Mattress Disposal Guide
- Reuse – can you donate or sell an old mattress?
- Retailer – will your new mattress retailer take it away?
- Dump it – drive it to your local tip
- Council collection – book a bulky item collection from your council
- Man & Van waste carrier – use a specialist waste collection company
- Put it in a skip – are mattresses allowed in skips?
- What happens to old mattresses when they go the tip?
Before throwing away your mattress, it’s always worth asking the question can it be reused?
a) Donate – how can I donate my mattress?
Charities, shelters and churches might take your mattress off your hands as long as it’s still in good condition, or you can pay a professional to clean it if you’d really like it to go to a new home. A few larger charities that take mattresses are the British Heart Foundation, Emmaus, Furniture Donation Network, British Red Cross, Stella’s Voice UK and the Furniture Re-use network. Others that may be interested are local women’s refuges and homeless shelters
You’ll need to make sure the fire safety label is still intact when you’re donating or selling your mattress. It won’t be accepted without it. The label will be sewn onto the underneath of the mattress and looks like this:
b) Sell – can I sell my mattress and how much for?
You can sell your mattress on websites such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Prices vary according to the condition, size and age of the mattress but most sell for between £15 and £50. In practice, nobody wants a stained or torn mattress, so only consider this option if yours is in great condition. Also, if yours has reached the end of its life and become uncomfortable with springs sticking out or sagging in places it shouldn’t, then someone else isn’t going to want to have it.
Many mattress retailers will take away your old mattress if you buy your new one from them. Some charge and a few offer the service for free.
Below is a table showing how much the major retailers charge to collect and dispose of your old mattress. Be aware that this service is only available if you buy a new mattress from them at the same time:
Table of prices charged by UK bed & mattress retailers to remove an old mattress
|Retailer||Price of collection & disposal||Link|
|Bensons for Beds||N/A||N/A|
|Dreams||£25.00 – single
£35.00 – double
£40.00 – king & super king
|Land of Beds||£39.00||https://www.landofbeds.co.uk/removal-and-recycle|
Source: Anyjunk December 2019
*only as part of a premium service
If you’re a householder with a car, often the cheapest option is to take your old mattress to the local council tip / civic amenity centre because tips don’t normally charge anything. The only downside is that it might not be very near to where you live – so the whole process can take up quite a bit of time.
Bear in mind that although you can roll up memory foam mattresses to take up less space, this is not possible with a traditional pocket sprung mattress. So, depending on the size of your car and type of mattress, you may not always be able to fit the mattress in your car.
Lastly, unlike householders, businesses either have to pay to use the council tip or are prohibited from using it altogether. So if you are a business (eg. a hotel) with an old mattress to get rid of and plan on taking it to the tip, always call the council in advance to check if you are allowed, because you may need to find an alternative solution.
If you are a householder, instead of driving your mattress to the tip, one alternative is to book a council bulky waste collection from your home. All councils provide this service to their residents but prices and service levels vary considerably. For example, Southampton Council charges £10 for a single mattress, £20 for a double and £30 for anything bigger than a double; whereas Greenwich Council charges £10.30 for any size. In general, while this service is rarely free, it is subsidised – so will normally be cheaper than a private waste removal service. However, a private service will usually be able to collect your mattress a lot quicker than your council and also take a wider range of waste types at the same time.
The fastest, most convenient way of getting rid of your old mattress is to use a private waste removal contractor like AnyJunk. We charge £42 (£35 ex VAT) to remove just a mattress, or £18 (£15 + VAT) per mattress to remove one as part of a larger clearance. A larger clearance would be ideal if you had other junk to get rid of such as fridges, carpet, sofas and other household bulky items. The team can remove it from inside the property for no extra cost, or you can put it outside so you don’t need to be there when they come. More information on our mattress collection service can be found here.
For more information on how a man & van service works, check out this guide.
If you just have a mattress to dispose of, this option isn’t worth it. But if you (or a friendly neighbour) already have a skip on your property for some other reason (for example, building works) then a skip is worth considering. Bear in mind though that skip companies normally charge extra for a mattress (around £10 – £25) and some prohibit you from putting them in the skip altogether – so it’s best to double-check with the skip hire company before you use it.
For more general guidance on skips, check out our skip hire guide.
Mattresses have been found to be 85% to 95% recyclable however sadly only 16% are recycled in the UK, with the rest being incinerated for waste to energy or shredded and sent to landfill. Recycling centres take the mattress apart and recycle the components such as foam padding, metal springs and coconut fibres in different ways. For example, foam padding can be reused to make carpet underlay and metal springs can be melted down to be used again for a new product.
Mattresses don’t belong in landfill – they take up a lot of space and more than ten years to decompose, polluting soil and groundwater in the process as a result of their non-biodegradable parts. But the challenge is that it takes such a lot of time and money to break them down into their constituent materials that recycling them is less cost-effective than sending to landfill.
TerraCycle are a recycling company who create programmes for hard-to-recycle waste such a crisp packets. They explained why mattresses aren’t easy to reycle: “Due to their size and the multi-material composition, mattresses are considered hard-to-recycle waste. Generally, a mattress is composed of different material such as springs/coils, foam and fabrics. Indeed, reycling a mattress requires deconstructing the actual mattress to reclaim such things as the springs/coils, foam and fabrics that can be reprocessed to make new items or used as insulation. For all these reasons, most of the councils in the UK send this type of waste to incineration or landfill.”