The average mattress takes up to 40 cubic feet of landfill space. Mattresses are difficult to compact and often clog compacting machinery, raising the cost of overall disposal. Once in the landfill, their unique composition creates dangerous soft spots in the landfill. Your mattress doesn’t need to end up in a landfill because you have more options than in past decades.
One of the simplest options is to donate your mattress to a national or local charity. Before donating, you’ll need to make sure your mattress is free from stains, tears, and bedbugs. Two organizations in the Cleveland area that regularly accept mattress donations include:
- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army offers free furniture pick-up, including mattresses, in certain locations. If pick-up services aren’t offered at a location near you, there are 68 drop-off locations in the greater Cleveland area. However, call ahead before arriving with your mattress as not all locations accept mattress donations.
- The Cleveland Furniture Bank: The Cleveland Furniture Bank accepts furniture donations and distributes them to previously homeless or displaced individuals and families. You can schedule a mattress pick-up in Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Summit, Medina, and Lorain counties. Call 261-459-2265 for further information.
You can also contact local thrift stores, homeless shelters, or women’s/family shelters to see if they accept mattress donations.
Recycle and Reuse
As of right now, there are no mattress recycling facilities in the Cleveland area. But, you can recycle a mattress yourself. Mattresses are made to last so breaking them down into recyclable parts takes some time and effort. Once the mattress is deconstructed, you can recycle or reuse:
- Foams (Polyurethane, Memory, or Latex): Foams can be shredded and repurposed as pet bedding, pillows, bean bag chairs, and anywhere else you need extra padding.
- Steel: Steel is easily one of the most recyclable materials in an innerspring mattress. Once the coils are removed, they could be taken to a steel recycling/scrap metal facility where they will be melted down to make other parts. There are currently 13 metal recycling facilities in the greater Cleveland area. Do a quick internet search to find one near you.
- Fabrics and Fibers: Mattress covers made of cotton, wool, silk, polyester, and rayon can be removed and used as padding or insulation much like foam.
- Wood Frames: While mattresses themselves do not have wood frames, the box springs that come with them often do. The wood can be removed and used as firewood or chipped to create gardening or lawn mulch.
- Miscellaneous Parts: Small metal hardware like nails and screws can often be removed and reused around the home. Some mattresses also include braiding and buttons that make a great addition to a home craft supply.
Before disposal, consider buying responsibly. While there are no mattresses on the market that are 100 percent biodegradable, some latex mattresses are 95 percent biodegradable, leaving behind a milky while film once the latex breaks down. Natural latex mattresses are made from latex foam that’s derived from the sap of the rubber tree, making them the most environmentally friendly option on the market. You can also lessen the environmental impact of your mattress by looking for models made of natural, organic materials. These materials break down easier than synthetics or materials made with chemicals. Together, responsible disposal and purchase can help prevent your next mattress from entering the local landfill.