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.
Put us to the test
Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You’ll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don’t get stuck with a Don’t Buy.
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.
Written by: J.S. Copper
Written on: February 05, 2019
Picking out a new mattress is an exciting experience, especially if you have had problems sleeping with your current worn out mattress. Once you get that new mattress, the issue of disposing of your old mattress arises.
This needn’t be a hassle or headache as many local shelters and thrift stores will gladly take your mattress off your hands in exchange for a tax deduction.
Donate it. If your mattress is in fairly good shape, the best way to dispose of it would be to donate it. Contact your local Salvation Army or Good Will store to see if they’d be willing to take it. Other places you can donate your mattress to would be any homeless shelters, foster care facilities or battered women shelters in your area.
Recycle it. MajesticFunction.com states that while not common-place just yet, many places are recycling mattresses by removing the springs and wood. Contact your local mattress shop to see if it recycles mattresses or knows of a place nearby that does.
Put it out with the trash. Leave the mattress on the curb with your weekly trash pickup. Waste management services can typically handle one large item per pickup without any extra charge.
If you are uncomfortable with leaving it on the curb or if the mattress is ridden with bed bugs or another affliction, you can take it to your local dump and drop off the mattress yourself.
What To Do With An Old Mattress
Home » Mattress Guides » What To Do With An Old Mattress
While there is nothing better than laying on top of your favourite mattress after a long, bustling day, over time, this comfort ends. But, how do you know when it is time to replace your current bed and how do you dispose of an old mattress?
Table of Contents
How Long Do Mattresses Last?
The lifespan of most mattresses will differ depending on several factors and characteristics. These include:
- Quality of materials
- Type of material
- How well it is maintained
- Body size of the sleeper
- The frequency of sleeper on the bed
On average, most high-quality products will last approximatelyseven to 10 yearsbefore they begin to lose their support. Spring and memory foam products generally last this long.
If you want your bed to last longer than the average, you should consider buying a latex product. These beds have an average lifespan of15 yearsbefore the entire product should be replaced. More budget-friendly options such as a futon or inflatable air bed will generally only last for five years before a replacement is needed.
How To Dispose Of Mattress
Once your bed has met the end of its life, how do you dispose of it? There are actually several things you can do to get rid of a mattress in the UK. Some of these are very simple and fast, while others may require a little more effort.
Contact The Local Council
Many local councils in the UK offer old mattress disposal services for large products that overwhelm the landfills such as mattresses. By contacting your local council and arranging for pickup of your bed, it can save you a significant amount of time and effort getting such a large and bulky item to the desired location. However, most of these councils charge large fees for this collection service and you will find very few councils that offer free bulk disposal services. Contact your local council and be prepared for the fees associated with the service.
Can You Take A Mattress To The Tip?
One of the fastest and easiest ways to get rid of an old mattress is to take your mattress to the tip. This simply requires loading the used item in a vehicle and dropping it off. Unfortunately, this is not the most environmentally-friendly option, and you will need a vehicle large enough to haul the item. If the mattress is worn down, you can consider rolling it up or bending it to fit inside the vehicle more easily.
Purchase Disposal Services
Some furniture stores and mattress companies offer their own disposal services. This means that they will pick up any old furniture from your home when they drop off the replacement. When you choose this option, you won’t have any old beds lying around your home, waiting to be taken to the local recycling centre or the tip. However, keep in mind that these services arenot always free. Many companies will include disposal fees in the purchase of your new product. This option may save you a substantial amount of time and stress, but it will affect your bank account.
Haul To A Recycling Centre
Statistics show that more than 7.5 million mattresses are thrown away every year. This large number of items could fill Wembley Stadium approximately five times. To help save the environment and make a difference in the world, take your old bed to a recycling centre rather than the local tip. When at these recycling facilities, the mattresses will be torn apart, and the materials will be used and remade for various new products. For example, the springs can be melted down and used for metal parts, and the foam can be recycled into carpet padding. Mattress recycling in the UK is becoming a more simple and recommended method for old mattress disposal.
