It sucks to think about things ending, like your favourite show or your holiday. But sometimes, considering the end of something can be a good thing, like how to get rid of an old mattress. Rather than dumping your old mattress, discover the more environmentally- and human-friendly ways you can dispose of it.
Every year in Australia, around 1.7 million mattresses end up on landfill. Which is a sad end for the mattress, and especially one you spent ages reading guides to the best mattresses in Australia and working out how to buy. Not only is it sad for the mattress, it's not great for the planet either.
Learn more about your options when it comes to mattress disposal.
What to do with an old mattress
Your mattress disposal options are:
- Mattress recycling services throughout Australia.
- Donating it.
A note on landfill
You might have noticed we haven't included landfill on our list of options and have instead opted for more environmentally friendly options. Although your local council will probably run a landfill site, we'd encourage you not to throw old mattresses there, if possible.
Nothing good happens to a mattress in landfill, especially mattresses that contain toxic chemicals, like flame retardants. As a mattress break downs, it can leach these harmful chemicals into nearby soil and groundwater, which isn't good for the health of the environment or humans.
Plus, dumping an old mattress wastes the energy and resources used to manufacture it so it's not very sustainable or planet-friendly.
Mattress recycling in Australia
Recycling a mattress is pretty tricky. The process involves it being broken down into its separate parts, including fabric, foam, latex and springs. Each component then needs to be dealt with individually.
Thankfully, there are a few mattress recycling options available throughout Australia, including Soft Landing. Soft Landing is a national social enterprise that offers mattress removal and collection (for a small fee) plus drop off across NSW, ACT, VIC and WA. As well as offering employment opportunities, Soft Landing ensure no part of your old mattress and its materials and components go to waste.
Steel springs are sent to Australian scrap metal recyclers and become metal roofing. Foam is re used as carpet underlay. The wood in timber bed bases is re used as mulch. Textiles are recycled into things like acoustic panelling.
Alternatives to Soft Landing include Mattress Recycle Australia. They partner with councils across NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC and SA to provide mattress recycling services - check out your local council to see what's available in your area. Normally you need to book a mattress collection and possibly pay a small fee to have your old mattress taken away and recycled. Even if you're not in these areas, it's worth ringing your local council to find out about mattress removal near you.
Recycling company Bed Collect operates in Melbourne. 80% of the components from old mattresses are recycled. Book online to organise your mattress collection (for a small fee). Also in Victoria, KTS Recycling sites are throughout South East Melbourne. These sites accept old mattresses for recycling. However, you will need to get the mattress to them as they don't offer mattress collections.
Finally, visit the Recycling Near You website which lists mattress recyclers near you.
Donate your old mattress
If your mattress is still comfortable and in great condition (read: clean), you can donate your old mattress to charity, like homeless shelters. Before donating it, check for:
- Stains. Untreated wet (sorry) stains can get into the deepest layers of your mattress, causing mould and smells. Find out how to clean your mattress. If it that doesn't do the trick, you'll need to recycle it.
- Sagging or obvious wear and tear. A sagging mattress or an old mattress with rips, tears or springs poking through means the components are failing. A non-supportive or comfortable mattress can't be donated.
- Bed bugs or other infestations. Just no.
Mattress good enough quality to donate? Contact a nearby charity to see if they'll like it.
Another option we didn't include, but is possible if you're a keen DIY-er, is breaking down your mattress at home. Grab your tools and get to work pulling your mattress apart. You'll be left with fabric that you can recycle or reuse. Foam can be repurposed into cushions or even a pet bed. Steel springs can become artwork or a homemade wine rack.