Photo courtesy of UTEC Mattress Recycling.

Many hotels, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, and multifamily properties end up with used mattresses that need to be removed. There is a growing infrastructure for mattress recycling in Massachusetts and mattresses contain many recyclable materials with established markets. Because of their bulky size, mattresses can be challenging for haulers and disposal sites to manage. Working with a dedicated mattress recycler is a preferable option. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan also proposes adding mattresses to list of materials that are banned from disposal. Read on to learn more about how to set up a mattress recycling program at your facility.

Donating Mattresses for Reuse

Mattresses in very good condition may be donated through some local, national, or international programs. Visit the Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory or RecyclingWorks Find-a-Recycler tool to find local outlets for reuse. Check with each donation outlet about specifications.

How to Recycle Mattresses

Mattresses must meet the following criteria in order to be recycled:

  • Constructed out of metal, textiles, wood, and foam
  • Dry and free of mold

Futons, air mattresses, mattress pads and toppers, and water beds are not typically accepted for recycling by mattress recyclers.

Organizations that generate large quantities of mattresses should work with a mattress recycler to site either a temporary or year-round collection location. Mattresses should be collected in a dry, covered storage location with side-door access, such as a storage unit, trailer, or warehouse space to minimize exposure to weather. Collecting mattresses in any kind of open-top dumpster, even if loosely covered with a tarp, is not recommended.

When compared to the cost of disposal, there may be savings when recycling mattresses as a separate stream because many trash haulers will charge an additional handling fee when manually separating out mattresses from other waste.

Use the RecyclingWorks Find-a-Recycler tool to find mattress recyclers in your area. State facilities should work with one of the mattress recycling vendors listed on the FAC90 statewide contract.

How are mattresses recycled?

Once the mattresses arrive at a processing facility, they are typically inspected and treated for bed bugs. Clean mattresses are cut open and deconstructed through manual and mechanical processes. The material components – scrap metal, foam, fabrics/textiles, and wood – are separated, compacted, and sent for recycling or repurposed for uses such as industrial padding or creating mulch from shredded wood.

Learn about recycling other materials

For more information on other commonly recycled materials visit these pages:

Additional Resources