Recycling Mystery: Mattresses

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Don't kick your old mattress to the curb! Opt for reuse or recycling instead to cut down on environmental impact. Photo: Shutterstock
Don’t kick your old mattress to the curb! Opt for reuse or recycling instead to cut down on environmental impact. Photo: Shutterstock

Mattresses are one of those ubiquitous household items that can be a huge headache when it comes to recycling. Many thrift and secondhand stores don’t want them, and it can be tough to track down a recycling program that accepts them.

That said, sending your used mattress to the landfill can come with a hefty impact on the planet. An estimated 40 million mattresses are disposed of in the U.S. every year, and a mattress can take up as much as 40 cubic feet in a landfill — making it that much more important to recycle your old one.

Despite the difficulties, it can be done! Read on for the lowdown on reusing and recycling your old mattress to help keep landfills empty.

Choose Reuse

If your mattress is still in very good condition, it may be easiest to look for a new owner within your own social circles. Ask friends and family members if they know anyone who needs a mattress and offer up yours for free, or check with churches, homeless shelters and community centers in your neighborhood.

If that doesn’t pan out, you may also be able to give your mattress away through Freecycle or sell it on sites like Craigslist.

Still no luck? While many thrift stores don’t accept used mattresses for sanitary reasons, there are some options out there. Most Salvation Army stores accept used mattresses, and some will even pick up your mattress to save you the trouble of lugging it to your nearest branch.

Some St. Vincent de Paul locations also accept used mattresses for reuse or recycling, but this may vary from region to region. So, be sure to call ahead first to avoid wasting a trip.

Next page: Opt for Recycling

Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Based in the Phoenix metro area, Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.

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