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How to Donate, Recycle and Dispose of Old Mattresses

parachute mattress
Written By
Parachute Team
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome
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Everyone needs a mattress, and quality is crucial for a good night's sleep. Wanting your used mattress to go to a better cause rather than ending up in a landfill is a noble sentiment. However, mattresses are famously hard to get rid of. They're heavy and bulky, and beyond the cumbersome design, donating them to your local secondhand store or charity isn't always an option.

If you're wondering what to do with old mattresses, you've come to the right place. This guide will explore how to recycle a mattress, as well as the various ways to dispose of a mattress and donate a mattress in your area.

Mattress Recycling, Upcycling and Donating

When it comes to getting rid of an old mattress, there are several routes you can take. Donating can be tricky, though it's not entirely out of the question. You can also recycle mattresses, upcycle the materials or list yours for free in an online marketplace.

Keep reading for insight into each option. For specific mattress disposal options in your city, scroll to the bottom.

Ideas & Considerations for Disposal of a Mattresses

Here are some common FAQs as well as tips for disposing of or reusing your mattress: 

Disposal Ideas: Craigslist, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace

Another easy (and often quick) way to dispose of a mattress is to list it on Craigslist, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. These online exchanges make it easy to sell used furniture, which you might be able to do with a lightly used mattress.

But for an older model, offering it up for free may be your best bet. You can wait for an interested party to contact you, then schedule a time for them to pick it up. Alternatively, you can list your mattress for free along with the cross streets of your home. If you live in a busy metro area, you can expect it to be gone within an hour or two.

Are you relocating to a new house or apartment? Our New Home Checklist covers all the essentials you'll need when moving into a new space.

Creative Ways to Reuse an Old Mattress

Instead of getting rid of your mattress, think outside the box about ways to repurpose the materials. If you have a creative spirit and want to reduce your carbon footprint, consider these ideas of what to use an extra mattress for.

Mattress Upcycling

When you upcycle a mattress, you're reusing the various materials and individual components in such a way that the repurposed items have a higher value than the original. If you're up for it, consider disassembling your old mattress.

The different components will vary by type, but you might be able to use the stuffing for DIY pillows or repurpose the buttons from the tufting for a sewing project. The metal springs could be upcycled into anything from wreaths and floral arrangements to photo displays and candle jar holders.

Speaking of candles and wreaths, check out these room-by-room Winter Home Decor Ideas.

Mattress Art

Old mattresses can also be transformed into art. You could use the fabric cover as a canvas for a large oil painting or cut it into pieces for smaller portraitures. Beyond painting, you can embroider the material, attach beads or turn it into a collage.

Mattress Composting

Believe it or not, some mattresses can be composted — or rather, some parts of them can. You can put the stuffing in a compost bin as long as it's 100% cotton or wool. (Polyester and other synthetics won't break down like these natural materials.)

You can cut up a wood mattress frame and add it to your compost container or directly to your garden if the pieces are small enough. You could also use it as kindling for a wood-burning fireplace or outdoor fire pit. Just bear in mind waste services that pick up yard debris and compost usually say not to add ashes to the bin.

Can You Donate a Box Spring With a Mattress?

Many mattress recycling companies and donation centers take box springs, too, though it varies among programs. When you do a Google search of where to recycle a mattress near you, read through the service descriptions to see whether they recycle box springs or accept them for donations.

Here's What to Do With Old Mattresses in Your City

Larger metro areas tend to have more options in terms of what to do with old mattresses. The following list breaks down where to recycle mattresses in major cities across the U.S., as well as various donation sites and pick-up services.

Mattress Disposal, Donating, & Recycling Near You 

parachute store

New York, NY (Brooklyn and Manhattan)

Los Angeles, CA

San Francisco, CA

Pasadena, CA

Portland, OR

Seattle, WA

Chicago, IL

Oak Brook, IL

Austin, TX

Houston, TX

Denver, CO

Scottsdale, AZ

Nashville, TN

Columbus, OH

Edina, MN

Washington, DC

If you don't see your city listed here, a quick Google search along the lines of “mattress disposal near me” can help you figure out where to donate a mattress locally. You can also search for recycling programs and pick-up services in your area.

Keep in mind that Parachute has partnered with the Mattress Recycling Council to offer recycling programs for purchasers of the Eco Mattress in the states with mattress recycling laws: California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

See our guide to Recycling, Donating, and Reusing Old Sheets & Towels for more upcycling inspiration.

When Should You Replace Your Mattress?

How do you know if your current mattress needs replacing? While it depends on the type, material, how much use it gets and how well it was cared for, most mattresses last anywhere from seven to ten years. Here are a few signs your current mattress is on its last leg.

  • Your mattress is sagging, lumpy or otherwise uneven.

  • There are permanent stains on the surface.

  • It has a stubborn odor.

  • You toss and turn at night, unable to get comfortable.

  • You regularly wake up with a sore neck or back.

  • You've had your mattress for more than ten years.

Read our blog to find out How Often to Replace Sheets.

What to Look For in a New Mattress

model can make a world of difference in terms of comfort and sleep quality. Here's what to look for when buying a mattress.

Zoned Support

Since you don't need the same level of firmness from head to toe, the best mattresses feature zoned support. Take the Eco Mattress, for example. It has soft coils at the top to take the pressure off your neck and shoulders. The reinforced middle is slightly firmer to offer support for your back and hips, and the bottom is softer to promote proper alignment for your legs and spine.

Bed pillows also hold a lot of weight in terms of how well you rest, and not all are created equal. Check out our guide on How to Choose the Right Pillow based on your unique preferences and sleep style.

Eco-Friendly Materials

Those looking to live more sustainably should keep an eye out for eco-friendly materials. For instance, the Eco Comfort Mattress consists of environmentally friendly tempered steel coils, pure New Zealand wool and organic cotton — no foams, adhesives or flame retardants.

When you sleep on it, you can rest assured it was designed with the planet in mind. Not only that, but this mattress is recyclable, so you can feel good about getting rid of it when the time comes.

For more tips, see our Decision-Making Guide for Buying the Right Mattress.