Mattress Disposal: what to do with your old mattress

 

Buying a new mattress can often be a confusing and frustrating process, mainly because it’s not something we do every day. In fact, the average replacement cycle of a mattress in the UK is somewhere between seven and eight years, by which time your mattress will have clocked up somewhere in the region of 20,000 hours of use.

When you consider that you lose up to half a pint of body moisture per night and shed around a pound of dead skin scales per year – much of it into your mattress, replacing it on a regular basis should be done purely on hygiene grounds, not to mention a comfort and support perspective.

Then there’s the issue of what to do with your old one. The NBF estimates that the annual sales of replacement mattress in the UK in 2017 was 5.3 million units but that less than 20% of those being replaced were being recycled. Their Circular Economy Committee has set an ambitious target for this to be 75% by 2028. At the moment, 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.

So what are your options for disposing of mattresses?

If you’ve bought your new mattress from a retailer, many of them will collect your old one.

Some do this for free but many will charge you extra for this service. It is worth asking them what happens to the mattress they collect – do they send it to landfill, send it to a specialist recycling company who will strip it down into its component parts for re-using or do they have a partnership with a charity to re-sell ones that are suitably clean, in a good condition and display the relevant fire safety label?

You could call your local council.

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.

Since the majority of bulky waste collection charges were introduced, incidents of fly-tipping have increased – costing councils over £50 million in 2014/2015 for clear ups (DEFRA, 2015).

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.

Another option – currently only for those living in London and the SE –  is Love Junk, an app-based marketplace for bulky waste disposal, including mattresses, that connects people to their cheapest available licensed waste collector or reuse organisation.

You could donate your mattress to a local charity…

…if it is in a good condition. Some organisations will sell it on, giving the proceeds to good causes whilst others may well donate your mattress to someone in need. 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.

Support the planet and organise for it to be recycled…

We know of three private collection services – Collect Your Old Bed, We Are Mattress Recycling and The Mattress Recycling People who guarantee to send your old mattress to a recycling centre – operating throughout England and Wales in most postcodes. Charges depend on your area and size of the product but expect to pay around £40-£50 for a standard sized double mattress.

Other regional options: currently only for those living in London and the SE  is Love Junk, an app-based marketplace for bulky waste disposal, including mattresses, that connects people to their cheapest available licensed waste collector or reuse organisation. King Size Recycling will collect your mattress for recycling within a 10 miles radius of Glasgow city centre from c.£25.

Bed Advice UK Mattress Disposal: what to do with your old mattress

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Bed Advice UK Mattress Disposal: what to do with your old mattress

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