Updated January 1, 2021About 40 million mattresses are thrown out each year, with most ending up in a local landfill. Old mattresses can take up to 120 years to decompose, taking up landfill space. Before throwing out a worn mattress, consider if the bed is still in good condition. Can it be donated instead? And if not, is there a mattress recycling program near me?If a mattress is still in good shape, it can be donated to a local charity or thrift store. Recycling a bed can cut down on waste.When is it Time for a New Mattress?Over time, mattress materials break down from regular use. Worn mattresses have a visible sag and lack support.Cheap mattresses may also break down within a year. Poor quality materials don’t last and may result in a lumpy mattress.If you wake with aches and pains that fade during the day, your bed may be the problem. If your current mattress is still under warranty, most companies will repair or replace it. But, if the bed is outside of the warranty, it might be time to buy a new mattress.How Long Does a Mattress Last?Most high-quality mattresses last between 7 to 9 years. How long a mattress will last is also reflected in the warranty. Warranties give an idea of how long a mattress will last. Most warranties cover defects and sagging greater than 1 inch. This measurement depends on the brand.The lifespan of a bed also depends on the mattress type.Memory Foam: 7 to 9 yearsInnerspring: 5 to 7 yearsHybrid: 7 to 9 yearsLatex: 8 to 10 yearsLatex is the most durable mattress type, especially if it contains natural latex. Natural latex lasts longer than other materials. Innersprings are the least durable. Innerspring coils break down faster, leading to sagging.When purchasing a new mattress, some companies offer white glove delivery service—professionals set up your new bed and take the old one either free of charge or for an extra fee.Bedding accessories, like mattress protectors and mattress toppers, may extend the life of your current mattress.Mattress protectors shield the bed from spills and stains, and may also protect your warranty. Most warranties are void in light of liquid damage. Mattress protectors are budget-friendly, costing between $20 to $40. They’re also machine-washable—instead of shelling out money to replace a mattress, simply remove the mattress protector and place it in the washing machine.Mattress toppers alter the surface feel, adding softness or support. More wear and tear is placed on the topper instead of the actual mattress. Mattress toppers are an excellent option for those who can’t replace their bed right now. Toppers are also a temporary fix to a sagging mattress.How to Dispose of an Old MattressThere are three ways to dispose of an old mattress: donate, recycle, or throw it out. Instead of mattresses ending up in a landfill, there are many recycling companies that break down beds and recycle usable materials.DonateIf a used mattress is still in good shape, it can still be used instead of taking up landfill space. Many used mattresses are donated to charity organizations and thrift stores. Look for sites dedicated to helping residents and regional businesses find local charities to donate gently-used items, including mattresses. They may also offer donation pickup services, either for free or for a small fee.Some second-hand companies across the United States pick up gently-used furniture, like bed frames for a small fee. Used furniture is displayed in showrooms, where staff and volunteers work with families in need to pick out furniture.Mattresses can also be dropped off at other charitable organizations, like homeless shelters and Habitat for Humanity.Thrift stores also take mattress donations if they’re still usable. You may need to call ahead to check before dropping the mattress off.RecycleIf the mattress is too worn out to donate, recycling is the next best option. Recycling centers are growing because consumers are becoming more eco-conscious. Even landfills have a recycling facility for reusing materials.Recycling companies across North America operate under the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC). The MRC is a non-profit organization that upholds recycling laws and works closely with local governments and waste management programs.Recycling companies break down old beds and transform materials into new, useful products.Over 95 percent of mattress materials are recyclable. Mattress recycling programs break down beds and recycle the following materials:Mattress CoverMattress cover materials are removed and sold as textiles like upholstery coverings, or used as industrial oil filters.FoamViscoelastic or polyurethane foam is ground up and turned into carpet padding and bicycle seats.Steel SpringsSteel springs are made from scrap metal. The coils are melted down and used to create building materials and new appliances.Wood Frames and Box SpringsWood from frames and box springs are chipped and compressed into wood pellets for fuel or turned into mulch for landscaping.RepurposeSome people take a more creative approach and repurpose their old mattresses through DIY projects.Bedsprings can act as a trellis for growing vine-like plantsA mattress frame can be hung up as a hanging kitchen rackThe mattress cover can be used for sewing projectsThrow It OutIf a recycling program isn’t in your vicinity or you don’t have the means to transport an old mattress, several junk removal service companies specialize in getting rid of your old bed. Junk removal services remove not only the mattress, but other worn-out products, like box springs, furniture, and clothing. Simply give them a call and let them know what you want removed. They’ll set up a date to pick it all up, taking the hassle out of transportation.Another reason to throw out your old mattress instead of donating or recycling is if it’s contaminated with bed bugs. Bed bugs are a considerable problem—these little pests can last months without food and fit in crevices as thin as a credit card. Wrapping your infected mattress with plastic, marking it “Bed Bugs,” and tossing the mattress in a dumpster may be your only option.Other Things to ConsiderHow do I know if my mattress is worn out?If you experience aches and pains every time you wake in the morning, or if you wake at night with a sore back, your mattress could be the problem. Beds with poor support and not enough cushion create pressure points and misalign the spine, leading to poor sleep quality.When should you throw away a mattress?Most mattresses last 7 to 9 years and include a 10-year warranty. If your mattress is showing a visible sag and is still within the warranty period, most companies will repair or replace the bed at no charge or a small fee. If the bed is outside the warranty, a new mattress might be a good idea.How much does it cost to haul away an old mattress?When getting rid of an old mattress, most people drop it off at a local charity, recycling plant or dump, depending on how old and worn the bed is. Most places may charge a recycling fee, between $10 to $20 for each mattress. Pickup services will cost more, roughly $20 to $40 per bed.Can you put a mattress in the garbage?Some waste management companies will pick up your mattress is it’s packed in a protector and set by the curb. However, tossing your mattress in the garbage is not recommended. You’re better to donate the bed or have it responsibly recycled.Who accepts old mattresses?Donation centers often take old mattresses as long as they’re still in good condition and there are no laws in your state prohibiting them from taking it. We suggest finding a true donation center, one that will actually donate the mattress and not turn around and re-sell it—meaning, avoid places like Goodwill and Salvation Army. While they might be convenient, they aren’t truly donating your bed.ConclusionInstead of throwing out an old mattress, consider donating it to a charity or thrift store if it’s still in good shape. For beds with visible sagging, send the mattress to a recycling center. If there isn’t a recycling center near you, don’t worry—many landfills now have transfer stations to separate recyclable materials.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. 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