6 Ways to Keep Your Old Mattress Out of a Landfill

/ March 6, 2020

Americans get rid of about 20 million mattresses and box springs every year, and most of them end up in landfills or incinerators. To put that into perspective, that's about 55,000 mattresses per day. Instead of contributing to this problem (and having to pay a removal service or rent a truck), there are many ways you can give your old mattress new life. You can find a new home for it, recycle it, or get crafty.

How to get rid of an old mattress

Skip a trip to the dump and take the creative route instead. Here are six ways you can re-purpose your old mattress and do the planet a small but significant favor.

Give it away

If you're in the market for a new mattress but your old one still has a few good years in it, consider passing it on to someone you know. Think about it: Do you have a relative moving into their first apartment or dorm room, a friend on a tight budget (and sleeping on a futon), or a neighbor relocating to a home with more bedrooms? You can also list your old mattress on a local message board if you'd like to give it away.

Donate it

Another option is to contact a nonprofit organization like your local Habitat for Humanity or the Furniture Bank, both of which often take gently used mattresses to help people in need furnish their homes.

While some charities may not take old mattresses due to concerns over bedbugs, Donation Town can help you find one in your area that will accept and pick up your old mattress. In this case, just make sure your mattress is still good to sleep on—if it's ripped or sagging, whoever takes it will ultimately have to toss it out.

Recycle it

Considering that the mattresses tossed out each year create enough waste to circle the globe end-to-end, it's no wonder that finding innovative ways to recycle them is a $1-million-dollar priority for the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC). Doing your part might be easier than you think: Some mattress manufacturers (Saatva included!) will recycle your old mattress according to your state's laws if you purchase a new mattress from them.

Just looking to let go of yours without replacing it? You can find a recycling organization near you through the Bye Bye Mattress directory.

Reuse the filling

Old mattresses are 80% recyclable, which means they're also full of materials for upcycling. If you're feeling crafty and there's still some life left in your memory foam mattress, there are numerous ways to repurpose the stuffing. For example, you can cut it out to serve as the base for custom cushions or floor poufs, or surprise your beloved pup or cat with a double-stuffed pet bed. All you need is a little fabric (or old sheets!), scissors, cording, and thread.

Get creative with springs

Got an old innerspring mattress? The coil springs you can't sleep on anymore are actually full of design possibilities. You can use them to make whimsical wine bottle holders with reclaimed wood, a playful vertical planter for herbs or vines, or even a vintage-style letter holder or pinboard. Get the designs from DIYer-extraordinaire Bob Vila.

Build a compost bin

This might be the most involved way to breathe life into your old mattress, but it's also a highly eco-friendly option. What to do: Use the wood slats of the mattress foundation (if you're planning to get rid of your old one) to create the container for a compost bin. Then cover it with the foam padding or stuffing from your old mattress, which will help warm up the contents and support the composting process. To start your pile, follow this handy guide from the DIY Network.

Time for a New Mattress? See What Saatva Offers

Saatva Classic

Our flagship luxury mattress is expertly engineered with coil-on-coil construction for durability, a layer of memory foam for enhanced back support, and a cushiony Euro pillow top for extra comfort.


Not sure if you're in need of a new bed just yet? Here's how to know if it's time to replace your mattress.

Image courtesy of Modern Shelter Blog

lauren krouse

Lauren Krouse

Lauren Krouse is a freelance writer who covers health, domestic violence, and self-advocacy. Her work appears inWomen's Health, Men's Health, Prevention, Self, HuffPost, and elsewhere. When she's not writing, you can find her trying to meditate more, weightlifting, or walking in the woods with her partner and black lab. Visit her website.

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