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.
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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! Many of the components that make up your mattress are completely recyclable. Recycling plants can break them down to these parts 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?
If all else fails, you can take your old mattress to the skip 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, 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 fee, so it’s worth reading on as we explore other, more environmentally-responsible ways to dispose of your mattress.
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 (as well as bed frames, divans and bedroom furniture) from you for free. Bear in mind that the mattress must be in a clean, usable condition, without any damages or stains. Considering you’re getting rid of it in the first place, this 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 £39. 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 £30 for a single mattress (as well as bed frames, divan bases and kids beds), £40 for a double and £45 for a king or superking. And you can be sure your old mattress is in safe hands with Dreams, who will disassemble the mattress and make sure each component is recycled properly.
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!
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 £25, 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. Although Argos isn’t completely clear on the process, it says that “a trusted recycling partner” will collect the mattress and deconstruct it, with over 95% of the material getting re-used.
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.
Local councils also offer a mattress collection and disposal service. Search Gov.uk 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 included in your Council Tax so you’ll need to pay a separate fee and it’s best to send your local authority a quick email to check how the mattress will be disposed of. Ours confirmed that bulk collections are indeed recycled, which makes us feel better about the fee.
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’d 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.