Mattress Disposal

Mattress Disposal & Recycling UK (2024)

Last updated: 31.10.2023 Reading time: 10 Min.

Got an old mattress you need to chuck out? 🤔

Whether you’re interested in mattress recycling, mattress collection services or quick-and-easy mattress disposal

Sleep Hero will guide you through all the dos and don’ts of ditching your old mattress. 🦸‍♂️

Let’s dive right in! 👇

Man putting mattress in van

When should I replace my mattress?

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s figure out if it’s time for you to get rid of your mattress. 👀

There are some misconceptions about when you should replace your mattress.

mattress needs replacing
There is much debate about when a mattress needs replacing.

Dreams UK “Replace Every 8” slogan advises Brits to upgrade their mattress every 8 years.

At Bensons for Beds, the standard mattress warranty is 5 years only.

Other brands guarantee a mattress for 10 years.

So, how often should you replace your mattress? 🧐

Replace your mattress every 7 - 10 years

You should aim to replace your mattress every 7 - 10 years as a rule of thumb.

If you wake up with aches and pains, feel your partner moving around, or notice dipping - then it’s probably time for a replacement. 🤯

Men suffering with back and neck pain
If a mattress is causing back or neck pain, you should consider replacing it.

The National Bed Federation [1] created this video to show how much use is accumulated in a 7-year old mattress.

To summarise, a 7-year old mattress:

⏲️ Has roughly 20,000 hours of use

🛁 Absorbed 80 gallons of moisture (a bath full!)

💀 Accumulated half a stone of dead skin

Pretty gross, right?

So, even if your mattress still feels comfortable after 7 years, it will not be the most hygienic. 🤢

This is another reason we always stress the importance of using a mattress protector.

You can use mattress cleaners to get rid of stains and refresh the surface, but this may not be enough (especially if you haven't been using a protector).

If you think your mattress is due to be replaced, check out some of our favourites below - they can recycle your old mattress too!

What to do with an unwanted mattress

Maybe it’s time to upgrade your old mattress with a shiny new one. ✨

But now we have another dilemma…

What do you do with the old mattress? 🤔

Consider these options:

  • Take the mattress to a recycling centre
  • Donate the mattress to charity
  • Hire a mattress removal service
  • Contact your local council
  • Buy a new mattress that comes with a disposal service

We’ll go into more detail about these different options further down. 👇

1. Take the mattress to a recycling centre

Most mattresses are made with recyclable materials. ♻️

And yet, in 2017 [2], just 19% of mattress disposals were recycled, with the remaining 81% ending up in landfills.

Unfortunately, recycling your mattress is not as straightforward as leaving it outside with the rest of your recycling bins. 🗑️

The following materials are typically recyclable:

However, whether or not you can recycle your mattress depends on the particular mattress and individual recycling centre. 👀

Where is a mattress recycling centre near me?

There are recycling facilities all over the UK, and you’ll likely find a mattress recycling service within driving distance, but you’ll have to transport the mattress yourself. 🚗💨

mattress recycling centre
You can find a mattress recycling centre in your local area.

Check here [3] to enter your postcode and find your nearby recycling centre details.

You’ll also be able to find out with there is a mattress recycling pickup option available. 🧐

What happens to recycled mattress materials?

It’s all well and good knowing the materials are recycled.

But how does the recycling journey end? 👇

Mattress material How it is recycled What it is recycled into
Metal springs Melted down in metal recycling plants Construction material
Foam padding Extracted and cleaned for reuse Furniture stuffing, pillows, and carpet underlay
Natural fibres (i.e. wool, cotton) Washed and spun into new fibres Insulation, new yarn, other recycled textiles
Outer fabric Stripped from mattress and shredded down Low-grade fabric, refuse-derived fuel (renewable energy)

Springs and foam are moderately easy to recycle, with the fabric cover being the most difficult due to the contamination complications.

2. Donate the mattress to charity

If your mattress is reasonably good, you might consider donating it to charity. ❤️

A clean mattress with a few years left could be an excellent option for those who can’t afford a brand new mattress.