Here’s an interesting video about what happens at a mattress recycling centre:
Donate The Mattress
If you are wondering how toget rid of a mattress for free, and if the item still offers some support to sleepers, you may consider simply donating the bed. There are many individuals who simply cannot afford a new product and could use the added comfort that this donated item provides.
Additionally, check with local charities, churches, shelters, and other organisations that assist those in need. Proper bedding, including mattresses, is something many of these places lack but do not have the funds to purchase themselves. In some cases, these organisations will also pick up the item for you, making the donation processes even more accessible.
In addition to contacting local charities and church groups, post your offer online using social media, online selling forums, etc. Ensure the individuals looking at your post understand the product is for free and you are willing to donate it – not sell it. When choosing this disposal option, be prepared as it may take several days before you receive any response and you may have a mattress taking up space in your home.
If your bed is in decent condition, donating isn’t the only option available. You can also choose to sell your mattress and earn a little extra income from the sale. By word of mouth, social media, online sales, and other mediums, you can advertise and promote the sale of your item. However, before your price your product, do your research and look at the prices other individuals are selling their used mattresses. If you overprice the item, you will have a difficult time selling, but if you price it too low, you will not make the money you deserve.
As you contemplate what to do with your used bed, consider all your options. Mattress removal can be difficult, time-consuming, and stressful if you don’t have the time or the resources to make it happen. But, by hiring someone to take care of the item for you, it can be expensive. Use the above ideas to help you come up with the right method for old mattress disposal and then, sleep tight and enjoy your new bed.
How to dispose of an old mattress
A guide to mattress disposal and recycling across the UK
Buying a new mattress is a wonderful event. Especially when you realise that your old mattress was pretty past it, and your best nights’ sleep are ahead of you.
However, you’re left with a cuboid-shaped puzzle: mattress disposal. Wondering how to get rid of your old mattress brings many questions. Can you take a mattress to the tip, for example? Can you leave it on the street? Is it ok to have an unseasonal ‘bonfire night’ celebration? (The answers to two of these questions should be self-explanatory, but just in case, please don’t leave your mattress on the side of the road or set fire to it.)
Contrary to popular belief, old mattresses don’t end up starring in global productions of The Princess And The Pea. Mattress disposal can result in large, multi-material objects ending up in landfill. Waste isn’t good in any form, but mattresses are really large bits of waste, so it’s important to get this right.
That’s why we’ve researched the best ways to dispose of an old mattress, all of which are easy for you to follow, and good for the environment, too.
Mattress disposal: Everything you need to know
Are mattresses recyclable?
Yes! It’s possible to recycle 100% of the components of a mattress. Recycling plants can break them down to their component pieces and redistribute each to an industry that can use it.
Can I give my old mattress away?
If you believe your mattress is no longer good enough for yourself, then it’s unlikely to be good or healthy for anyone else to sleep on, either. As a guide, the National Sleep Council suggests changing your mattress every seven years.
This means that while handing a mattress down to your kids or donating it to a charity shop is a cost-effective way of dealing with its disposal, it’s not necessarily the best idea.
Can I take my mattress to the tip?
Yes. If all else fails you can take your old mattress to the skip to dispose of it personally, although doing this means it will end up in landfill, unless you find a good recycling plant.
However, simply dumping it might land you with a fee, so it’s worth reading on as we explore other, more environmentally-responsible ways to dispose of your mattress.
How can I get my mattress collected for free?
Ideal worlds don’t exist, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that finding someone who will collect your mattress for free is tricky.
However, it’s not impossible. Some charities, like the British Heart Foundation, will offer to collect your old mattress from you for free. The only catch here is that the mattress needs to be re-sellable. Which, considering you don’t want it any longer, might not be the case.
