There are lots of ways to recycle your old mattress so the materials can be recovered and used again. Mattresses in good condition can even be cleaned and donated to charities to help them provide low-cost bedding to those in need (always call the charity shop in advance).
How to recycle mattresses
Mattress recyclers are located all around Australia; however, most are in metropolitan areas. Generally, a small fee is associated with these services to cover the costs of recycling or cleaning of the mattress for reuse. The fee will vary depending on the recycler, location, and if the mattress is being picked up or dropped off.
Alternative options include:
- Check with the manufacturer to see if they have a take-back service,
- Buy your new mattress from a retailer that will collect and recycle the old one (visit the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council for a list of retailers that support mattress recycling),
- Contact your council to see if they can collect your mattress or accept it at a transfer station (note: not all councils will recycle mattresses),
- If all else fails, you may have to take your mattress to the local tip.
The Australian Bedding Stewardship Council (ABSC) is working with manufacturers, retailers, and recyclers to move towards a circular economy for mattresses. The program is under development.
The ABSC has approved Soft Landing Mattress Recycling as a trusted recycler. Soft Landing is a social enterprise that collects and manually dismantles mattresses for recycling to keep the maximum amount of waste out of landfill and to create jobs for people experiencing barriers to work. Operating in NSW, ACT, Victoria and WA, the organisation has both pick-up and drop-off recycling services.
Why should I recycle my mattress?
Even though many components of a mattress can be recycled, they are one of the most common items sent to landfill. According to the ABSC, each year in Australia around 1.8 million mattresses are sent to landfill - enough to stretch from Hobart to Darwin if each mattress is placed end-to-end.
By recycling old mattresses, these large and bulky waste items can be diverted from landfill and their components, such as wood, foam, and springs, can be recycled into a number of new products. Recycling mattresses can also help reduce waste handling and landfill costs.
What happens to my mattress when I recycle it?
Many types of spring, foam and ensemble mattresses can be recycled. The mattresses are manually stripped and components are separated for recycling. The timber, wadding, springs, some fabrics and foams, and other materials can be recycled.
- Timber: Recovered timber is processed into woodchips and used in the manufacture of particleboard, animal bedding, or mulch.
- Springs: Steel springs are sent to scrap metal merchants where they are melted down and used in buildings and infrastructure, vehicles, and appliances.
- Foam and wadding: Some types of materials that are inside the mattress can be recycled into carpet underlay.