How to Responsibly Get Rid of a Mattress
Unfortunately, mattresses are one of the most common items populating fly-tipping sites across the UK. Whether they’re left abandoned in a lay-by, or condemned to communal bin areas, mattresses are big, bulky and cost a bit to get rid of. Or so people seem to think. As the UK’s largest clearance company (who know a thing or two about mattress removal), let’s take a look at how you can responsibly get rid of a mattress (without breaking the bank).
Mattresses by the numbers
Firstly, it’s important to realise just how many mattresses are being replaced and disposed of in the UK each year. The National Bed Federation (NBF) reported that 6.8 million mattresses were sold in 2015, whilst a mere 879,000 of the presumed replacements were recycled, reused or repurposed. That’s a recycling rate of just 13%, which is down on the previous year. You can guess where the rest of the mattresses end up.
A Which? Survey, conducted at the end of 2017, reported that 39% of mattresses were collected by the company responsible for delivering the replacement. Another 19% were collected by local councils which, unfortunately, does not always automatically result in recycling, due to the levels of demand.
Close to a quarter of all unwanted mattresses (24%) were taken to the tip to be disposed of instead of being taken to a recycling centre, although this practice has since been ruled out in Scotland, as a ban on sending mattresses to landfill is due to come in during 2020.
So why are the recycling rates for mattresses so low?
Can you recycle a mattress?
It’s often assumed that mattresses cannot be recycled due to their size and complex composition. Made of up various forms of foam, latex and metal or steel springs, it’s not as simple a process as more common avenues of recycling. True enough, it’s a costly process but mattress recycling is becoming more prominent across the UK.
Springs can be extracted from the mattress and melted down for reuse as other metal products, whilst the foam has previously been repurposed and used as carpet underlay. The textile material within the mattress will usually be used as fuel in an energy-to-waste facility. At the present time, this process is all completed by hand, and is therefore both labour-intensive and more expensive as a result.
Although the company who is delivering your old mattress may remove your old mattress, this is occasionally at a cost and there is no guarantee that this will result in recycling so take time to check the terms and conditions when you sign on the dotted line.
Reputable, rubbish clearance companies can transfer your mattress to a recycling facility for a fee, but it is important to practice due diligence before hiring such a company – you don’t want to end up with a hefty fine for fly-tipping.
Why does mattress recycling cost so much?
There are complications inherent in mattress recycling, predominantly, that it all needs to be done by hand as the springs wreak havoc on the internal workings of the recycling machinery. But it can be done. On average, local councils can collect your mattress for around £12, but there can often be a delay before collections can be made and recycling is dependent upon the existing demand.
If you don’t have the time to wait around for your mattress to be collected and you want to make sure that you’re not sending your old mattress to landfill, then you can have confidence in Clearabee’s rapid reaction clearance service.
Upon completion of the collection, Clearabee supply customers with a digital Waste Transfer Note which states at which local Waste Transfer Station the mattress has been disposed of, as well as the recycling rate.
Can You Donate A Mattress?
Much like sofa donations, if a mattress is in good condition with the fire labels still attached, it can be donated and used by someone else who has need for it. There are a number of charitable organisations who will collect your mattress and sell it on, with the proceeds going to support their cause. Such charities can be found via Google or, for ease, via Clearabee’s own locations pages.
If your mattress is in a sellable condition, you could also try to sell it through Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, or you could list it for free on a group such as Freegle or Freecycle.
As mentioned previously, Clearabee are well-versed in collecting mattresses. Our ‘Man and Van’ clearance service could attend your property and remove the mattress, often on the same day as you make the booking. You’re sure to be Duty of Care compliant with our Waste Transfer Notes, whilst also knowing that you’re doing your part in helping the planet.
With Clearabee, you can sleep easily, knowing that your old mattress has been disposed of responsibly.
Removing rubbish. It’s what we do.
Clearabee operates nationwide on-demand rubbish clearance and waste removal services, with over 120 vehicles and 300 directly employed staff. Our core services include our industry-leading rubbish clearance service as well as our skip bag, skip hire and sofa removal services.
We count some of the UK’s leading brands as exclusive customers including DFS, Sofology, Wren Kitchens, Homeserve and the CO-OP. Clearabee has been ranked as the fastest-growing waste management company in Europe for 3 years running and featured on The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track for the last two years.