How to Recycle Mattresses

Recycle Mattresses
The wood, foam, cotton and metal springs that make up most mattresses are all recyclable. Many charity organizations or recyclers will pick up mattresses, but you will likely have to drop it off at a designated location.

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Frequent Mattress Recycling Questions

How do I get my old mattress recycled?

Each year in the U.S., 40 million mattresses are disposed of, 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.

First, see if the company you bought your mattress from has a take-back program in place. If that doesn’t work out, jump to the recycling locator to track down recycling opportunities near you. Mattress recycling options are limited in the U.S., but the number of programs is growing since mattresses can be taken apart for their components and recycled. King County, Wash., for example, recently expanded its recycling program to include mattresses.

Are thrift stores allowed to sell used mattresses?

Most thrift stores choose not to accept used mattresses for resale. But some, including St. Vincent de Paul, will take your old mattress for recycling or reuse.

Call ahead to local thrift stores and charities in your neighborhood to see if they accept used mattresses. If your mattress is still in good condition, you can also try giving it away on Freecycle or selling it on sites like Craigslist.

Can I take a mattress apart and recycle its pieces?

About 90 percent of the average mattress can be recovered for recycling. If you can’t find a recycler near you that will accept your old mattress, you can also take it apart and recycle the component materials yourself. Some mattress materials, such as the steel coils, can actually make you money at the recycling center.

Keep in mind that mattresses are very difficult to disassemble. If you’re feeling ambitious, check out this DIY guide from How Stuff Works for tips and step-by-step instructions.

Are box springs recyclable? What about foam and Tempur-Pedic mattresses?

Box springs are made up of a steel cage, wood frame and cotton outer layer. After the box spring is disassembled, all of these components can be recovered for recycling. Any recycler or reuse agency in your community that accepts mattresses should also accept your used box spring.

Likewise, the foam used in memory foam, latex foam and Tempur-Pedic mattresses is completely recyclable. It’s just a matter of finding a recycler that accepts it. Most recyclers that accept mattresses should accept foam varieties, but you may want to ask first before lugging your mattress down to the recycling center.
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