Do you ever wonder where your old mattress ends up?
In 2020, of the 6.4 million mattresses that were disposed of, a staggering 4.8 million* of these were not recycled, meaning they likely ended up in landfill or were incinerated. With the current mattress recycling rate only around 24%* there is still lots more room for improvement!
Ahead of Recycle Week (17 – 23 October), and with sustainability creeping higher on everyone’s agenda, let us delve into how we can all do our bit and be responsible when it comes to getting rid of our old mattresses.
Our parent organisation for the UK and Irish bed trade, The National Bed Federation (NBF), works hard with bed manufacturers, guiding them on how to sell used and reconditioned mattresses and components, and also produces reports on the rate of mattress recycling. The NBF has even created a Pledge for Our Planet for companies who have committed to becoming more sustainable. But what can you do as a consumer?
How to recycle your mattress
Avoid dumping your old mattress at your local tip where it could end up in the landfill. Take the time to find your nearest recycling facility that will strip it down into its parts for reuse. Springs can be recycled with other scrap metal, and foam may be recycled for carpet underlay or sent to a waste-to-energy plant, along with textile material such as mattress covers.
Visit mattressdisposal.co.uk to find your nearest local authority mattress recycling centre.
Alternatively, we know of three private, genuine collection companies: Collect Your Old Bed, We Are Mattress Recycling and The Mattress Recycling People that guarantee to send your old mattress to a recycling centre – operating throughout most postcodes in England, with some covering Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Charges depend on your area and size of the product but expect to pay around £30-£50 for a standard-sized double mattress.
Love Junk, an app-based marketplace for bulky waste disposal, helps you find your cheapest, most responsible disposal option by connecting you to local licensed waste collectors and reuse organisations. Prices vary depending on the condition of the mattress and ease of pick-up and it excludes Highlands, Islands and Northern Ireland. Check out recent mattress removal prices here.
In Glasgow, King Size Recycling will collect your mattress for recycling within a 10 miles radius of Glasgow city centre for around £25.
This year’s theme is ‘Let’s Get Real’ about recycling, and unfortunately, there are several rogue recyclers out there, claiming to have legitimate recycling facilities but in reality, end up fly-tipping or abandoning old mattresses in warehouses and scarpering.
Be wary of people in white vans offering to pick your mattress up for free or at a bargain price. Rogue traders may take your old mattress and stuff it into a new cover to re-sell (huge health and safety red flag!) or fly-tip it at a convenient spot. Read more about how to avoid mattress scams.
Buy a new mattress made from recyclable materials
When it comes to replacing your old mattress, research bed manufacturers that are going the extra green mile for the planet – whether that is producing mattresses and bed products that contain recyclable or recycled fillings and materials.
Buying from an NBF-approved brand means these bed companies have robust procedures to ensure their products are safe, clean and honest, and comply with UK regulations on safety, cleanliness of fillings, and trade descriptions (if they say the mattress contains recycled parts, it really does!)
Get the most out of your mattress
One of the best ways to get the most out of your mattress and prolong its lifespan is to take good care of it. If it still provides you with the comfort and support you need and you continue to get good quality sleep on it, then there’s no need to replace your mattress just because it reaches a certain age.
Read more about how to care for your mattress and bed.
*Source: End of Life Mattress Report 2022 Oakdene Hollins. Read the latest NBF Recycling Report.
First published 15.09.22, updated on 03.01.24