A mattress is considered a necessity by most, which means there are hundreds of millions of them in the United States. Since mattresses are bulky and hard to compact, their disposal presents difficulties for owners and the environment. Choosing an eco-friendly mattress and properly caring for it will lessen the impact it has on the natural world. At least as important, however, is proper disposal of everyday mattresses. Here are some tips to help you responsibly get rid of your current mattress without chucking it to the curb.
Shop with foresight
The next time you shop for a mattress, think about when and how you’ll likely dispose of a particular mattress before buying it. Choose one made from eco-friendly materials, preferably without a box spring, that will be easy to recycle when the time comes. Eco-friendly options include natural latex core, wool, bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood frames are an eco-friendly bed frame option. Mattress life should also be a priority. Buy durable mattresses, and you’ll have to use and dispose of fewer mattresses over the years than you otherwise would.
Donate to charity
Just because you’re ready for a new mattress doesn’t mean your current one needs to be taken out of commission. A mattress is not the easiest item to donate to charity, but some churches and homeless shelters do accept mattress donations. Search for organizations that accept mattresses in your area. Some may even be willing to pick up the mattress from your apartment.
Sell or give away
If your mattress is in good condition and you cannot or do not want to donate it, try selling it or giving it away. High-end mattresses in good condition can easily go for a couple hundred dollars in cities, especially those with transient populations. If you do sell or gift a mattress, seal it with a bed bug protector before transporting it to its new home.
Mattresses take up considerable landfill space, often creating toxic, flammable pockets in dump sites. Before hauling your mattress to a landfill, check to see if it can be recycled. Some municipalities offer mattress recycling services. Specialized mattress recycling programs like Bye Bye Mattress also serve some parts of the country.
Return mattress to manufacturer
Led by Sleep Inc., a growing number of mattress manufacturers are offering mattress return services. The manufacturers either recycle the mattresses or ensure they are disposed of responsibly. Mattress return programs are another factor to consider when shopping for your next mattress.
Break down yourself
Breaking down a mattress requires time and energy, but is something almost anyone can do. You’ll need a utility knife, baler twine, and a pair of work gloves to do the job right. Once you’re through, your mattress will be reduced to shreds of fabric and bits of metal that you can recycle or dispose of on your own. If you’re getting rid of an air mattress or waterbed, simply drain it before throwing it away.
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