When buying a new mattress or mattress in a box, it may cross your mind what are you going to do with your old bed? Because mattresses can last more than 10 years. But just like any other goods, the time will come when you need to dispose of your mattress.
In the state of Victoria, every year more than 300,000 mattresses are disposed to landfills, that's a massive 5,700 mattresses every week. And because beds are usually made mostly of recyclable materials, it's an enormous waste and environmental abuse.
Why you need to recycle your mattress
There are many reasons why you should recycle your mattress, but the most important one is to preserve the environment. With many serious environmental issues affecting the planet, it is high time we take steps to ensure that we don't overwhelm Mother Nature with unnecessary waste.
Mattresses also contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, flame retardants, and phthalates, which can filter from the beds and pollute water and soil.
Recycling has been one of the most effective methods of curtailing landfill wastes. One of the things that take up a lot of space in landfills is mattresses. Generally, an average mattress can take up to 40 cubic feet of space, so you can imagine how much space 300,000 mattresses take up, and that is without including couches, foldout sofa beds, and recliners.
Luckily, around 80% of most mattress materials can be reused, meaning you can now recycle your old mattress.
How to recycle your old mattress
1. Find Recycling Program
In Australia, many local councils provide mattress recycling services. So if you have an old mattress or want to dispose of your mattress simply give them a call and ask if they can pick the mattress for recycling.
Soft Landing is a social program that also provides mattress recycling services, particularly in Australia Capital Territory, New South Wales, Western Australia, and Victoria.
SUEZ is also another social enterprise that offers the same services but focuses on Sydney and New South Wales areas.
2. Check the warranty of your mattress
Most mattress brands offer a buyback or complimentary collection and dispose of the program, which enables mattress manufacturers to collect a disposal fee in addition to the cost of brand new mattresses as well as box springs.
This money is then used for recycling of the old mattresses and construction of more mattress recycling centres.
So when you buy a new mattress, as your retailer if they collect and dispose of your old one.
3. Recycle your old mattress yourself
If your local council or mattress retailer does not offer recycling services, you can do it yourself. First, assess the condition of the mattress and see if it still has life in it.
Most mattresses can live more than 10 years, so if yours is under ten and still in good condition, you can consider reselling it in a thrift store or online listing sites like eBay, Facebook, or Gumtree.
However, to increase your chance of a sale, you will have to ensure your mattress is still in good buyable condition.
4. Donate it
If you are bothered by making money from an old mattress, you can donate it to goodwill, homeless shelter, Habitat for Humanity, or a local charity.
Habitat for Humanity can recycle old mattresses, and the proceeds go to individuals who need them most, such as vulnerable families and homeless people. Since the organisation builds new homes daily, they can take mattresses that are still in good condition.
Remember to clean and disinfect your mattress before donating it to a charity. Some organisations reserve the right to turn down a donation of mattresses that are in bad condition.
Sydney based Generous and The Grateful offer old mattress collection as long as it is in good condition, and then they donate it to families in need.
The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group, a Victorian State Government Statutory Body coordinates and facilitates the delivery of waste management and resources recovery in Melbourne metropolitan. The body usually refurbishes old mattresses, manually dismantle and mechanically separate the parts, or mix shred to obtain steel.
5. Dismantle it yourself
You will be surprised to learn what your old mattress can make after dismantling it. The components from your old bed can give you a variety of home DIY projects.
Traditional spring mattresses contain typically around 11 kg of steel, mostly in springs. When melted, these springs can be used to make a wide range of products. Nevertheless, if you don't have a melting furnace, there are ingenious ways you can repurpose mattress springs, including:
Spring vase: Add a rustic look to your home by turning your mattress spring into a vintage spring vase. You will also need a test tube to hold the plant, and if you like, paint the spring with the colour of your choice.
Spring wreath: You can also make a wreath out of the mattress springs to decorate your front door or living room with. The good thing about this wreath is that it is highly customisable.
Plant holder: Put those mattress springs into good use by turning them into plant holders. However, due to the size of the spring, you shouldn't put huge planters in them. Just push the pot down the spring so that it balances and you are done!
