Millions of mattresses are disposed of everyday.
Not all of them legally (English councils spend about £58m a year on clear-ups of illegal dumping, with mattresses one of the most common items).
And not all of them in an environmentally friendly way (only about 19% of mattresses are recycled according to the National Bed Federation).
As consumers we’re advised to change mattresses every 7-10 years depending on the quality.
But getting rid of our old mattresses can be complicated, and costly.
Mattresses can be difficult to recycle - because they’re made up of multiple materials that need to be separated - and you need to find a dedicated recycling centre to do it.
And because of their size they can be hard to donate to charity, or transport to the local dump.
So, if you’ve got an old mattress and are wondering what to do with it, here’s a quick guide to the main options available.
And we’ve also included a few things you DEFINITELY SHOULDN’T do when looking to dispose of your old mattress.
Things you could do to dispose of your old mattress
Request a council collection
Most English councils offer a bulk waste collection service - which includes old mattresses and beds.
These collections do come with a cost however, which can be expensive, especially in London.
Plus, if your council doesn’t have a dedicated recycling centre for bulky waste collections, your mattress could just end up in landfill - which isn’t great for the environment.
They also won’t collect the mattress from inside your home, so you’ll have to arrange getting it to a collection point.
There’s also no guarantee of a quick collection, meaning you could end up storing your old mattress for weeks waiting for your pickup - which isn’t ideal if you don’t have much room.
In fact in some parts of the UK, councils have suspended their bulky waste collection service to prioritise general waste services because of a shortage of vehicles - so if you’re looking for a quick pickup, the council might not be the best option.
Take your mattress to the dump
Most dumps have dedicated areas for old homeware like beds, mattresses and old sofas.
You’ll obviously need a car big enough to transport your mattress.
If you have a van you’ll need to book a delivery slot to drop your old mattress off.
If you’re an environmentally conscious person, the local dump might not be the best idea.
Any mattresses left here will likely wind up in landfill.
Take your old mattress to a recycling centre
If you can find a recycling centre near you, you might be able to drop your old mattress off there.
You’ll have to check what items the recycling centre accepts though.
Mattresses can be extremely difficult to recycle because of the different materials used that need to be separated.
The springs within mattresses have been known to cause damage to machinery used for separating recyclable materials - so some centres might not accept them.
Plus, while some recycled mattress pieces can be used to make things like floor underlay, on the whole the materials aren’t worth much so some centres don’t view them as commercially viable for recycling.
Make sure you check with your local recycling centre (if you have one) before taking your mattress.
Also, if your mattress is particularly damaged, or stained, this could mean it’s not recyclable.
And then there’s the logistics of getting your mattress to the recycling centre in the first place.
Donate your old mattress to a charity shop
If your mattress is in a good, usable condition, you could donate it to a charity shop.
Bulky home items like beds, mattresses and sofas can be more difficult to donate compared to smaller goods, but there are charities that accept these items and have dedicated homeware stores - like the British Heart Foundation.
But again, you’ll have to consider a few things.
A charity shop won’t accept a mattress that is damaged or stained (they need to be able to resell it).
They’ll also need the original fire safety tag attached to the mattress before they can accept it.
And if there’s no collection service, you’ll have to arrange delivery of the mattress with the charity shop or depot.
You could sell your old mattress
The second hand mattress market might not be huge, but it’s possible there’s someone out there who can’t afford a brand new mattress but still sees yours as an upgrade.
There’s plenty of online marketplaces like Facebook and Ebay where you can find buyers, both local and further afield.
Your mattress will need to be in a good enough state to be reused and it should have the fire safety tag attached.
Just be aware that you might be responsible for getting your mattress delivered to the new owner.
And if they want to see it in person before buying you’ll need to give out your address and arrange viewings at your home.
Use Litta’s mattress removal service
We know quite a bit about mattress disposal and removal and we offer a fast, reliable service that gets your mattress off your hands quickly.
We can even offer same day collection if you arrange a pickup before midday.
You won’t need to worry about dragging your old mattress to the curb, we can pick it up from your home whenever you’re ready and with our live driver tracking you won’t have to sit around all day wondering when you’ll be able to get back on with your day.
And because we’re committed to disposing of household waste in a sustainable way, we’ll get your mattress to a recycling centre where it can be broken down in an environmentally friendly way.
In fact, 93% of all the unwanted furniture we collect is recycled.
If you want to book a collection of your old household furniture, click here.
What you CAN’T DO when disposing of an old mattress
Put it in a skip
Many people aren’t aware of the fact that skip providers prohibit putting old mattresses in a skip.
This is because of their size and the problems they can cause during transportation.
They also have to be taken apart and broken down into their various parts and materials to be recycled separately.
If you put a mattress in a skip you could end up facing additional costs from the provider, or they could refuse to take the skip until the mattress is removed.
Mattresses are made up of many different materials including plastics, foam, treated wood and other compounds which release fumes and gases that are not only damaging to the environment, but dangerous to anyone near the fire.
Under no circumstances should you burn a mattress as a means of disposal.
Leave it on the street
Some people will leave old mattresses on the street in the hope that someone will take it away and make use of it.
Whether it’s a homeless person or even someone who thinks they could use the mattress.
But you shouldn’t leave mattresses lying around on the street.
Not only does it not look good and block public paths and highways, you can face large fines.
Illegally dump it
English councils dealt with nearly one million incidents of fly-tipping in 2019/20 (the latest available figures).
Just under two-thirds of the dumped waste included household waste like mattresses.
Fly-tipping is a serious problem in the UK.
And not only is it expensive to clear up (putting pressure on local services) it can also result in huge fines and court action if you’re caught.
There are lots of ways to dispose of an old mattress, so there’s no reason or excuse to dump it.
Get your old mattress disposed of quickly and sustainably
Get in touch with us today to arrange disposal of your old mattress.
With more than 200 drivers available we’ll collect your old mattress quickly and make sure in cases when it can be recycled, it will be.