When replacing an old mattress with a new one, the easiest way to get rid of the existing one is to have the retailer take it away during delivery. Most have agreements with recycling centers for responsible disposal. Another option is to disassemble the unit and recycle its parts.
Consumers often find it difficult to dispose of a mattress because these bulky items are expensive to dump at landfills, and they create dangers for workers there. Most thrift shops do not accept mattresses. As of 2015, there are a limited number of recycling centers with the technology to recycle mattresses. Centers with the technology find it is not cost effective to accept individual donations. When working with retailers, they receive large loads, improving their profit margins.
Another option is for the consumer to recycle the mattress himself. About 90 percent of the materials in a typical mattress are recyclable. The consumer can remove the cover with a box knife. The springs are recyclable steel, and the padding is useful for craft projects. Once washed, the fabric cover is useful for other projects.
Recycling of the box springs takes place in a similar manner. The fabric on the springs is usually thinner but still recyclable. The wood in the frame of the box springs is useful for building projects. Consumers can chip it for landscape mulch or cut it into lengths for firewood.