How to dispose of a mattress
Knowing when to get rid of a mattress can be as difficult as knowing how. Our guide to disposing mattresses explains all you need to know.
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Buying a new mattress will set you back anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds, so parting with even more cash to dispose of your old mattress is probably the last thing you want.
But finding a way to dispose of a mattress for free is no mean feat, especially if you want to get rid of it in a responsible way. According to a report by the National Bed Federation (NBF), 6.8 million replacement mattresses were sold in 2015, while only 879,000 were recycled. That’s a recycling rate of just 13%, which is down from 16% in 2014.
Far too many mattresses end up in landfill sites. Not only is this bad for the environment, but, given the bulky nature of mattresses, it’s also unsustainable. Many of the mattresses in landfill could have been recycled or reused. Keep reading for expert advice on how long a mattress should last and how to get rid of it once it’s passed its best.
In the market for a new bed? Take a look at ourBest Buy mattresses.
In this article:
How often should you change your mattress?
If you can’t remember how many years you’ve had your mattress, the chances are it’s time for a new one. It’s all too easy to lose track of how long you’ve been sleeping on it and, even if it still feels comfortable, it’s likely to be less supportive and less hygienic than when it was new.
The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress as often as every seven years, because after that time the mattress will have been subjected to more than 20,000 hours of use. That’s the equivalent of 2,555 nights – which is a lot when you consider that adults lose an average of half a pint of fluid each night and shed a pound of dead skin cells each year.
But our own durability tests reveal that the best mattresses can last up to a decade without softening, sagging or becoming less supportive. So, provided you buy a good mattress and clean it regularly, you may only have to change it every 10 years.
Find out how long different type of mattress should last below, or go to our guide on how to clean a mattress.
How long should a mattress last?
Nearly half of Which? members expect a new mattress to last more than a decade, according to a November 2017 survey of 902 members. We reckon that’s pretty optimistic, not least because there are some common misconceptions about the lifespan of a mattress.
Only one in five Which? members think a mattress will last longer if it’s bought as part of a set with a new bed base. Although buying a new bed frame is no guarantee your new mattress will last, using an old or incorrect bed frame with your new mattress certainly isn’t going to lengthen its lifespan and it may well also invalidate your warranty. Take a look at our top 10 bed shopping tips.
Some 46% of members also thought that the more you spend on a mattress the longer it is likely to last. While investing in an expensive mattress will likely mean you get better-quality fabrics and fillings, it is no guarantee of a longer lifespan. We’ve tested £200 Best Buy mattresses that perform better in our durability tests than mattresses costing more than 10 times as much.
Finally, fewer than two in 10 members agreed that foam mattresses are more durable and longer lasting than spring mattresses.
How long does a pocket sprung mattress last?
A good pocket sprung mattress should comfortably last between 8 and 10 years. Of the 49 spring mattress we’ve tested, 59% of them earn more than four stars in our tough durability tests.
After measuring the height, firmness and supportiveness of every mattress we test, we then simulate up to a decade of use by rolling a heavy barrel over the mattress 30,000 times. To do well in our durability tests, a mattress must maintain its supportiveness, firmness and height.
Our pick of the top pocket-sprung mattresses will help you pick out a long-lasting option, but you have to do your bit, too. To maximise the life of your pocket-sprung mattress, it’s essential that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to rotating or turning the mattress.
How long does a memory foam mattress last?
Memory foam mattresses tend to perform well in our durability tests. Of the 26 memory foam, foam and latex mattresses we’ve reviewed, 93% of them score more than four stars in our lifespan test.
However, we’ve also uncovered a memory foam mattress that failed our durability test completely, making it the only Don’t Buy mattress we’ve reviewed.
And just because you buy a memory foam mattress doesn’t mean that you don’t still need to rotate it regularly, so there’s no less maintenance than a pocket-sprung option.
All in all, we wouldn’t recommend buying a memory foam mattress solely for the durability, unless it provides the supportiveness and comfort you’re looking for as well.
How to get rid of a mattress
You may be surprised by how many different ways you can dispose of your mattress. There are at least 10 different options, but some of them are expensive, environmentally damaging and even illegal, so picking the best way to get rid of your mattress can be difficult.
Will the council collect my mattress?
