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How to Recycle a Mattress

How to Recycle a Mattress

A good quality mattress can last for years, but - like everything else - it will need replacing after so long. Whilst getting a new mattress is easy enough, safely disposing of your old one can seem like a headache.

But, fear not! We’ve got your back! Not only do we offer a mattress recycling service, but we’ve also compiled everything you need to know about how to recycle a mattress, explaining why you should choose to turn your old sleep space into something new.

What are the benefits of recycling your mattress?

Each year, approximately 15 - 20 million mattresses are bought by UK residents. And, in turn, around 10 million mattresses are then discarded. That’s equivalent to every single person in Egypt dumping their mattress once done, which, obviously, is bad news for both your bank and the environment.

Since mattresses take up such a large amount of space, it’s no surprise that nearly one and a half billion feet of landfill is occupied by them each year. On top of this, mattresses are manufactured from both organic and inorganic materials, meaning whilst some materials will break down within a few years, others can take decades.

And - to make matters worse - mattresses also contain chemicals, such as bleaches and dyes, which cause ground pollution. These chemicals are incredibly toxic to animals and plants, and although some have taken measures to limit the effects, ecosystems are still routinely contaminated and destroyed.

For these reasons, choosing to recycle your mattress instead of disposing of it by other means is a total no-brainer!

Which parts of a mattress can be recycled?

When you think of your mattress as a whole, it’s difficult to see which parts of it could be recycled. You may be surprised about how much can be salvaged and reused:

  • Metal springs: these can be melted down to make building materials, at a much cheaper cost.
  • Wadding: a term used to describe mattress filling, it can be used in a variety of ways depending on the material. Wadding can be recycled for insulation, bedding, cushion fillings and new mattress fillings!
  • Foam: this can be recycled into carpet underlay or automotive cushioning.
  • Mattress covering: whilst these fibres are generally difficult to recycle, some can be mixed with Kevlar to make stab-proof vests!

How is a mattress recycled?

The mattress recycling process is actually a lot simpler than you may have first thought.

  1. To begin, the top layer of a mattress is cut, peeled, and separated from the interior.
  2. The materials are then pulled apart and divided by type.
  3. Finally, soft commodities, such as foam, are baled and compressed for transport to factories in order to be reused - simple!

The Boston Globe created an in-depth video on mattress recycling, take a look below:

How to dispose of a mattress: your other options

In most cases, recycling your mattress is the best option, especially if it’s older and past its best! However, there are alternative ways you can get rid of a mattress, including:

1. Give your mattress to a friend or family member

If your mattress is still in good condition but is no longer suitable for your needs, you could give the mattress to a family member or friend. However, keep in mind that not everyone will be comfortable accepting a second-hand mattress.

Another option is to move the mattress to another room. For example, could you use it in the spare bedroom if it’s still in good condition?

2. Donate your mattress to a charity shop

You may be able to donate your old mattress to a charity shop, although not all charities accept them. You should always ring your chosen charity shop to check before dropping off your mattress. Often, the charity will arrange to have your mattress collected.

If you do choose to donate your mattress, it should be in working order without damage or stains. It should also still have the fire safety label attached.

3. Sell your mattress

If your mattress is still in good condition, you may be able to sell it on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay. However, don’t expect to get the full value you paid for your mattress; around 20%-30% of the original price is often the going rate for a second-hand mattress.

If you do choose to sell your old mattress online, in-person collection is the cheapest option. Sending a mattress via a delivery company is expensive, which could outweigh the money you make from the sale.

4. Ask your local council to collect your mattress

Typically, mattress pick-up and recycling can be operated by a local council as part of their bulky waste pickup service. However, rates can vary wildly depending on location, so it can be quite expensive especially if you only have one item for collection.

Double-check with your local council how they will dispose of the mattress. While some may recycle it, it may be that they will simply take it to the local tip, which adds to the problem of landfill waste.

5. Take your mattress to the tip

While it’s not an option we would recommend, you can of course take your old mattress to your local tip. However, to reduce the number of items we send to landfill each year, try to make use of other ways to dispose of your mattress instead.

How not to dispose of your mattress

While you have options for how to get rid of a mattress, there are some things you definitely shouldn’t do, including:

1. Burning your mattress

You should never burn your mattress to get rid of it. When you burn a mattress, poisonous gases, including carbon monoxide, are released into the atmosphere. As the fire spreads through the mattress, it could become difficult to control and could spread to your surroundings creating a major hazard for yourself and the people around you.

If sending a mattress to a landfill is bad for the environment, burning it causes next-level damage and should be avoided at all costs.

2. Fly-tipping your mattress

Fly-tipping is when you leave waste items and materials, such as your mattress, on land that isn’t licensed to accept it. It is illegal and if you’re caught doing so, you could face anything from a fixed penalty notice of between £150-£400 up to an unlimited fine and prison sentence of up to five months.

Fly-tipping is common, making communities appear messy and creating an often significant clean-up cost for the landowner. Stay on the right side of the law and never dispose of your mattress via fly-tipping.

3. Choosing an unscrupulous company

This next one is harder to spot but some companies will collect your mattress and not dispose of it correctly. For example, you could pay someone to take your mattress away and they could fly-tip it without you knowing.

We recommend using a reputable company to dispose of or recycle your mattress to avoid the worry of this happening to you.

Do your bit for the planet with mattress recycling!

Hopefully, our guide has highlighted the benefits of recycling your mattress over sending it to landfill. Not only does mattress recycling help the environment, but it can also help others too, from the everyday tradesman to a friend or family member - win-win!

With mattress recycling easier than ever, why not do your bit for the planet and make the most of your old sleep space? As well as recycling your old mattress with us, you can also find your perfect new mattress here at Happy Beds. Choose from pocket-sprung, memory foam and more today.

Find out about our mattress recycling
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