How to Dispose of a Mattress (UK) - Free & Paid Options

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Here’s how you can dispose of your old mattress responsibly.

It is easy to lose track of time when you sleep comfortably on your mattress but if you are unable to recall how long have you been using it for, chances are that you need a new one. Even if you feel comfortable sleeping on it now, it is unhygienic to continue using it after seven years, according to the Sleep Experts. 

You will have used your mattress for more than 20,000 hours of use over 2,555 nights by 7 years which is a lot considering how adults shed pounds of dead skin cells every year.

Mattress Disposal & Recycling UK

Should you still be using your mattress?

If you have been using your mattress for more than 8 to 10 years or wake up tired with body pains or any dust allergy, you should discard your mattress right away. Other warning signs you can look for include squeaking of the spring mattress or a drastic change in your body weight because your body would then require a new mattress of different size and dimensions. 

You must be now wondering how to dispose of your old mattress when you buy a new one. Well, there are lots of options you can choose. But please do not have an ill-timed bonfire session or abandon it on the streets. Most materials of your mattress can be recycled and hence, it would be best to opt for some environment-friendly processes. 

7.5 million mattresses go to landfill every year in the UK

As per the 2019 report from TFR group, in UK about 7.5 million mattresses end up in landfill sites. If this trend continues going forward, UK landfills will run out of space by 2022. The Centre for Remanufacturing & Reuse had estimated that old mattresses accounted for 215,000 tonnes of landfill waste in the UK in 2016. 

A 2019 report by the National Bed Federation (NBF) shows that of the 7.26 million mattresses that were sold in 2017, only 1.363 million were recycled. That’s a recycling rate of 19% but the recycling rate has been increasing since 2016, so that’s some good news.

Old Mattresses Dumped at Landfill Sites

Are mattresses recyclable?

You may not be aware that your mattress is actually recyclable. Several materials used in a mattress can be reused by different industries to manufacture their end products. Mattress can be disassembled and the foam can be used to make pet cushions or carpets and springs can be used again to make some metallic products. 

So how do you properly dispose of a mattress & ensure it’s recycled?

If you are environmentally conscious and would like to take a step towards a sustainable lifestyle, there are several steps you can take on a personal level, one being recycling your mattress. If possible, you can drive to the nearest recycler and dispose of your mattress. Any mattress removal company can also be a good option if they mention that they do recycle old mattresses.

Here, we’ve listed various paid and free options you can use to properly dispose of your mattress:

1) Exchange it with new mattress for a fee [Paid]

If you are sure that the new mattress you are ordering would be the right match for you, you can then check the box suggesting exchange service when you are booking it. Many companies like Argos and Ikea give you exchange service when you buy a new mattress from them. You can give away your mattress that you are using now at a fee when you buy a new one from them. They collect when you leave them at your front door during the delivery of the new mattress and recycle them by disassembling and redistributing them to industries that use these substances as raw materials. 

Argos and Ikea collect it for £20. John Lewis recycles your mattress for £29.95 while Emma does so for £39 and £50 if you need your mattress to be collected within two days via their Express service. Mattress Online, in partnership with The Furniture Recycling Group, redistributes the materials to other industries for a £25 fee.

2) You can call mattress removal companies or local council [Free]

You can choose to pay specialist mattress companies like Any Junk. They can pick up your old mattress at your convenience and recycle it. You can also browse the website gov.uk to check how and at what cost will your local council collect your old mattress. Registering for home collection by the council can be convenient but do read the terms and conditions well. You need to leave your mattress at a designated spot outside the house for collection. Very few councils like Oxford City Council, Liverpool City Council and a number of London Boroughs, offer to collect your old mattress for free.

3) Donate it to charity

You can give back to your society by making a donation. But ensure that your mattress can be reused. Charities like the British Heart FoundationDebraFurniture Donation Network and St. Paul’s Centre take second-hand mattresses. They either use it at their hostels or resell them to use the proceeds for their cause. They however accept the mattresses only if they are in good condition and seek photographic evidence to prove the same. Once you earn their trust, they offer to pick it up from your house free-of-cost. If you are finding it difficult to connect with an NGO nearby, you can check websites like Freecycle that help you connect with someone in your locality who is looking for a reusable mattress.

4) Resell your mattress

You could also take out some time and directly sign up on websites like Gumtree, Preloved, eBay and Shpock, and sell them at 20% to 30% of the original cost of your mattress if it’s in a good condition.

5) Dispose it personally

Check out your local council’s gov.uk website for the list of your nearest recycling centres and drop your mattress at the centre personally if you have or can hire a vehicle big enough to fit your mattress. 

6) Get together for some DIY projects

Get creative and come up with some creative ideas on how you can reuse your old mattress at home. Instead of dumping it in the attic, you could use it in your backyard at the play area for your children. It can be a perfect protective layer or a trampoline for your children. But make sure you get it cleaned professionally before you reuse it. Go green and use the wood frame to create an actual bin and stuffing of your mattress to protect compost and keep the pile warm in your garden. You could also use it for some new art project and enrol for competitions that promote reuse and recycle.

Let’s take up responsibility towards environment

Consider an eco-friendly way to dispose of your mattress when you buy a new one. Let’s act responsibly towards our environment and ensure that we do not choke it with millions of heavy and large mattresses.  

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