How to Recycle a Mattress (5 steps)

Overview of mattress recycling

To recycle a mattress you must start by physically cutting open the mattress and taking apart each layer. The materials inside are then separated. 90% of those materials will be recycled and utilized again in products such as carpet underlay and dog beds. In this article we will show you how to recycle a mattress and what

What is inside a mattress?

Each mattress is is obviously made differently, however, in general there are 3 main materials that can be extracted from any given mattress. These materials include metal, foam and a fabric cover. After physically tearing apart a mattress we are able to recycle and reuse 90% of these materials. 

Why is Mattress Recycling so important?

Each year 20-40 million mattresses are disposed of in landfills across the country. This adds up to almost 1 billion sq.ft. of landfill space. The problem with mattresses ending up in landfills is that they do not compress or breakdown like other trash. Mattresses leave what they call “soft spots” in the landfill where they cannot compress trash into the earth, causing for wasted landfill space. Many landfills and states across the country are banning mattresses or are charging large fees due to the inconvenience they cause and the space they take up. Mattress recycling is becoming more important than ever and we are proud to say that we have helped recycle over 300K mattresses and saved over 7 million sq. ft of landfill space in Colorado alone! We have laid out some steps below that you can take to recycle a mattress yourself. 

5 Steps to recycle a mattress

Step 1. Cut Ticking

While you could use an x-acto to cut open the mattress, why not save your muscles and your back. To start find the point on the mattress where the ticking is sewn together (as seen in the image above). Cut away at the ticking and the tiny thread that is holding it on. 

Step 2. Pull off ticking all the way around the mattress

The ticking is what holds the covers on the mattress. Once you take that portion off you are free to begin disassembling the pieces inside of the mattress. 

Step 3. Cut the cover free

Once you get the ticking off you will need to remove the covers. In order to do this you will generally have to cut away the fabric from what are called “hog rings” that the cover to the springs inside. 

Step 4. Remove Layers

After you have removed the covers of the mattress you will find the recyclable materials. Take off all the layers of foam and set them aside. 

Step 5. Where do I take my materials to recycle them?

At this point you will be left with a spring unit, foam and your cover. Here is what you do with them:

To recycle the spring unit: Take the spring unit to your local scrap metal yard. They will weigh it and actually give you cash (not a ton but you can be proud it didn’t end up in the landfill)

To recycle the foam: To recycle your foam you will have to do a little more work. Google companies in your area that take scrap foam. If you don’t find any hits start searching carpeting manufacturers (they will use the scrap foam as carpet underlay). 

The cover: unfortunately there isn’t much of a use for the cover. You will have to toss it in your trash can.