An alternative charity route is to arrange a collection from Emmaus. This charity tends to collect for free, but it’s worth checking its website. Your mattress will then be used in accommodation for people that Emmaus is trying to help avoid substance abuse or violence. So, the mattress will need to be clean and in good condition.
Can I pay a company to dispose of my mattress?
Most mattress retailers go beyond the notion of simply providing a mattress and offer to collect your old bed-pal upon delivery of its replacement. Here’s a quick run through of what the top mattress manufacturers/retailers currently offer in the way of collections and recycling.
Emma offers a mattress removal service for £55. Depending on the condition of the mattress, it will be donated to a partner charity (Debra, Shelter or The British Heart Foundation), recycled or sold on eBay as an ‘Emma Refurbished’ product. Simply click the ‘old mattress removal’ option when at checkout to arrange a collection date (note that this will need to be different to the delivery date).
Just like Emma, Dreams offers a collection service for mattresses that are ready for pastures new. You’ll have to pre-wrap your mattress for collection, but the Dreams website goes into pleasing amounts of detail and guides you through the entire process. This service costs £25 for a single mattress, £35 for a double and £40 for a king or superking.
Spoiler alert: most retailers offer the same kind of service. Ikea is no exception, giving its customers the chance to pay for mattress recycling at checkout. It also happens to offer far and away the best value mattress collection option at just £20 (upon delivery of a new one). That’s a bargain!
Simba offers a removal service at the point of delivery for £40 (or £50 for an Express Service within two days) on the proviso that the mattress is in a reasonable condition.
An Otty spokesperson told us it costs £30 to take advantage of its mattress collection service, which isn’t too bad at all. Mattresses must be removed from the bed frame in order for the courier team to arrange collection and Otty states that mattresses are recycled within a couple of days.
John Lewis charges £24.95 for its mattress collection service. The retailer states that it will dispose of your old mattress ‘responsibly,’ and though this may be open to interpretation, you can’t deny the comparatively low cost of this service.
When you purchase a mattress through Mattress Online, you’ll get the option to have your old one collected on delivery. Mattress Online is very proud of its recycling initiative in partnership with The Furniture Recycling Group which ensures that mattress components are separated and distributed to industries that can benefit from the raw materials. The service costs £24.99, making it one of the cheaper options on this list.
Competing with Ikea for the title of ‘Cheapest Mattress Removal Service,’ Argos will take your old mattress away for £20. You’ll need to purchase a new one in order to take advantage of this service, as is the case with every option on this list. Frustratingly though, Argos is a little vague about what it means by ‘recycling.’
The internet shopping giant features here because it is rolling out a mattress recycling service in the US at the moment. It’s also the first of these retailers to offer the service without requiring you to purchase a new mattress, which makes it a seriously good option. Coming soon to a laptop near you.
Paying a waste company
If you really want to know where your mattress is going – and when – hire the services of a waste disposal company. Doing so requires little more than a web search with your location settings turned on to find your nearest mattress collection and disposal company.
More often than not, these companies claim that they recycle, and that they have great customer service and flexibility. So, you can get your mattress collected when you want and sent somewhere that you’re happy with, albeit for a fee.
Saying Goodbye to Your Old Mattress
A Proper Send-Off
We’ve all seen mattresses that have been improperly disposed of. Mattresses don’t belong on the side of the road, in the bottom of a lake or in the middle of a field. Your mattress did a good job for you for many years and now it’s your turn to take care of it. Dispose of your mattress in a safe and responsible way:
- Ask the store where you bought your new mattress to pick up your old set when they deliver the new one. Most retailers routinely offer mattress pick-up and disposal service as part of the purchase price or for a small fee.
- Call your local municipality, sanitation department or garbage collector. They usually have provisions for picking up larger items.
- Refer to Bye Bye Mattress’ directory of recyclers for a location near you.
Time to toss? 70% of old mattresses remain in use past the point when they’re still in good shape.