Sleeping on a broken-down and unsupportive mattress night after night can have serious effects on your health. If you are suffering from any sleep-related health issues, deciding to purchase a new mattress can be one of the best decisions you make for yourself. However, when your new mattress arrives, you will have to decide what to do with your old one.
Since the life of a mattress is between 10-15 years, you won’t have to face this question too often, but what we decided to do with old mattresses does have a significant environmental impact. Before deciding to send your old mattress to the landfill, consider our guide below where we outline the effects mattresses can have on the environment and what you can do to help reverse them.
The Negative Impact On The Environment
Around 20 million mattresses are thrown into landfills every year and just 1 mattress can take up 40 cubic feet of space. Besides space, mattresses that make their way to landfills also present a host of other issues.
Because mattresses are difficult to compact, landfill workers often have to use special equipment to break them down. This process is hard on equipment because the springs inside the mattress can pop out and cause damage to expensive equipment.
Breaking down these mattresses also creates a larger carbon footprint due to the energy required to get them ready for the landfill. Landfills are even beginning to increase their fees for mattress acceptance. Mattresses made of petroleum-based products and constructed using toxic chemicals can also have a negative impact on the environment if they end up in a landfill. When these chemicals seep into the ground, they can cause soil and water population.
What You Can Do
To avoid these damaging and costly effects, it is best to find an alternative form of mattress removal. We have compiled a list of ideas to help you responsibly dispose of your mattress.
Since 90 percent of your mattress can be recycled, this is by far the best alternative for mattress disposal. However, you have several options when it comes to recycling your old mattress. Below is a list of options and resources to guide you when recycling your old mattress.
- Local Recycling Center: Many cities have recycling centers that will pick up your old mattress and recycle it for a small fee. Pick-up fees generally range around $30, plus the cost of recycling. To keep your old mattress out of a landfill, this is a relatively small cost that will help the planet in a big way. Keep in mind that most recycling centers will not take mattresses with bed bugs or wetness.
- Mattress Companies: When you purchase your new mattress, the company you purchase from may offer to haul away your old mattress for a small fee. These companies often have recycling practices of their own. When purchasing your new mattress, be sure to find out if the company is able to recycle your old one once it’s hauled away.
- Self Recycling: Most mattresses are made of a wood frame, steel springs, and polyurethane foams. If you have the time and ability, you can break down the mattress yourself and take the separate parts to the recycling center. Although this can be time-consuming, it is a better alternative than a landfill. Recycling centers will often pay you cash for the parts, such as metal spring coils.
If your mattress is still in usable shape, consider donating it to a non-profit thrift store. If they are unable to reuse the mattress, they will often recycle it for you for free. You can also locate a charity in your area that may be accepting furniture donations.
As we mentioned above, mattresses made with petroleum-based materials can have harmful consequences for the environment if they end up in a landfill. To protect the health of the planet, as well as your own, be sure to purchase a mattress that is made from organic and eco-friendly materials.
There are also companies like Amerisleep who use plant-based memory foam in their mattresses and add value towards sustainable living. Check out Amerisleep’s best mattress guide to learn more about things you should look for when purchasing a new mattress.
Extend The Life of Your Mattress
To get the most life out of your new mattress, try rotating or flipping it every two weeks for at least the first 6 months of use. Also, be sure not to bend or jump on the mattress, and avoid stacking any excessively heavy objects on top. Keeping the mattress clean and dry will also help to prolong its life. Doing these simple things can help you keep your mattress longer.
When purchasing your new mattress, be sure to have a plan in mind for your old mattress’s removal. Donating and recycling are excellent alternatives to landfills and will give you the satisfaction of knowing you did the best thing for the health of the planet.