Most, if not all, local councils offer a bulky waste collection and disposal service, which includes beds and mattresses. But it can be surprisingly expensive and there’s often no guarantee your mattress won’t end up in landfill – many local authorities simply say that they will recycle some or all of the waste where possible.
Some councils, such as Oxford City Council, Liverpool City Council and the London Borough of Merton, offer free mattress collection, but they’re very much in the minority. Most councils charge a fee to collect bulky waste and it can be expensive – the likes of Argyll and Bute Council and Wealden District Council charge more than £50 for the service, for example.
If you live in England or Wales, you can find out how much your council will charge for bulky waste disposal by typing your postcode into the gov.uk website. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, go to your council’s website and search for bulky waste disposal.
Having the council collect your mattress from your home can be convenient, but make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully. Many councils charge for the number of bulky items they’ll be collecting, but bear in mind that a bed frame and a mattress will likely count as at least two items. And items will often only be collected if they’re left in a designated spot outside the house.
Will the local tip take a mattress?
The local tip will take your old mattress, but to get it there you’ll need a vehicle big enough to fit it in. If the boot of your car isn’t big enough to fit the mattress when flat, you may find that it fits if you roll the mattress up as best as possible and fasten it using some rope.
But that’s a lot of effort to go to when the mattress may well just end up in landfill anyway. You may decide you’d rather go to the extra effort of taking it to a dedicated recycling facility, or decide you’d rather pay for the convenience of the council or a specialist disposal company coming to collect it from your house.
Can you recycle a mattress?
At the very least, some parts of your mattress will be recyclable, and it’s possible that all of it will be. And yet, according to The Furniture Recycling Group, Wembley Stadium could be filled five times with the 7.5 million mattresses that are discarded in the UK every year.
While mattress recycling is relatively labour-intensive, more and more facilities capable of doing this work are springing up around the UK. These facilities will break down your mattress into its recyclable components – springs can then be melted down and remade into new metal products, while synthetic layers such as foam can either be used to make carpet underlay or else can be sent to a plant where the waste can at least be converted into energy.
Aside from taking your old mattress to your nearest recycling centre yourself, the best way to ensure your mattress is recycled is to pay for it to be collected. But whether you use the local council, the company delivering your new mattress or a specialist mattress removal company, make sure it is clearly stated that the mattress will be recycled. Otherwise, it’s probably best to assume that it won’t be.
Can you pay a company to pick up a mattress?
Four in ten Which? members disposed of their last mattress by having the company delivering their replacement mattress collect it, according to our November 2017 survey of 902 respondents.
That’s perhaps not surprising given the number of major high-street retailers now offering this service. Argos and Ikea, for example, both offer to collect and recycle your old mattress for a fee of £20 when you buy a new mattress from them. John Lewis offers a similar service, charging new mattress customers a fee of £29.95 to responsibly dispose of their old mattress.
Bed-in-a-box mattress brands such as Casper and Emma also offer an old mattress collection service for customers.
But getting the retailer to collect your old mattress when they deliver the new one is only convenient if you’re sure that the new mattress is the one for you. Otherwise you’ll be left without a bed at all if you later decide to return it. If you’re in any doubt, specialist mattress companies such as Collect Your Old Bed can pick up and dispose of your old mattress at a time of your choosing. But it’s always worth making sure the company actually recycles the mattress. We’d also recommend checking how much your local council charge before paying for one of these services, or else you risk paying over the odds.
See our list of thebest mattress retailersfor more information.
Can you donate a mattress?
If your mattress is still in good condition, you should consider donating it to charity or giving it away for free. That way you can help someone in need as well as ensuring that it doesn’t end up in landfill.
Organisations such as British Heart Foundation and British Red Cross will resell your mattress and put the proceeds towards a good cause. Other organisations, such as Furniture Donation Network, directly give your mattress to someone in need. Several other charities also accept mattress donations, so if there is a cause you particularly want to support, it’s worth contacting the charity directly.
As a general rule, these organisations will collect your mattress free of charge, but they may request you send images first to prove that it is of acceptable quality. Any organisation accepting a mattress donation will expect it to be fit for use, clean and have a fire label intact.
Another way to ensure your mattress stays out of landfill sites is to use a non-profit initiative such as Freecycle, which will put you in touch with someone in the local area looking for a free second-hand mattress.
