When it comes to disposing of a mattress and a box spring or divan bed, most of us think of two main options: rubbish or recycling. But although these options exist, how can you be sure either of them mean responsible disposal?Waste waysThere are two main waste disposal options available in most areas of the UK:
- Landfill disposal: taking your box bed and mattress to the nearest landfill site means your items can be dumped, literally into the ground, where the majority of the bed will not biodegrade and will become one of the 7.5 million beds dumped as waste each year in the UK. With the majority of the bed parts, such as the box springs, being non-biodegradable or causing environmental problems (for example the mattress and box fabrics leaching fire- retardant chemicals into the ground), landfill is a place where old beds damage rather than contribute to the environment.
- Council Collection: Council collection is a popular choice in most areas. However, there is a significant charge which can vary considerably across the different UK councils (eg: Aylesbury Vale District Council, £75 for up to 3 items; North Somerset Council, £66.50 for a maximum of 6 items; Bristol City Warwick City Council £35 per item). This option can work out both expensive and inconvenient for some households:
Recycling routesThere are many ways to recycle a bed, but some may also prove costly or lead to irresponsible disposal later down the line.
- Selling online.
To sell the bed online it has to be in an acceptably good, clean condition. This could involve the costs of having the mattress professionally cleaned, which may mean it’s not worth selling the bed.
- Selling online.
Donating goods can popularly be done through several online, in-print and in person methods:
- Taking it to a recycling centre.
Although this is a good option for responsible bed disposal, not all local recycling centres are set up for mattress recycling, so it is a good idea to check before setting out. To recycle this way, the hassle of loading and making the journey to transport the bed will be down to you and, as the nearest dedicated bed and mattress recycling centre may be some distance away, the cost and hassle of transporting need to be taken into account.
- Taking it to a recycling centre.
- Private collection.
There are private collection companies whose role is to collect and dispose of beds ethically. However, care should be taken to avoid rogue companies who may charge a fee to ‘recycle’ the item, but who may actually fly tip the item instead of responsibly recycling it.
To avoid this, it’s recommended that a professionally recognised company should be used, not an unlicensed ‘cash only’ collection service. Using a licensed company such as Collect Your Old Bed, offers the assurance of a fully professional service for convenient collection and removal of the bed from your home, with assured delivery to a dedicated mattress recycling centre where the box base and mattress will be 100% recycled.
The bottom line of disposing of a mattress and box spring is to remember that although it may no longer be useful to your household, and languishing in landfill is no use to the environment, it is still useful – either to another household or to environmental causes, by being responsibly recycled
The new bed has arrived and you’re keen to dispose of your old mattress responsibly… but what are your options for ensuring that your mattress can be reused or recycled? After all, you don’t want to be contributing to the mountain of mattresses languishing in landfill, which receives 73% of the 5.9 million mattresses which are replaced in the UK each year (based on average figures from 2014*).
Reuse, not refuse
Rather than dumping a mattress at the local landfill, research locally for a charity or furniture re-use service, who would appreciate the use of your unwanted bed / mattress. To do this though, the bed and mattress need to be in a good, usable condition. The mattress particularly needs to be clean, without stains or rips, and must carry a fire safety label. The British Heart Foundation’s furniture donation service offers some good information about the requirement of fire safety labels.If your bed’s safety label has been removed, it doesn’t meet the required standards, or there’s no charity locally which is taking beds and mattresses, then the online re-use groups Freegle and Freecycle often post requests from families looking for beds. Alternatively, once you’ve joined your local online group, you could offer your bed as free for collection. In this case, it is always worth listing your bed as ‘collection only’ if you do not have transport, otherwise many of the replies you received will be requesting you to deliver the mattress for free, something not everyone is able to do.
Recycling your mattress responsibly is another option which many households explore and there are several ways to achieve this:
- Local council recycling centres
- Local Authority collection services for bulky items
- Private collection services
- There are now a considerable number of companies in the UK offering private collection and mattress disposal services. However, when choosing a private collection service it’s vital to ensure that the company you’re hiring is licensed, reputable and professional. Ask to see relevant licences to help you identify the type of recycling on offer and to ensure that you’re not just paying someone who will ultimately end up fly-tipping your mattress as soon as they have driven away with your mattress (and your cash).
Reputable companies such as Collect Your Old Bed offer easy and convenient services both for arranging and then collecting your mattresses. Arranging the service just requires completing a three-step online process, which allows you to choose a convenient collection date. On the day of collection, the Collect Your Old Bed team will collect the mattress from inside the house if required, bringing you convenience, as well as a full guarantee of 100% recycling for your mattress disposal.