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How to dispose of a mattress

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There are plenty of ways to dispose of a mattress. If you’re buying a new mattress from a retailer, most of them provide a mattress disposal service. You can also donate your old mattress to charities, sell it online or ask your local council to collect it.

When you’re in the process of buying a new mattress, the last thing you need to be worrying about is how to get rid of your old one. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to dispose of a mattress.

old mattress left outside a house propped against a wall

Mattress disposal services offered by retailers

If you’re buying a new mattress from a retailer, most of them provide a mattress disposal service. Some offer this service for free, whilst others may charge a small fee that typically ranges between £20 and £60. Your old mattress is usually removed at the same time your new one is delivered. 

Most retailers will ask you to wrap and seal your old mattress in a plastic bag (usually provided) before delivery for health and hygiene reasons. You do not usually need to cover your old bed base if this is also being removed unless it is significantly soiled.

In most cases, your old mattress will be collected from the room of your choice. But it’s always best to double-check this with the retailer, as some only provide a doorstep collection service.

If you’re disposing of an old bed frame, this will need to be dismantled before collection.

It’s worth checking with the retailer what they will do with your old mattress. Sadly, the vast majority go to landfill sites. But, some have partnerships with local charities, care homes or hospitals. Others provide recycling services, where your mattress is stripped down, and some of the components, such as the springs, wadding, foam and coverings, are reused.

Donating mattresses to charity shops

If your old mattress is in good condition, you could donate it to a local charity like the Heart Foundation or British Red Cross who will sell it on. Every mattress you donate will go to someone who needs it, raise vital funds for charities and ensure your old mattress does not end up in landfill.

Most charities provide a free collection service and will take your old mattress as long as it is clean, usable and displays a valid safety label. The label is usually sewn into the bottom of the mattress and provides reassurance that the mattress complies with British Fire Safety Regulations and is safe to use.

List it on reuse websites

Instead of throwing away your old mattress, you could list it on reuse websites like Freecycle and Freegle. This will ensure your old mattress stays out of landfill sites and allows you to pass it on to someone in your local area for free.

Post your unwanted items on their websites. When someone expresses an interest, you can arrange a convenient time and location for collection.

Collection services offered by local councils

The majority of local councils provide a collection service for large items like beds and mattresses. There is usually a small charge for this service to cover costs. This can vary between £10 and £60 depending on your local council and the number of items to be collected.

Due to health and safety reasons, you may be asked to leave items for collection outside, at the front of the property. Some local councils may refuse to collect your old mattress if it is wet or soiled.

If you live in England and Wales, visit GOV.UK to arrange a collection of your old mattress.

Take it to your local recycling centre

You can take your old mattress to your nearest household recycling centre. Most operate seven days a week and opening times usually range between 8 am and 6 pm. But, you may want to avoid busier times like weekends as wait times can be longer.

There are no restrictions if you visit the site in your car. But you will need sufficient car space to fit a mattress inside. You may also need an entry permit to visit the site with a large trailer, van or commercial vehicle. Further information is usually provided on your local council’s website.

Sell your mattress online

If you decide that you don’t want to donate, recycle or even throw away your old mattress, you could sell it online. You’ll need to choose a suitable online platform to advertise your mattress, with Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay popular options.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider whether your mattress is in good enough condition to be sold to someone else. If you’ve been sleeping on your mattress for several years or if you’re replacing it because it is causing you aches and pains, do you really want to sell it to someone else? On the other hand, if your mattress is relatively new and well maintained, then it could be a good time to sell. You may also want to consider getting your mattress cleaned by a professional before you advertise it for sale.

When writing your advert, be honest with the information you provide, whilst also highlighting the key selling points of the mattress. Use high-quality photos and ensure that you set an asking price that is a fair reflection of its condition.

Also, remember that when selling your mattress online, it must carry a valid fire safety label to verify that it is safe to use.

What you can’t do with your old mattress

You should never dispose of your mattress by dumping it at the side of the road; it’s illegal to do so and could land you a hefty fine. Also, do not burn your old mattress. Not only is it unsafe, but it can also be harmful to others and pollute the environment.

Final thoughts

Disposing of an old mattress requires some planning. Whether you decide to donate, recycle or throw it away, you should dispose of it legally and safely.

About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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