Are there any other ways to dispose of a mattress?
There are several other ways to get rid of a mattress, but we wouldn’t recommend most of them.
Although 1% of Which? members told us they disposed of their last mattress by burning it, we don’t advise it. Not only is a mattress fire hard to control, but the fumes released by the fire could also be damaging to both you and the environment.
If you happen to be renting a skip and don’t mind your mattress contributing to a worsening landfill problem, then you can get rid of your old mattress using a skip.
But you should never dispose of your mattress by putting it in someone else’s skip or, worse yet, simply abandoning it on the side of the road. As well as both being anti-social and environmentally harmful, fly tipping is illegal and can result in a large fine.
Now that you know how to dispose of your old mattress, find out how to buy the best new mattress to replace it with.
Mattress Disposal: 10 Easy Methods
We recently conducted a survey in which one of the questions included “How would you dispose of an old mattress?” Many people were unsure, while other answers were somewhat shocking. So, we thought perhaps it’s best to offer some advice on the do’s and don’ts on the correct mattress disposal process.
Buying a mattress is the easy part, however, if you’re replacing the old one you’ll almost certainly need to consider some kind of mattress disposal method to make way for your new one. There are plenty of options available, however depending on where in the world you are some services may not be viable solutions. Please read below for some helpful tips, hopefully at least one option could be the way forward:
Table of Contents
How To Dispose Of A Mattress
Ask your retailer
One of the most straightforward methods is to ask the retailer selling your new mattress (if you haven’t purchased already). The retailer themselves are unlikely to collect, dispose or recycle it, but instead, they may have contracts with local mattress recycling companies, so they can arrange everything for you perhaps for a small fee or maybe even without charge.
Free to collector
In a similar fashion to the above, if you’re having trouble selling or offering to charity for whatever reason, try advertising in a classifieds section and offer a free to collector advert. One mans junk is another man’s treasure, and if they’re willing to collect for free it will save you some cash at least.
Give it to charity
Giving to charity is the kindest and a relatively eco-friendly method. Most charity organizations will pick up from your home for free, and either sell to raise money or re-use in a charitable manner. What may be old and unwanted for you may have years longer life elsewhere.
Most people live their whole life without needing to hire a skip, but, if for some reason you’re having a clear-out and have a skip at hand, this would be an excellent opportunity for mattress removal.
Selling used mattresses is another great method. Even if you think yours is old and no longer wanted, someone else may decide otherwise; buy for cheap, collect for free, and perhaps use for a guest room. Try listing on places like eBay, Craigslist, Gumtree etc, you’ll almost certainly get a response.
A slightly more inconvenient method (but cost-free) is to roll it up and take to one of your local recycling centers. Transporting a mattress isn’t the easiest of tasks, but with a little determination and a few pairs of hands it can be rolled, tied, and potentially fit in the trunk ready for delivery. Once you reach your destination, usually the center assistant can help unload and get it prepared for recycling.
Your local authority may have a service in place for the removal of large or bulky items. Not all councils provide this service and ones which do often charge a small fee as this would fall outside the scope of the regular household waste collection. Best to phone them and make an inquiry as this could be an easy method but would most likely cost money.
M attress recycling
An easy and almost guaranteed option is to use a mattress recycling service. These businesses exist for the sole purpose of collecting and recycling mattresses (and other household junk). They will collect from your home and then eventually reuse every part, from springs to filling material nothing is wasted. There is, unfortunately, a fee involved, and depending on the distance they’ll travel the cost can be quite significant too, sometimes easily ranging between $50-$100.Click hereto get a quote for a nationwidemattress removal service.
Depending on which kind you have, if you’re handy and feeling up to the task perhaps you could try disassembling and recycling it yourself. The best type of mattress for DIY recycling is one consisting primarily of springs or coils. The coils of metal can be easily reused or sold on for scrap metal. The fabric can also be reused in the home, donated, or recycled. Attempting a traditional memory foam or almost any type of latex may prove slightly more difficult and messy due to their dense inner construction but can still be done nonetheless.