Candle holder: With a combination of a small jelly jar, you can create some amazing candle holders with bed springs. These candleholders can be perfect for outdoor events during summer or even weddings! Just put a jelly jar inside the mattress spring and you are good to go. It is also easy to make these, as all you need is five minutes.
Photo display: Have some old family photos in the basement? How about creating a photo holder for them using old mattress springs? You will probably need several springs for this project, but in the end, definitely worth it. Just attach the springs to a board and place your pictures in between the springs and you are done. This is a great way to display your old black and white family photos.
Garden trellis: Instead of dismantling your entire mattress, you can use it to make a garden trellis. This is a very easy project, just stand the entire mattress spring in your garden and allow the vine plants to climb on it. The best part is that you can still remove springs you feel you can use for another DIY project.
Bird's nests: Add some neat and charming décor to your backyard by creating bird's nests out of old mattress springs. The rustic vintage look will go with any outdoor or indoor decoration.
Recipe holder: Almost every kitchen has one or two cookbooks, so why not hold them using your mattress spring? If you love cooking or baking, you will find this to be a great gift idea for a friend. Sand the springs if they have rust, and attach a holder at the end to hold the recipes securely.
Wine charms: Do you love wine? (Like there is anyone who doesn't!). Your old mattress springs can also be used to make a wine charm holder. Just push the spring down over the wine bottler and attach your charm on the end.
Spring pin cushion: This is a pretty simple idea and will take about five minutes to make it. But you will need to do a little sewing with this idea as well as use a little paint.
Edgy food holder: You can do this in numerous ways, start with an old box spring or remove however many springs you want, then just insert your wrapped chips. Make sure you sand down the springs like mentioned in the recipe holder.
If you don't feel like decorating your home with old mattress springs, you can collect them and sell them to a scrapyard and metal recyclers.
Mattresses also contain a combination of natural fibres such as wool, silk, and cotton, and non-natural fibres such as rayon and polyester. These materials can be recycled and be used to make different products from insulation to padding.
Polyurethane foam found in mattresses can also be shredded and reused around the house mainly for padding, for example in car seat cushions, and pillows. Latex foam and memory foam can also be repurposed the same way.
During the dismantling of your mattress, you will also find some woods in there. Besides its obvious use (firewood), you can also shred the wood and used it in your garden as mulch.
Other components such as screws, nails, and other metal parts can be reused in several projects in your house, while the braiding and buttons can be used for your sewing projects and different designs in your home.
How to tell if it's time to get a new mattress?
There is an easy way to know if you need a new mattress. Just think about the number of years you have owned it,, and you will get a hint. The average mattress lasts up to 10 years, though some can last for only 7 years. So if it has been more than 10 years since you bought your current mattress, it is probably time to buy a new one.
Other than the number of years you have owned the mattress, some signs can help you know if it is time to upgrade your bed, including:
- Sagging: The most obvious sign that you need a new mattress is if your current one has or starts to sag. Sagging is usually a sign that the coils in your mattress have weakened or the memory foam has worn out.
- Noise: If your mattress begins to produce squeaking sound or screeching metal sounds, it is a sign that you should replace it. This usually is common in beds with coils, and sometimes it may not need replacing; just tighten the bolts in the box spring or mattress.
- Smell: The mattress may start to smell after using it for sometimes as a buildup of mold, mildew, or fungi. This can occur sooner if you live in humid areas.
- Pain: Another sign that you need to replace your current mattress is if you wake up with severe pains in your back, shoulder, hips, neck, or any part of your body. This is usually a sign that your mattress is no longer able to offer the support required for your weight.
There you go, now you know how to recycle your old mattress as well as the reasons why you shouldn't send it to the landfill. When you buy a new mattress, make sure you check out our best mattress reviews first. Most brands have a buyback program or free collect and dispose of the program, which means the manufacture will take your old mattress when you buy a new one, and recycle it. This is perhaps the best way to recycle your old mattress, but you can also donate it to charity or dismantle it for a home DIY project