How and where to recycle your old mattress

recycle your old mattressYou know, you can write an ode for your mattress — you’ve kicked it around, rolled on it, maybe dribbled on it, slept on it, and done some more, and yet it has always been there to support you. It’s always there for you to fall back on. Now that it is old, you want to throw it away and buy a new mattress.

But wait! Spare a moment and think about what will happen to your old mattress. It will most likely end up in a landfill, take up 5% of landfill space and weigh millions of pounds together with other old mattresses. The old mattress gang will emit some chemicals and somehow end up harming the environment.

So, you see, it’s not a nice thing to dump your old mattress in a landfill. So, what should you do? It’s tough enough to donate it and your friend will not take it. The best thing you can do is to recycle it. Doing so may even make you some money.

Why are mattresses valuable for recycling?

Old mattresses can be recycled at mattress recycling centers. A mattress typically contains steel springs, stuffing, a wooden frame, fabric and buttons. Mattresses have between 300 and 600 steel coils depending on the mattress size.

These steel coils can be melted and sold or used to make a new mattress. The mattress stuffing is made of cotton and foam which can be reused as pillow stuffing or as carpet padding. The wood frame can be sliced and shred and used as lawn compost or in the firewood or if it is still useful, as carpentry wood.

The fabric and buttons can be used again as long as the fabric is cleaned up nicely. Box springs can be recycled as well — a machine separates them from the mattress and magnets pull them away from the cloth and foam. The foam can be recycled too. A typical mattress recycle job takes about 4-5 minutes.

Where to recycle your mattress

Now, if you have made a decision to recycle your mattress, the question is where will you recycle it? You cannot be lugging your mattress around in your car seeking out mattress recycle shops, can you? So here’s what you should do:

  • Go online and visit sites like Earth911.com that carry listings of mattress recyclers in your area.
  • You can also check with the retailer selling you a new mattress and see if their shop offers a recycling service. Even if they don’t, they will surely know of some mattress recycle services — after all, they are in the mattress retailing business.
  • Before you take your mattress to the mattress recycler, do not forget to ask if they accept mattresses from the general public.

If you are unable to find a mattress recycler, do the earth a favor and recycle it yourself. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Disassemble it — you may make a slight mess of it, but it’d be great if you manage to pull its various components apart.
  • Sell the steel coils to a junk yard.
  • Try and reuse some material for your home.
  • Donate the foam to a school. They will use it in a classroom project.
  • Alternatively, check for shops that buy used stuff in your area and sell the whole used piece to them.

Well, that was how you can recycle mattresses and where to find recycling resources. Have you ever recycled an old mattress?

[Photo: alanstanton/Flickr]

About this guest author: Hasic M is sharing honest mattress reviews and ratings at MattressDetective.com. His main mission is to help you make a better choice and pick a mattress that you will be satisfied with.

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  • http://twitter.com/fromABroad Laine D

    Great article, but wanted to let you know that it is technically illegal in many states to sell or donatedonate a used mattress (makes sense with communicable diseases etc) so check with the charity before you haul that behemoth out to the curb.  Of course you can still send them to be recycled since they’re not going to be used for the same.