Price-performance ratio graphic
A barely used mattress can be a great option for those on a budget.

You don't need to take the mattress to the charity shop.

In fact, the charity usually offers a free mattress collection service, saving you the inconvenience of transporting it yourself. 😅

REM-Fit goes one step further. They donate their returned mattresses to the British Heart Foundation, and all profits are kept by the charity.

The following charities accept mattress donations:

  • British Heart Foundation mattress collection UK [4]
  • British Red Cross mattress collection UK [5]
  • The Salvation Army mattress collection UK [6]

You should contact your chosen charity to discuss the details of the mattress donation.

3. Hire a mattress removal service

Getting rid of your mattress yourself can be a hassle, especially if you don't have the means to transport it. 🙁

Luckily, there are removal companies that can collect your bed [7] for a fee.

mattress recycling service
Removal companies can pick up your old mattress for a fee.

A removal service makes life a lot easier as they will take the mattress straight from your room.

We encourage you to use a legitimate mattress collection service that recycles your mattress instead of sending it to landfills.

If you don’t have a car or cannot transport the mattress yourself, then a mattress collection service is a great idea. 🙌

4. Contact your local council

If you haven’t got the amenities to drop your mattress off at a recycling centre, or it’s in too poor a condition to donate, consider arranging a council collection. 🚚

You can apply for a special collection of bulky items via [8].

The price for these bulky waste collections depends on your area and your local council rates.

There is typically a minimum fee plus an additional charge dependant on the item.

You should compare the prices with other mattress removal services and see what’s the cheapest. 💰

5. Buy a new mattress that comes with a disposal service

Some mattress retailers and brands offer a disposal or recycling service with the purchase of your new mattress. 😍

There is usually a charge, but this is often cheaper than the local council or removal companies.

Often the price depends on the mattress size, with single mattresses being the cheapest for disposal and super kings the most expensive.

UK mattress sizes

Some retailers can even recycle your old divan base and headboard too. 😱

Additionally, the mattress recycling service is a much more eco-friendly option.

You reduce your carbon footprint as the same van that delivers the new mattress will collect your old one in a simple swap. 👍

mattress being replaced
A mattress exchange option is convenient and easy.

The mattress is then often fully recycled at a mattress recycling centre. ♻️

Check out these fantastic mattresses that come with a removal service:

How to prepare my mattress for disposal

If your mattress is being collected by a charity, removal service, or retailer offering mattress removals, you’ll want to prepare it for disposal.

Typically, this involves:

  • Fully undressing the bed and removing any pillows.
  • Creating a safe entryway for the removal men (i.e. removing any fragile items and pictures from the walls.)
  • Sometimes you’ll be asked to pop the mattress in a disposal bag.
  • Other companies will require you to take the mattress from the room and leave it on the doorstep.

The individual requirements will depend on the conditions of the company removing your mattress.

You should check the relevant website in advance, so you have time to prepare. 💻

Can you cut up a mattress for disposal?

A mattress isn’t exactly a small item - and you may be considering cutting it up to transport it for disposal more easily. 🤔

If you have pre-arranged a removal service to collect your mattress, you should leave the mattress in one piece.

If you’re disposing of your mattress yourself and need to transport it more efficiently, or you want to reclaim or recycle the materials, then you can cut it up.

Before you start, ensure the following:

  • You use safety glasses and cut-resistant work gloves when cutting the mattress. 🥽🧤
  • You have the necessary tools (i.e. box cutter, pliers, etc.) ✂️
  • You have a safe outside area to work in. 🏕️
  • You have previous DIY knowledge or experience with tools. 👩‍🔧

We also recommend having someone nearby to assist and watch out for your safety.

The below video shows how you can safely cut up your mattress for disposal:

As you can see, you should cut up the mattress layer by layer, starting with the cords, removing the outer fabric, and then each of the individual layers.

What is a mattress disposal bag?

To put it simply, a mattress disposal bag is a bag in which to dispose of your mattress. 🧳

They can come in specific mattress sizes or as a one-size-fits-all.

