Can I Throw Away a Mattress?

If you have a mattress to dispose of and the thought of lugging it into landfill doesn’t give rise to even the smallest concern for the local and global environment then yes, you have every right to take the mattress to the tip. But is it the responsible thing to do? Although the advantage of taking a mattress to the tip is that it’s then gone when you need it to be and without financial outlay for yourself, discarding a mattress this way can incur costs of both time and energy from the considerable effort and transport involved – and then there’s the cost to the planet. Of the literally hundreds of thousands of mattresses which are thrown into landfill each year, the majority of these will take up to 50 years to decompose into the ground whilst the toxins they contain, such as formaldehyde (required to make mattresses fire retardant) can leach into the ground – meaning a considerable cost to the planet and disposal which is not at all responsible. Other council amenities Many councils offer arranged local council collection to assist in the disposal of bulky items, including mattresses. However, this paid-for collection can prove inconvenient as items usually have to be at roadside by a certain time, which is usually early in the morning. Costs vary between local authorities, for example whilst Birmingham City Council charge £25 and Portsmouth City Council £30, Colchester charges over £40 and Wealden Council charges £50 for up to 3 items, all of which makes council collection an expensive way to do it, especially if you do not have other items to dispose of at the same time. Whilst you can be assured that many councils will recycle the collected mattresses, this is not a given with all mattress collections and you may need to check if you want to ensure you are paying for responsible recycling via council collection. Recycling alternatives But there are other ways to recycle, especially mattresses which have not reached the end of their useful life span but are no longer required, such as bunk mattresses, when kids grow up and move into bigger singles and even double beds, or when couples upgrade from doubles to King size. Similarly when mattresses are replaced from necessity, when shifting to an orthopaedic mattress after the onset of a physical condition, for example. If the old mattress is still fit for purpose, it can be disposed of by passing it on to another individual or family who may be grateful for the free donation. Free methods for passing mattresses on this way include Freecycle (Freegle) groups or through running ‘free to collector’ classified ads, including online versions such as Gum Tree. Unfortunately though, there are still no guarantees that the passed-on mattress will be responsibly recycled once it does cease to be useful to anyone. Private collection Another alternative is to use a private company for collection and disposal of mattresses. However, as with council collections, it is worth checking that the mattress with be responsibly recycled and not just dumped into landfill or, in the case of rogue companies, become a fly-tipped item. To make sure your mattress is in safe hands, always use a reputable company such as Collect Your Old Bed which offers a dedicated service, easy three step Click2Collect online process and offers a guarantee that all mattresses will be 100% recycled, allowing disposal not just in the right way, but the responsible way too.