Dispose of with waste
Perhaps none of the above appeal or just simply had no luck with either of the options. If you’re able to disassemble it into small enough pieces and can store for some weeks (or months), you could then dispose of little by little with the normal household waste. It will obviously take longer to get rid entirely, but will eventually be gone without having to pay any fees.
How NOT To Dispose Of A Mattress
Don’t burn it
Unfortunately, 3% of people said burning it was their chosen method. Please note, this is NOT the correct route to mattress disposal and is not recommended for health and safety reasons as well as being harmful to the environment.
Don’t fly tip
F ly tipping is the illegal dumping of goods in public areas onto land which has no license to accept waste, with the intention of ridding oneself of the items without notifying or arranging with waste removal services. Fly tipping is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in many parts of the world. It is harmful to the environment, unsightly, and of course against the law which could result in fines up to £20,000 ($30,370 USD) in the UK if caught.
What to do with old mattress – Disposal and Recycling
Disposing a mattress
Mattress is a big sized thing, that cannot be easily thrown in the trash bin. If you are moving out your old mattress for a new one, you will have to deal with the disposal of the old mattress. You should know that mattresses are not biodegradable but many of their parts can be recycled!
In some towns, it might be easy enough to just put it on the sidewalk a little away from your house at night when nobody’s watching and hoping someone to just pick it up. But that sort of an activity might be quite illegal elsewhere.
Mattresses thrown in the dumpster will often reach landfills, where they are buried into the ground. This is definitely not the best way to get rid of objects as large as mattresses. They take up a lot of space and pollute the environment for a long time.
No matter if it takes time or even some money, you should dispose the mattress sensibly and responsibly without causing nuisance to the municipal authorities and the environment around you.
You could donate it so that someone in need could reuse it, or you could send it for recycling where it would be disassembled and the components reused elsewhere. This way your old mattress is put to some use and not just dumped into the ground.
So if you have never thought about properly disposing your mattress, its high time that you do.
1. Donate It
If your mattress is in a usable condition without any faults or stains, it can be donated for others to use. Look for local furniture banks that accept such old mattresses as donations. If you cannot find any, then try some online website.
There are a number of websites where you can list your mattress for donation. Some of these offer free pickup services too. Here is a list you can try
2. Recycle it
Recycling is perhaps the best way to dispose old mattresses. The springs, foam, cotton, wood and all constituents of the mattress can be recycled and used elsewhere.
There are some mattress stores that offer free disposal for your old mattress if you are buying a new one. So you can take your old mattress and deposit it over there and then take a new one. This is a convenient way to send your mattress for recycling.
And if you are not actually buying a new one, but just need to dispose off the old one to clean your house, find out a suitable recycling center that collects mattresses.
However such recycling stations are not available everywhere. If you cannot find one in your city, another alternative is to call a recycling service. They will send a representative to your address who will collect the mattress and take it away.
Services of these kind will often charge fees for pickup of the mattress. But considering the importance of proper and safe disposal you should consider it, if the price is not too high. There are some services which might pick it up for free. You have to check out.
Check out the following website to locate recycle stations near you.
Check the following website for waste collection services.
Disposal should be considered when you are sure that the mattress is nearly useless. Taking good care of the mattress can extend its life.
Clean it and put it in the sun to get rid of all dirt and bad smell. The mattress might become usable once again. Also try flipping it upside down or rotate it to put it in a proper shape. Use bedsheets to avoid any dust from settling on it. These simple checks will surely make your mattress better and more usable.
How to Dispose of Your Old Mattress
January 25, 2018
Is it time to buy a new mattress? Are you wondering what to do with your old mattress? The sheer size of a mattress, not to mention the weight, can make it difficult for you to move your mattress, even if you have help. The reason why there’s a growing need for learning how to dispose of an old mattress, is because so many people are now buying their new mattresses online. While buying a mattress online is the preferred way to buy a new mattress nowadays, it’s harder to find someone who can take away the old mattress when a new mattress is delivered.
Questions you should ask yourself in assessing the condition of your present mattress: How long have you owned it? Do you wake up in pain? Do you toss and turn at night?
How Long Should Your Mattress Last?
How long should your mattress last? Great question! Over time, every mattress is going to eventually lose its ability to provide the support and comfort you need for a good night’s sleep. This means that everyone will need to dispose of their old mattresses a few times during their lifetime.
