – Medium to medium-firm mattresses accommodate most sleepers. Soft or firm options work for side or back sleepers.
- Sinkage – See how much you “sink in” when lying on a mattress. Moderate sinkage with support often gives the best comfort.
- Motion isolation – Memory foam and latex mattresses isolate movement better for couples. Innerspring and hybrids have more motion transfer.
- Edge support – Firmer foam encasement minimizes sagging around the edges when getting in and out of bed.
- Temperature – Memory foam and polyfoam can retain heat. Latex, innerspring and hybrids allow more airflow.
- Warranty – Look for at least 10 years of coverage. Longer warranties signal durability.
- Trial period – Online brands often offer 100+ night trials to test the mattress at home.
- Return policies – Understand the conditions, fees and process for returns before purchasing.
Taking the time to find the right mattress for your needs and budget will ensure you get the best sleep possible and won’t need to replace your new mattress for many years.
The Bottom Line
Getting rid of an old mattress properly is important for you and your local community. With planning and preparation, there are many responsible ways to dispose of or recycle mattresses, including curbside pickup, drop-off recycling, mattress removal services and retailer take-back programs. Avoid illegal dumping. Choosing an eco-friendly mattress can make eventual disposal easier. Be sure to understand your state’s specific mattress recycling regulations and fees as well. With the right approach, you can remove an old mattress from your home seamlessly.