How to recycle a mattress - who can help and how much it’ll cost you

Everything you need to know about recycling a mattress

A bedroom with cushions on the bed
(Image credit: Future PLC/Max Attenborough)

New year, new mattress? While we appreciate your resolution to upgrade your 2024 sleeping space as much as the next person, everyone must know how to recycle a mattress… properly. 

After all, if you’ve replaced your old, lumpy mattress with one of the best mattresses on the market, you don’t want the old one hanging around and sticking out like a sore thumb. And while there are so many methods for how to get rid of a mattress, they’re not always the most eco-friendly options and could end up doing more harm than good.

Recycling a mattress involves using the old components of the mattress - from the springs to the foam and the fabric - to make something new. But how do you do this? Well, we’ve consulted with the experts to help you recycle your mattress without the hassle. 

How to recycle a mattress

‘Over 5 million mattresses (equivalent to 167,000 tonnes) end up in landfill every year in the UK, and all these mattresses could and should be recycled,’ explains Andrew Seed, the Owner and Managing Director of The Odd Company. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about how to recycle a mattress. 

A bedroom with cushions on the bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

1. Find a reputable recycling company

There are many companies out there that specialise in bulky waste removal, and these can come in handy if you’re looking to recycle an old mattress. 

For example, Clearabee will charge you £40 for mattress removal, First Mile offers a zero-landfill mattress recycling option from £50, and The Mattress Recycling People will collect and recycle any-size mattress for £44.99.

When booking a company like this, however, it’s important to do a deep dive into their credentials and what they aim to do with the mattress during the recycling process. 

2. Arrange a collection with your new mattress seller

Although some people have spare old mattresses lying around, most want to dispose of an old mattress when they buy a new one. Thankfully, mattress sellers have made that easier than ever, as they often offer mattress recycling services as an additional extra. 

This means that they will not only deliver your new mattress, but they’ll then take your old one away for recycling at the same time. Below, you’ll find a list of retailers that offer this service:

  • Argos: More and more companies are getting on board with furniture recycling, and Argos is one of them. If you buy a new mattress from them, you can add its mattress recycling service to your order for just £30. You can then choose a collection day of your choosing, and the delivery drivers will bring a bag for your old mattress with them on the day.
  • Bensons for Beds: Buying from Bensons for Beds? You can recycle your old mattress with the company for just £45 per mattress. You can also recycle a divan base for an extra £45 and a headboard for an extra £25. If you’re looking for another eco-friendly way to dispose of your old mattress, Bensons also offers a free mattress collection service in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation. Instead of being recycled, your old mattress will be re-sold in BHF shops to raise money for the charity.
  • Carpetright: If you’re planning on buying a new mattress from Carpetright, make sure you check out its bed recycling service to dispose of your mattress in an eco-friendly way. This is a like-for-like service, so it is only applicable if you’re buying a new mattress from them. But for delivery of your new mattress and the recycling of your old one, this will cost you £40.
  • Dreams: If you buy a new mattress from Dreams, you can take advantage of their recycling service. This will cost you £20 for a single mattress, £50 for a double mattress, or £55 for a king or super king mattress, and this can be added to your new order at checkout. Dreams will also send you a bag ahead of the collection so you can wrap up your old mattress before the delivery team arrives.
  • Dunelm: Yes, Dunelm has now added another string to its bow and has partnered with the British Heart Foundation and Clearabee to recycle and repurpose your old mattress. If you want to donate to the British Heart Foundation, you need to ensure that the mattress is clean, has no soiled areas, and still has its fire label attached to it. If not, Clearabee may be your best bet - and they aim to divert 95% of their collections away from landfill.
  • DUSK: If you love DUSK products as much as we do, you’ll be happy to know that this brand offers a mattress recycling service on all new mattress orders. This will set you back £30 per mattress and is only available on a like-for-like swap and not available for anyone not buying a DUSK mattress.
  • Emma: Taking advantage of one of the many Emma mattress discount codes? While you’re at it, it’s also a great idea to take advantage of Emma’s old mattress removal service. This premium service can be added at checkout when you buy your new mattress, and it’ll be collected on the very same day as your new mattress is delivered. This will cost you £45.
  • John Lewis: John Lewis sells a whole host of impressive mattress brands, and if you buy through this company, you have the option to add mattress recycling to your order. The charge for this service is £29.95, and all you need to do is make sure your mattress is clean and free from bed linen before collection.
  • MattressNextDay: When buying a new mattress from MattressNextDay, you can simply add a recycling service to your order. This will set you back £39 per mattress, and they work with the Furniture Recycling Group to ensure 100% of the mattress is recycled and used.
  • M&S: M&S offers a mattress disposal service. This costs £29 per mattress, and you can even choose to buy this service on finance. It will cost you £2.42 per month over 12 months or £1.21 per month over 24 months.
  • Simba: The best thing about Simba (aside from the high-quality mattresses) is that you don’t actually have to be a customer to use its mattress recycling service. Of course, you can add this to checkout if you’re looking to buy a new Simba mattress. But if you’re just looking to get rid of an old, spare mattress, you can do this as a standalone service for £50.

