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Out with the Old: Donate or Recycle Your Mattress

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Mattresses don't last forever. When a mattress gets old, worn, or maybe you simply want to change the type of mattress you use, the next step is to get rid of the old mattress.

What do you do with your old mattress, though? There are a few options, including donating and recycling. Finding the best option for you depends on your mattress and convenience.

Is it time for a new mattress?

Mattresses have a generalized lifespan of 8 years. That lifespan could fall a little shorter or longer than the recommendation depending on several things, for example:

  • The type of mattress
  • The quality of the mattress
  • How many years you've had it
  • How well it was cared for and protected
  • Did kids or pets jump and play on it?

The three main types of mattresses and their lifespans are:

  • Hybrid innerspring and foam mattress - 6 years
  • Plain innerspring mattress - 10 years
  • Latex or Memory foam mattress- 15 (plus) years

There are plenty of signs to look for with your mattress, despite its age, that can help you determine whether or not it's time to let your mattress go and replace it. Here are some things to look for:

  • Sagging or lumpy in spots
  • Springs or coils are felt through the mattress
  • You feel your partner's every move
  • Noisy, squeaky springs with every move you make
  • You just can't get comfortable anymore or get a good night's sleep
  • Badly stained, smelly, ripped and torn, or other noticeable, badly worn conditions

Mattresses are big, bulky pieces of home furnishings. Even twin-sized mattresses are not easy to move around. When it comes time to retire your old mattress and invest in a new one, you'll want to know your best options for disposing of it. What are the proper, easiest, and most environmentally friendly ways to get rid of an old mattress? Depending on your situation, we have some good ideas and ways to do it.

Donate your old mattress

Donating your old mattress is a nice idea for those in need of a mattress who can't afford a brand new one. There are a lot of charities and shelters that might be interested in donated mattresses. Not all charities will not take any old mattress, and rightly so. Not all used mattresses are worthy of passing on.

Think of confinement shops. Many request "lightly worn" clothing to re-sale. The same principles apply to charities and shelters, especially for something as personal as a mattress. Mattresses can be "too used" and worn for donation due to several reasons. Sanitary issues are at the top of the list. Infestations or children having accidents on a mattress can cause bacteria and germs that shouldn't be spread to others. Mattresses that are in considerably bad shape - old and worn and the very reason you may be getting rid of it - won't be accepted either.

Before trying to donate your mattress, consider the condition it's in.
Is it past its prime in age? Does it exhibit any or all of the distressing signs of a worn-out mattress listed above? If so, chances are, it won't be donatable. On the-other-hand, if yours is nice, why not help someone who doesn't have the means to get one, by donating yours? Many charities and organizations will even offer to come pick it up so you don't have to deal with the hassles of getting it to them.

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Your local shelters
  • Animal shelters

These are just a few donation centers or organizations that may accept used mattresses.

Sell your old mattress

Selling an old mattress is another option, especially if you're looking to make a little extra money. Some people have moving sales or list household items on eBay or other local marketplaces.

Keep in mind, when selling your old mattress, you should treat the sale the same way a donation would be treated. Be sure it's in good enough condition to pass on to someone else. Ask yourself; would you want to buy your mattress, knowing what condition it's in, and how it was cared for? If yes, then selling your old mattress is another good way to recycle it.

Recycle your old mattress

Sustainable living is important to saving our world and environment. It takes each one of us to do our part; like recycling what we don't need or use anymore, rather than just dumping it into landfills to sit.

Did you know that over 50,000 mattresses are thrown into landfills every single day? That's a lot of mattresses that could be recycled instead.

If you decide to get rid of an old mattress but don't want the hassle of trying to sell it or find a charity, then contact your local mattress recycle center.

Mattress recycle centers will turn all the components of the mattress into reusable products, which means, you've done your part in helping to keep our planet a cleaner, healthier planet for our future generations. Here's what happens to your mattress at a mattress recycling center:

  • Foam is used for animal bed padding or carpeting underlayment
  • Metal and box springs are sent to scrap metal recyclers, then off to steel mills for using in future products
  • Wood frame and slats are shred to be used as mulch or burned for fuel source

Some recycling centers may charge a small fee to come and collect the mattress from you. Be sure to ask about their pick-up charges and what they are.

Upcycle your old mattress

Have you ever taken something you don't use or like anymore, and re-purposed it into something else? Perhaps an old ladder can be refurbished into a cool plant stand or ladder bookshelf.

That's upcycling. And it can be fun and exciting to use your creativity to create something new, out of something old. You can do the same thing with an old mattress. Not only can you create something useful with it, but you'd be doing our environment a big favor by keeping a mattress out of the landfill.

A couple of ideas might be; turning a smaller mattress into your large breed of dog's new bed for the basement or in the garage. He'd be happy to sleep on a comfy mattress, especially if he recognizes the scent of his favorite human. It can be quite comforting for your pet. Or, remove the springs and create unique potted plant holders. Paint them or leave them natural for a rustic look, then hang them on a backyard fence or wall for a cool vertical garden. Use the foam to fill new cushions for your outdoor chairs you've been meaning to redo. Or, use the box spring for raising an area in the garden, like your veggies or flowers. And the slats may be shred for mulch.

Whatever you do - don't do this with your old mattress!

We've listed several ways you can get rid of an old mattress; from recycling the mattress, to donating the mattress, selling it, and upcycling. But some people may be thinking, why not just burn it to get rid of it? That may sound easy enough, but actually, this is the worse thing you could do! Burning a mattress is very dangerous and can harm you and anyone else who is around - including pets, and plants.

The materials that make up a mattress contain many different compounds that mostly consist of carcinogens, formaldehyde, polyurethane foam, flame retardants, plus a lot more. Burning these materials is dangerous due to the gasses these components release when they're burning. If you or anyone else around inhales these, it can be extremely harmful and toxic to them.

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