While the average life span of a mattress is 10 years, the type and quality of the mattress is going to ultimately determine how long your mattress will last. Lesser quality mattresses tend to last an average of 5 to 7 years.
Eco Terra Latex Mattresses last an average of an impressive 15 years.
Extending the Life of Your Mattress
There are a few ways you can extend the life of your old mattress but it’s not recommended. Old mattresses tend to have sleepers tossing and turning during the night, due to sagging and more. They also have the ability to negatively affect a person’s overall health. Dust mites are unfortunately a common mattress issue that can cause many health problems, especially in allergy and asthma sufferers.
Sleeping on an old mattress can even be stressful, proven by a bed-based study which concluded that sleeping on a new mattress increases sleep qualityandreduces back discomfort.
How to Tell if Your Mattress is Worn Out
When is itreallytime for you to get a new mattress? The National Sleep Foundation tells us that more than 90% of people know that their quality of sleep depends on the quality of the mattress they choose to sleep on. Many tend to delay buying a new mattress due to the cost. The fact that mattresses are costly, makes it easier for people to sleep on their old mattress for much longer than they really should.
So is it time for you to get a new mattress? The answer is yes if:
- You often wake up tired and/or achy
- Your mattress is sagging and/or lumpy in areas
- Your mattress is tearing and/or ripping
Eco Terra Latex Mattresses come with a 15-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
How to Dispose of Your Old Mattress
Responsible mattress removal is important. While some people tend to leave their old mattress on the curb or in a dumpster, this is not the proper way to dispose of an old mattress. What if everyone did this? This is why there are rules and laws for disposing of old mattresses, that must be followed in every city. If you’re wondering how to dispose of your old mattress, know that there are a few options for free mattress removal services.
The following are 3 responsible ways you can dispose of your old mattress.
- Recycle or Repurpose. You can recycle an old mattress for free. There are some recycling companies that can reuse many parts of the old mattress – wood, steel, cotton, box springs, foam – repurposing these parts into new products. If it’s a foam mattress, you can shred the foam into smaller pieces, and use it to make new pillows. You can also break the mattress down yourself, reusing the parts yourself or donating them to a recycling company. Old mattress disposal ideas are becoming more popular as more and more people continue to jump on the recycling and repurposing bandwagon.
- Mattress Recycling Company
- How to Break an Old Mattress Down
- Donate Your Old Mattress. You can also donate your old mattress. Donated mattresses must still be usable, so they can be used again.
- Salvation Army – They will come to your home to pick up your old mattress for free.
- Goodwill – Donated mattress must be in good shape.
- Habitat for Humanity
- Your Local Furniture Store
- Mattress Disposal Plus
- Bye-Bye Mattresses
- Homeless Shelters
- Throw it away. Sometimes the best choice for disposing of an old mattress is to simply throw it away. You’ll need to check with your city’s local mattress disposal regulations, in order to make sure you dispose of the mattress properly. You should also ask if there’s a mattress removal or disposal fee, so you know what to expect.
- Dumpster Rental – Mattress removal dumpster fees tend to range between $100 and $250, when renting a dumpster to dispose of an old mattress,
- Local Landfill – Most landfills or trash dumps will permit you to dispose of your old mattress.
- Old Mattress Removal Service – Contacting a junk removal service, to take away your old mattress, is easy to do and it can save you time and money.
Responsible mattress removal and disposal options should be a top priority for those who are disposing of their old mattress.
How to Dispose of a Mattress
Wondering how you should dispose of that old mattress? Despite being bulky and heavy, there are several options for mattress disposal, including renting a dumpster, donating a gently used mattress or recycling it. Use the options below to find the mattress removal solution that is right for you.
Mattress Disposal Options
A gently used mattress can be donated, but if yours is old and worn-out, you’ll need to throw it away. Look through the mattress disposal options below to find one that’s convenient for you.
1. Rent a Dumpster
If you’re disposing of an old mattress as part of a larger home cleanout, renting a dumpster is a good option for getting rid of all your junk at once, excluding prohibited materials. With a dumpster rental on your property, you can easily carry your mattress and box spring into the bin and be done with it. The price of a dumpster rental is also more cost-effective than most other disposal options.