Some retailers, such as Bensons for Beds, will give you a mattress disposal bag when you buy their mattress recycling option.

If you are donating your mattress, some charities may ask you to pop your mattress in a bag to protect it during transport.


mattress disposal bag
A mattress disposal bag goes around your mattress to keep it protected.

Mattress disposal bags are sometimes referred to as mattress disposal covers or collection mattress protectors.

Where to buy a mattress disposal bag

If you need a mattress disposal bag in preparation for disposing of your mattress, you can typically only find them online. 💻

Amazon is a great place to find a cheap but efficient mattress disposal bag.


How to use a mattress disposal bag

If your mattress is being collected for disposal or donation, you should pop the mattress in the disposal bag before the driver arrives. 😅

Some retailers request the mattress is bagged before the driver arrives for hygiene reasons.

This is more important now more than ever since the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the best safety precautions are taken. ✔️

Follow these steps:

  1. Open up the bag and tuck it under each bottom corner of the mattress.
  2. Next, pull the bag around the side of the mattress as much as you can.
  3. When the bag is about halfway on, stand the mattress up and pull the rest of the bag up around the mattress.
  4. Secure the bag by taping up the opening with duct tape.

A mattress disposal bag is also a great way to transport your mattress!

If you’re moving or giving your mattress to a family or friend, consider buying a mattress disposal bag.

This will help keep the mattress protected during transportation and make it easier to move as you can slide it up and down the stairs. 🤗

How not to dispose of your old mattress

You should follow any of the above recommendations for getting rid of your old mattress. 👍

These are the safest and most convenient ways of getting rid of your old mattress.

But how should you NOT get rid of your old mattress? 👇


Fly-tipping [9] is defined as depositing waste illegally.

This includes leaving your mattress on the curbside, road, or other unauthorised areas. 😮

This makes the area look unsightly, but it can also be hazardous to the public and harmful to the environment.

Between 2018 - 2019, over 1 million [10] instances of fly-tipping were reported in the UK.

what not to do with your old mattress
Fly-tipping is illegal in the UK.

If you are caught fly-tipping, you can receive a fine of up to £50,000 from local authorities and a 5-year prison sentence. 👮

Burn your old mattress

It may seem obvious, but you should never burn your mattress as a way of disposing of it. 🔥

It’s illegal to burn material that has been treated with chemicals and can create harmful fumes which are dangerous for the environment.

💡 Did you know bonfire night creates more air pollution than all UK waste incinerators put together?

Burning mattresses are regarded as the same or similar offence as fly-tipping and can include hefty fines of up to £50,000. 😱

Sell a second-hand mattress as new

Although it’s technically not illegal to sell a used mattress, we discourage you from selling a mattress over 7 years old. 🤢

A well-used mattress will be unhygienic and not offer the same support as a new mattress.

If you are thinking about selling your mattress, you must also be transparent about how long it has been used and any stains or other damage it includes.

You can sell a used mattress online, but it’s better to look into selling locally to family, friends, or local pages first to avoid hefty shipping charges. 💰

The final steps

So we’ve covered all the dos and don’ts of how to dispose of a mattress. 🙌

If you’ve decided how to get rid of your old mattress and now you need a new one, check out some of our best mattress reviews.

Our favourites include:

These mattresses also include a mattress disposal service that you can add to the basket before you checkout. 👇

Frequently asked questions


Holly Matthews

Senior Content Writer

Holly has been a content writer at Sleep Hero UK since 2021. With an MA degree in literature and previous experience working at a leading UK bed retailer, she is committed to using her skills to guide others towards making better sleep choices.

Was this article helpful?
Please fill out

Great! Do you have any questions or feedback? We'd love to hear from you.

What would have made it better?

You may also be interested in:

    Yes, please!
    No, thank you. Take me to the UK site.

    We have an affiliate relationship with some manufacturers, where we receive a commission on sales if you click over from our site. This does not affect the purchasing price. In contrast: By using our discount codes, you'll get the best deal possible.