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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 alright 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.

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Mattress disposal: Everything you need to know

Are mattresses recyclable?

Yes – many of the components that make up your mattress are completely recyclable. Recycling plants can break down your mattress to isolate these parts for redistribution to industries that can use them.

Can I give my old mattress away?

If you believe your mattress is no longer good enough for yourself, then it might not 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. With that said, if you’ve simply gone off the feel of a mattress that’s still in good condition, giving it away could be a generous, sustainable and convenient option.

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Can I take my mattress to the tip?

If all else fails, you can take your old mattress to a tip operated by your local authority, to dispose of it personally. However, we don’t recommend this course of action. As we mentioned earlier, mattresses are recyclable but, unless you find a good recycling plant locally, disposing of your mattress at the tip means that it will likely end up in landfill.

On top of that, simply dumping it might land you with a fine, so it’s worth reading on as we explore other, more environmentally responsible ways to dispose of your mattress.

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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, may agree to collect your old mattress (as well as bed frames, divans and bedroom furniture) from you for free, provided it’s in saleable condition. Bear in mind that the mattress must be clean and usable, without any damage or stains. Considering you’re getting rid of it in the first place, this might not be the case.

An alternative donation option is to arrange a collection from Emmaus. This charity tends to collect for free, but it’s worth checking its website before you make contact. Your mattress may then be used in accommodation for people that Emmaus is trying to help avoid substance abuse or violence. Again, the mattress would need to be clean and in good condition.

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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 £45, for customers buying a new Emma mattress. Your old mattress (whether Emma or otherwise) will be collected on the same day your new mattress is delivered, and will subsequently be recycled by Emma’s recycling partner. Simply select “Premium delivery” and the “old mattress removal” option at checkout to add collection of your old mattress to the order.

Unfortunately, those living in Northern Ireland or postcodes PO30+, KW15-17, PA31-80, PH41-45, IV40-56 IM, ZE, JE, HS, GY and TR21-25 are excluded from this particular service.

Check prices at Emma


Just like Emma, Dreams provides customers who are buying a new mattress with a collection service for their old one. You’ll have to pre-wrap your mattress in a green bag mailed out by Dreams, prior to collection, and details on the Dreams website will guide you through the whole process. This service costs £20 for a single mattress, £50 for a double and £55 for a king or super king. And you can be sure your old mattress is in safe hands with Dreams, who will disassemble it and make sure each component is recycled properly. Impressively, the retailer promises that 0% of your old mattress will go to landfill.

Dreams also offers collection of bed frames, sofa beds, headboards and TV beds. Dreamy.

Check prices at Dreams


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 one of the best-value mattress collection options for larger mattresses, at a flat rate of £40 for any size (upon delivery of a new one). The IKEA website specifies that your old mattress mustn’t be damp or wet at the time of collection, and should be left close to the front door.

Check prices at Ikea


It will cost you £40 to use Otty’s mattress collection service when buying a new mattress from the brand, 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 the collected mattresses (which must be in dry and unsoiled condition) are recycled within a couple of days.

Check prices at Otty

John Lewis

John Lewis charges £30 for its mattress collection service. The retailer states that the old mattress will be “recycled with a registered recycling company complying to all current standards” – which doesn’t sound too shabby for the price you pay.

Check prices at John Lewis

Mattress Online

When you purchase a mattress through Mattress Online, you’ll get the option to have your old one collected upon delivery. Mattress Online is clearly proud of its recycling initiative in partnership with Bye Bye Bed and SSSI Ltd, two recycling facilities which ensure that mattress components are separated and distributed to industries that can benefit from the raw materials. The service costs £35, making it one of the cheaper options on this list.

Check prices at Mattress Online


Rivalling John Lewis for the accolade of “Cheapest Mattress Removal Service” Argos will take your old mattress away for £30. 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. It’s worth noticing that this collection service isn’t available to every Argos customer purchasing a mattress. Business customers are excluded, as are customers buying a mattress to collect in-store or receive via their “Fast Track” home delivery.

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Check prices at Argos

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.

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Council collection

Local authorities also offer a mattress collection and disposal service. Search to see what service your local council provides. Most councils allow residents to select a suitable collection day and to arrange for other large items to be collected at the same time. The service isn’t covered by your Council Tax, so you’ll need to pay a separate fee.

If using this option, we suggest you send your local authority a quick email to check how the mattress will be disposed of, before you book the collection. Ours confirmed that bulk collections are indeed recycled, which made us feel better about the fee.

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Upcycling is becoming increasingly popular. Not only does it help the environment, but repurposing old products into new, more useful ones comes with its own personal benefits (plus it can be a fun DIY activity).

However, compared with turning tin cans into planters, repurposing a mattress is a mammoth undertaking. In fact, unless you’re a veteran upcycler, we would suggest opting for one of the more convenient recycling methods outlined above before you attempt to take your mattress apart yourself.

That said, if you have the means and ability to do so, and you’re feeling especially creative, upcycling your old mattress isn’t completely out of the question. Check out the Happy Beds blog for some inspiration.

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