The Recycling “Postcode Lottery”: How Mattress Recycling Costs Vary Across the Country

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Joy Richards - June 3, 2019 Hi, I’m Joy - Happy Beds' Sleep Specialist. Aside from Italian food and my three lovely boys, nothing makes me happier than helping our customers find what works for them, and how they can make the most of their forty winks.

The Recycling “Postcode Lottery”: How Mattress Recycling Costs Vary Across the Country

Putting your head down for your first night’s sleep on your new mattress is an amazing feeling, but before you reach this bliss, you probably have to consider what to do with the old mattress.

Disposing of your old model can be a difficult task, especially if you don’t have sufficient means of transport to get it to your local recycling centre. (Sadly, buses don’t allow old mattresses to travel with you.)

 

The Recycling Postcode Lottery

Most British councils offer a bed and mattress collection service – but we’ve conducted in-depth research and have found out there are huge discrepancies in terms of how much you could be charged by your local authority.

Find out if this service is available in your area and how much it’ll cost you by exploring our mattress recycling map. Our map also tells you how much you can expect to pay for our Happy Beds delivery teams to take your old mattress away.

 

 

About Our Research

We’ve conducted exclusive research to discover the costs councils charge to collect and recycle bulky items, like beds and mattresses, and plotted these good-to-know prices on an easy-to-use interactive map.

The map shows the fees mainland British councils charge for bulky waste removal in 378 different districts - simply select your area and you can find out the council cost for collecting and recycling a mattress, and whether you are in catchment for Happy Beds’ mattress recycling services.

 

Mattress Disposal by Numbers – Let’s Look at Some Stats

According to our research, the average Brit pays £26 to get their mattress recycled. However, the price you pay very much depends on where you live.

This ‘postcode lottery’ means, for instance, that if you live in Aylesbury Vale, you’ve got the winning numbers for the most expensive mattress recycling fees, at £75. Other expensive local authorities include Stevenage (£68.75), Argyll & Bute (£63.35) and Richmond Upon Thames (£60.00).

On the other hand, if you live in a city, you’ll usually pay much less. What’s more, councils in Manchester, Liverpool, Hull, Belfast, Glasgow, Nottingham, Oxford, Cardiff – as well as six London authorities – all collected and disposed of bulky waste free of charge.

Councillor James Noakes, Cabinet Member for Streetscene in Liverpool, told us:

“We have taken a decision to retain free bulky waste collections because we want to make it as easy as possible for people to dispose of large items and prevent dumping or fly tipping. Our bulky household waste collection partner has completed over 1.1million collections over the last 30 years. Everything is checked to see if it is suitable for reuse, and if it is, much of it is given away for free through 200 referral agencies.”

Doug Sharp, Head of Waste Management at Hull City Council, also commented:

“Hull residents can claim one free bulky item collection, per household, in each calendar year.

“Hull City Council is one of only a few local authorities that provides this service at no cost. The scheme was introduced in 2011. From January to December 2018, the council collected 14,076 bulky items.”

However, depending on where you live, you could be stung by soaring fees to recycle your mattress responsibly via your local council.

 

 

We also analysed British regions, and Wales again came out on top, whereas those living in the South East experience some of the cheapest rates in England.

 

By Region Average Recycling Cost
North East 25.15
North West 22.69
Midlands 24.71
East 23.01
South West 25.71
South East 18.08
London 20.66

 

England 27.12
Wales 22.67
Scotland 28.20

 

The table below shows the councils with the highest fees across all three nations.

 

Most expensive in England Most expensive in Wales Most expensive in Scotland
Aylesbury Vale - £75.00 Ceredigion - £44.00 Argyll and Bute - £65.25
Stevenage - £68.75 Wrexham - £42.50 Orkney Islands - £53.00
Richmond Upon Thames - £60.00 Flintshire - £40.00 Stirling - £42.10
Eastleigh - £58.00 Isle of Anglesey - £29.00 Clackmannanshire - £39.00
Central Bedfordshire - £55.80 Torfaen - £28.00 Perth and Kinross - £35.00

 

Wales wins the title of cheapest recycling fees. England does, however, have 15 councils that offer free mattress recycling programs, more than Scotland or Wales.

We also found some areas which do not offer bulky waste collection services, such as the Isles of Scilly and Tendring.

 

Why Mattress Recycling Matters

 

 

Research by the National Bed Federation shows that 75% of people replace their bed at least every ten years, with the mean replacement being every 6.9 years – down from 7.2 years in 2018, 7.4 in 2017 and 7.9 in 2016.

This is proven by an estimate of around 10 million mattresses discarded in the UK each year. If all of these were placed side by side, with an average width of a double bed at 4ft6”, this would equate to 46,000,000 feet. That’s 8,712 miles!

 

 

So, with so many mattresses no longer wanted, ethical removal is more important than ever.

And, the National Bed Federation agrees. At the end of 2018, the trade association for UK manufacturers of mattresses and beds announced an ambitious target of diverting 75% of old mattresses from landfill by 2028.

It reports that current recycling rates are more like 15-20%, with spring units, foam and polyesters being the most commonly reused or recycled components.

 

Discover Mattress Recycling Services Near You

If you’re thinking of ordering a comfortable new mattress from our range here at Happy Beds, we would encourage you to check out your bed recycling options. Search your area and ethically dispose of your old mattress using our recycling map and collection services.