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2. Check With Your Curbside Trash Collection Service
In some areas, municipal curbside collection services will collect mattresses during weekly service or on specified days. Reach out to your service provider to find out if this is an option in your area.
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3. Junk Removal Service
Junk removal services are another option for mattress removal. This service will come to your location and haul away your mattress and other junk using a truck. However, you won’t get a quote for this service until they see how much space your items take up in the truck. You will also need to be on-site during the process and work within the two-hour window they provide.
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How Much Does Mattress Removal Cost?
Mattress removal costs depend on the number and size of the mattresses you’re getting rid of, as well as the service you choose and your location. Using a recycling service, you can usually expect to pay $20 to $40 fee for each mattress. Disposing of a mattress through a junk removal service can cost anywhere from $100 to $150, based on the above factors.
If you are getting rid of multiple mattresses as well as other household junk, a dumpster rental is the most economical option. The average cost of a dumpster rental is $433, which typically covers 20 cubic yards’ worth of junk, more than twice the amount included with your typical junk removal service and can fit multiple mattresses and box springs.
In contrast, the average cost of using a junk hauling service is $297, which usually covers only 9 cubic yards’ worth of junk.
Mattress Recycling Options
There are some ways to get rid of your mattress by recycling it. These options will allow you to keep the mattress out of the landfill and reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Consult the Mattress Recycling Council
In California, Connecticut and Rhode Island, mattresses are legally required to be recycled through a program administered by the Mattress Recycling Council, which costs between $9 and $11 per mattress. To get rid of your mattress in these locations, you will need to have your mattress removed by the retailer when the new one arrives or deliver it to a certified recycling facility.
2. Find a Recycling Location Near You
There are also more than 20 other states with at least one mattress recycling facility. Use Earth 911’s recycling database to find a facility near you. Fees may apply.
3. Ask About Retailer Take-Back Services
If you are in the process of buying a new mattress, ask the retailer if they will remove and recycle your old mattress when delivering the new one. This common option is convenient but may include a small fee.
Options for Donating Your Mattress
Even if you are getting a new one, you may not have to throw out your old mattress if it doesn’t show much wear. If the mattress is less than 5 to 7 years old and does not have any rips, stains, frayed edges or obvious signs of compression, it could still be useful to someone else.
1. Find It a New Home
Check with relatives and friends who may be looking for an extra mattress, or simply want to replace their current one. As long your as mattress is in good shape, this is a great way to keep it out of the landfill.
2. Donate Your Mattress to a Local Nonprofit
There are also numerous nonprofit organizations and institutions that would gladly take your gently used mattress. The groups below generally accept mattress donations, though local policies may differ.
These organizations usually offer mattress pickup:
- Salvation Army (Also allows drop-off)
- St. Vincent de Paul (Varies by location, fee may apply)
- Furniture Bank Association of America locations (Also allows drop off)
These organizations typically require mattress drop-off:
- Places of Worship
- Local Charities and Shelters
Frequently Asked Questions About Mattress Disposal
How do I know if a mattress can be disposed of in a dumpster in my area?
If you are renting a dumpster for a home cleanup or specific project, call our customer service team to find out if we accept mattresses in your area beforehand. If we do, there may be an additional charge for each mattress you are disposing of due to local disposal fees charged by the landfill or transfer station.
Can I mix other debris with mattresses in a dumpster rental?
Yes, when you rent a dumpster you can place any old mattresses and household junk inside the container, so long as they are accepted in your area.
Are there any fees for disposing of a mattress in a dumpster?
In some areas there are fees associated with getting rid of a mattress. Mattress disposal fees apply when the local landfill or transfer station must break down or recycle the mattress. These charges come directly from the local facility and will apply during a dumpster rental, curbside pickup and landfill drop-off.
Can I break apart my mattress and throw away the accepted materials?
You can break down your mattress yourself to make disposing of it easier, though you may still be subject to any associated disposal fees. Breaking down the mattress may reduce the amount of space your debris takes up in the dumpster rental or junk removal truck.
Can I get rid of box springs in the same way as a mattress?
Depending on the service you choose, you should be able to dispose of an old mattress and a box spring in the same way. If you rent a dumpster, you can throw both in the bin. If you are scheduling a pickup or removal with a junk hauling service, you may pay more to have both removed.