When buying a mattress, which Sleep Council recommends you should keep for up to 7 years, you park the thought of replacing it. However, it is always good to know your options for when that time comes.
Lindsay Stevens, from Choose Mattress has put together top tips below on why you should recycle your old mattress and the best ways to go about it. If you are wondering what to do with an old mattress, think twice before simply throwing it away.
When mattresses reach a landfill they stay around for a long time, they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and they can contribute to ground pollution. Instead of adding to the problem, you should consider recycling your old mattress. It is an environmentally sustainable option that will leave you feeling good about your decision.
Continue reading to learn more about how to dispose of a mattress responsibly, and why recycling them is so important for our planet.
Why should you recycle your old mattress?
Mattresses pose several problems when they end up in a landfill. First, there is only a finite amount of space available in landfills and mattresses can take up a considerable amount of this. If we want to continue using our landfills without immense expansion, we can’t throw all of our old mattresses away - we simply can’t afford the space. Second, turning your old bed into rubbish also increases your overall carbon footprint.
With a huge amount of low-quality mattresses on the market, people are replacing their mattresses much more frequently, creating a mountain of waste - over 5 million mattresses end up in landfill in the UK every year! Recycling your old mattress instead could eliminate around 100 lbs. of rubbish from your personal output.
What happens if you throw a mattress away?
If you choose not to recycle an old mattress it will most likely end up in a landfill. This poses several problems to the environment, making it less than ideal. Let’s explore why:
- Mattresses decompose extremely slowly. Mattresses are made from a variety of materials. Some of these materials may decompose relatively quickly, but others take a very long time. Wood, cotton, and natural latex can potentially decompose in a couple of years under the right conditions. However, synthetic materials, plastics, different foams, and metals can last for decades or even centuries without decomposing.
- Mattresses emit greenhouse gases. Chemical and anaerobic interactions cause mattresses, and other types of garbage, to emit carbon dioxide and methane gases. Both of these gasses are directly linked to increasing the greenhouse effect and are considered some of the most harmful contributors. Greenhouse gases are a huge part of what’s driving climate change and anything we can do to minimise them is beneficial in the end.
- Mattresses can add to ground pollution over time. As the materials in a mattress deteriorate, harmful chemicals used in construction are absorbed into the ground. These harmful chemicals can include things like petrochemicals found in foams, bleach, dyes, flame retardant chemicals, fungicides, and many more. Modern landfills have been designed to prevent groundwater contamination but the systems are not perfect. Old landfills are still in use and by contrast, they have no groundwater protections in place. Chemicals leaking into the ground have the potential to contaminate water and other ecosystems nearby.
Can mattresses be recycled?
The good news is, mattresses can be recycled, and don’t have to go to landfill at all.
When recycled, old mattresses can become a wide array of new things. What an old mattress becomes is largely based on what materials are used to construct it. Once the array of materials is separated they can start to be repurposed.
Metal that makes up springs and frames in mattresses can be used in many different products. Cotton and wool can be washed and used in recycled fabrics and textiles. Other lower grade fabrics can be repurposed as matting for the vehicle interior. Wood can be repurposed for fuel or mulch by simply chipping it.
These are just a few examples but new innovative ways to repurpose recycled items are emerging every day so the possibilities are limitless.
Where can you recycle your old mattress?
If you are purchasing a new mattress from Naturalmat, you can book our mattress recycling service by contacting us, before you make your purchase online, and this can be added to your order.
When your new mattress is delivered our team will arrange for your old mattress to be recycled by our mattress recycling partners, who are able to take the mattress apart and recycle the components responsibly. This can be a convenient option if you don’t have much space to keep your old mattress after your brand new one is delivered. If you wish to arrange for your mattress to be recycled locally, check with your local council.
Our Mattress for Life Initiative™ & Re-Covered Collection
If you already own a Naturalmat mattress, you are in luck - our Mattress for Life Initiative™, ensures that nothing goes to landfill once your Naturalmat mattress reaches the end of its lifespan. The program offers our customers 3 options for the sustainable disposal of their old mattress:
- Refurbish - we collect the mattress, replace any compressed or damaged fibres and put a new cover on it, making it good as new.
- Recycle - we take apart the mattress and recover the fillings, which will then be washed and treated if you wish to repurpose them into a new product - such as cushions or a dog bed. Or the fillings will be recycled, and you will receive a credit for the value of the materials to put towards a new mattress.
- Donate - If the mattress is still in an acceptable condition, we can send it to our partners to have it cleaned in the world's first mattress washing machine - and then donated to one of our charity partners.
Any of our mattresses that are returned to us through our 45 day sleep promise are subject to a thorough quality check to see if they can be refurbished, and used for years to come. If the mattress is in good condition, we will remove and recycle the old cover, replace any compressed fillings and finish it with a new quilted cover.
These mattresses then go into our Re-Covered collection, where they are available at a 25% discount of their full price.
What if you are not near a recycling location, are there other options?
Lucky for us all, recycling old mattresses is becoming easier and easier due to its increasing popularity as a responsible, environmentally conscious option. Unfortunately, it still is not easily accessible for some people due to financial reasons, lack of transportation, or living in a rural location. If this is the case for you, but you still want to know how to dispose of your mattress properly, try one of the following options before you throw your old bed in the garbage.
- Try selling your old mattress. You can always attempt to sell your old mattress if it is not too soiled or worn out.
- Donate your old mattress to a second-hand store. If no one buys your old mattress but you still think someone else could get some enjoyment out of it, donate it to a charity or second-hand store. Search for stores nearby to find the specifics about where to take old mattresses, they may be able to offer a collection. Suggestions include the British Heart Foundation or the Mattress Recycling People.
- Upcycle your old mattress. Take a look at Pinterest, or another craft site, and get some great ideas on how to upcycle your old mattress. Other crafters have made things like wine racks, planters, and gates from their old mattress materials.
Recycling your old mattress is easy!
Next time you decide to get rid of an old mattress, think twice about how you dispose of it. Don't just throw it away so it finds its way to a landfill. That is not an environmentally sustainable option and recycling an old mattress can be easy, especially now that you have all the necessary tools and information. Nature will thank you in the end.Sustainability has been at the heart of Naturalmat’s ethos from the beginning, and in 2023 we achieved one of our proudest milestones yet, becoming the first B Corp certified bed and mattress company in the UK.