bensons for bed wooden bed frame in neutral bedroom

(Image credit: Bensons for Beds)

Remember, you should NEVER fly-tip a mattress, and a spokesperson for Winstons Beds says, 'For some, it can be tempting just to fill up the boot and dump everything in a quiet spot, but this is never ever acceptable.'

'We are urging all our customers to dispose of their unwanted mattress in a responsible and carefully considered manner.' This is why you should also never dump a mattress at your local waste centre without prior agreement with your local council. 

How a mattress is recycled

Although a good quality mattress can last anywhere between 10 to 15 years, it’s important to know how often you should change your mattress. But the life of your mattress doesn’t have to end when it’s no longer needed in your bedroom. 

When mattresses are recycled, the top layer is stripped from the interior, revealing the different materials inside - whether that be memory foam, springs, latex, wool, or even silk. 

Then, the interior components are separated into their different categories, sanitised, and then compressed together to be sent to the companies and factories, who then re-use these materials for their own products. 

Simba hybrid mattress on a bed in a white bedroom

(Image credit: Simba)

How each part of a mattress is recycled

Mattresses may seem relatively simple in terms of their general makeup and design, but the inside of a mattress is a treasure trove of material that shouldn’t go to waste. Almost every part of a mattress can be recycled, and here’s a low-down of how: 

Foam: Both hybrid and memory foam mattresses are made from foam, and this foam can come in very handy for those in the carpet industry. In fact, almost all recycled mattress foam is repurposed for use as carpet underlay. In some cases, however, it may also be sent to a waste-to-energy plant to produce energy. 

Metal springs: Spring mattresses may not be as in vogue as they used to be, but they can still be recycled. Generally, the metal springs from these mattresses are melted down and then used to make alternative metal products. 

Wadding: The filling of a mattress is called wadding, and every mattress - aside from memory foam mattresses - is full of this wadding. This is often a polyester blend, which can be difficult to recycle. Nevertheless, ‘Wadding can be used to restuff pillows, bedding, mattresses and even sometimes as insulation,’ explains Stephany Aubrey, Brand Specialist at Zinus

Mattress fabric: The top of every mattress is covered in some kind of fabric, but this is usually a low-grade fabric that has very little recycling value. Because of this, they’re often sent to waste-to-energy plants. 

Guest bedroom with bed layered in blue and pink blankets

(Image credit: Future PLC/JoannaHenderson)

FAQs

How do I dispose of a mattress for free UK?

As mattresses are big and bulky, it’s hard to find somewhere that will take your old mattress for free. In fact, the only 100% free way to dispose of a mattress in the UK is to donate it.

If you’re willing to pay a small fee, however, there are countless companies that will come and collect your old mattress for recycling. This could cost you as little as £30.

Fabio Perrotta, Director of Buying at Dreams, explains the importance of recycling mattresses.

'When mattresses aren’t disposed of correctly, they can contribute significantly to landfill waste, and the decomposition process releases harmful chemicals into the environment.'

'Recycling old mattresses prevents these environmental risks and helps reduce our overall carbon footprint. Additionally, manufacturing new mattresses involves a lot of resource consumption, including raw materials and energy. By recycling old mattresses, we can help conserve these valuable resources and promote a more sustainable future.'

Will the local council collect an old mattress?

Many local councils will come and collect an old mattress, but it’s unlikely that they’ll do this for free. You’ll need to pay for this service, and sometimes it can be more expensive than paying another company to do so.

The best way to check whether your local council will collect an old mattress is to check your local council’s website.

Take this as your reminder to recycle your old mattress to stop even more mattresses from ending up in landfill. 

Lauren Bradbury
Contributor

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.