How to Responsibly “DIY” Recycle Your Mattress

DIY mattress recycling – what does that really mean? What are the necessary steps in the process? What are your goals in ‘doing it yourself’? 🤔

Whether you’re trying to protect the environment, or just trying to avoid a landfill ban, there are a couple of different approaches you can take when recycling your old mattress and box spring. Let’s dive into the details!

Can I Recycle My Mattress On My Own?

In most cases, DIY mattress recycling means bringing it to a qualified recycler, taking it to a hauler, or leaving it at a transfer station. If your intention is to take apart your mattress on your own, then it’s likely that 70% of the materials will end up in the landfill. Yep, you read that correctly! 70% of the materials will end up in the landfill after you did all the work to avoid sending it to a landfill.

Ironically, doing it yourself to avoid paying a disposal or recycling fee means you’ll end up expending a lot of work to throw the same material away. Most of the time, the steel is rejected by a metal recycler because of which springs are used when constructing the mattress.  Mattress springs are not favored by local steel recyclers since it is too hard for them to compress at a typical steel yard. The rest of the material, which includes the wood, the foam, and the outside covering (called the topper) is tossed into the trash. This is due to the fact that, outside of an approved recycler, there is no market for Foam and Topper.  

In states with landfill bans like Massachusetts, transfer stations and landfills have “spotters” – people whose sole job is to look 🤔 for landfill-banned items. These include illegally-concealed, landfill-banned materials – like mattresses. Just a note: Putting items in bags doesn’t mean that the spotter will not eventually see them 🤨. So, what does this mean? After all that hard work to avoid paying a landfill fee, a spotter on site will identify it, note it and inform the transfer operator. The end result will be you paying for an item that could have been recycled 😮‍💨

Benefits of Using a Mattress Recycling Service

Now, let’s talk about “good” DIY mattress recycling, AKA: going through the proper channels and delivering your mattress (or “unit”) to an authorized mattress recycler. This method is much more cost-efficient than if you were to deliver your mattress to a junk hauler or a landfill.

At Tough Stuff Recycling, we’ve established partnerships with surrounding municipalities to ensure that even if you live far from our recycling facility, you can still have your mattress or box spring recycled with us! 🤝 All you need to do is follow a few simple steps:

  1. Reach out to your municipality via phone or online.
  2. Ask them where you can responsibly recycle your mattress.
  3. Schedule a drop-off or curbside pick-up with an authorized recycler!

What Happens To The Mattress After It Has Been Recycled?

After your mattress has gone through a proper recycling process, the wood is shredded and can be used to generate energy. It can also be used for compost or horse bedding!

The foam and toppers are baled into 1000 lb units and sold to carpet pad manufacturers. And remember the steel springs? Recyclers have equipment specialized to compress these so that they can be sold to metal recyclers!

Key Takeaways

When considering how you’re going to dispose of your old mattress and box spring, the key factors are time, cost, and of course, the environment 🌎 When you choose to work with an authorized recycler, you are making a choice – a choice to make the world a better place for your family, children, neighbors, and friends ♻️ So if you are going to DIY, DIY responsibly! Make sure to work with an authorized mattress recycler like Tough Stuff Recycling who knows how to responsibly recycle that old mattress of yours.

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