The last time you bought a mattress, the store probably offered to take your old one away for free. Trouble is, mattresses are hard to dispose of and expensive to recycle. They can’t be compressed easily in landfills, and have to be manually torn apart or put in expensive machines to even partly recycle them. They suggest you look for “green” mattresses online, and take good care of your current one so it will last as long as possible. [Seattle Times]


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  1. thepounder says:

    Interesting… the whole “green” thing has stretched all the way to mattresses.

    Well, one option is to simply see to it that it’s reused; have a yard sale. Does anyone remember that campaign — “Recycle/Reuse”… maybe it’s just me… Anyhow, one person’s trash is another’s treasure and while some folks find a “previously slept-on” mattress gross, some just don’t care because a new mattress that won’t break your back will cost you some hefty coin.
    Best I can recall, I’ve never actually thrown out a mattress and I’ve lived on my own for about 20 years now… a lot of mattresses hauled to my friends’ houses in that time, thus the mattress is spared for longer from being that last piece of garbage on the heap that’d begin the Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505.

    And one final note for anyone taking a mattress from a friend — never, under any circumstances, turn on a black light near your newly acquired used mattress. eeewww.

  2. mopar_man says:

    My wife and I bought a new mattress set about 6 months ago. The city I live in was having a city-wide used goods collection just shortly after. We tossed our old bed outside to be picked up whenever they got around to it. It stayed outside for probably 3 or 4 nights, one night having rained and who knows if a dog/cat peed on it, until it finally disappeared but wasn’t picked up by the city (the rest of the stuff next to it was still there). I could care less about used furniture but used mattresses are one thing I will not go for.

  3. headon says:

    RECYCLE you must be the same people that believe in global warming. I bought a new mattress they took the old one away. I don’t care what they did with it as long as I didn’t have to lug it into my truck and dump it off on the side of the highway at midnight. That takes work. It took me about an hour the last time I had to do it with my old fridge.

  4. foghat81 says:

    @thepounder: like the Idiocracy reference :)

  5. homerjay says:

    Buying a used mattress is NASTY. The only difference between buying someone 10 year old mattress and someones 10 year old underwear is the fact that the mattress is used more often.EEEWWW…

  6. royal72 says:

    screw that recycling crap. first, go make a big pile with your old mattress, yard trimmings, trash, and any other shit you been meaning to get rid of. then you’ll wanna get a few gallons of gas to pour on top and you’re ready to light this bad boy. since you don’t know the scope of the fire, it’s recommended you use a molotov cocktail, thrown from a minimum distance for ignition.

    once incineration is completed (note: this may take a few days depending on the ingredients), your large pile has been reduced to a few shovels full of “recycled” material to easily dispose of via regular trash.

    note: if your hoa and/or your neighbors are nosey, self righteous cunts, you may consider the use of additives and another fuels besides gasoline to reduce smoke.

  7. JayXJ says:

    I’ve bought a couple of used mattreesses. I take the same precautions I do when I buy a used car. I clean it. The carpet shampooer has a hand attachment and a bottle of antibacterial Fabreeze takes care of anything that missed. When you’re dead broke and you need something to sleep on, squeamishness goes out the window.

  8. Mike Panic says:

    The average mattress will double in weight in 10 years due to dust mites. Gross. I bought a new mattress about 18 months ago, foam / latex, no springs. I plan on getting at least 10 years out of it, not sure what to do with it then.

  9. spinachdip says:

    @JayP71: Unfortunately, anti-bacterial Fabreeze does do jack shit for bed bugs, which is all the rage these days.

    I’ve had my bed bug nightmare and once is enough. I don’t care how broke I get, I buy only new mattresses (or for that matter, any fabric-centric furniture).

  10. gibsonic says:

    another way to make your mattress last is to buy a really good one that WILL last for a long time and give you the best night’s sleep…afterall you spend roughly 1/3 of your life on your mattress…it’s well worth the investment to make the other 2/3’s of your life the most rested and healthy it can.

    we shopped around and LOVE our sterns & foster mattress. i should last at least 15 years if not longer. Really thick and comfortable…too bad it’s in storage right now since we are moving :( :( :(

  11. gibsonic says:

    @Mike Panic:

    protect-a-bed covers prevent this and you wash them every other week or so.

  12. Egakino says:

    Meh, just get a water bed. Not hard to compress an empty plastic bag.

  13. @Mike Panic: The article you cite specifically disproves the urban legend that a mattress doubles in weight due to dust mites.

    It’s not true. Do a little more reading or research before spreading this sort of myth, especially on Consumerist.

  14. humphrmi says:

    I consider myself a fairly avid recycler, and I feel I’m owning my fair share of improving the environment. But this sort of thing really amazes me. Don’t throw out your crappy old mattress! Find some schmuck to offload your crusty old crap on! Give me a break, maybe when I was in college, but I’m supposed to go to – what, my office? And ask a bunch of IT managers if they want my old mattress? Yeah, I’ll get right on that, right after I read ROYAL72’s post. Oh, jeez, that old mattress went up in flames, too bad.

    And any mattress shop that doesn’t take my old one doesn’t sell me a new one.

  15. SaraAB87 says:

    The Salvation army, St. Vincent de paul, and people on freecycle or re-use it or a similar group will happily take your old mattress for you. There are always people looking for old mattresses on freecycle… people on there will take anything!

  16. shor0814 says:

    If there is a college nearby, advertise it as free for pickup. College kids will use anything. I helped my stepson move out of his apartment, anything falling apart, broken, and stained was fair game, hardly threw anything away.

  17. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Also: Why do people buy a new box spring? It’s just a frame, nothing to wear out.

  18. FLConsumer says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Why bother with a box spring at all? So many of the ones I’ve taken apart were glorified pieces of plywood.

    I’m personally not a fan of used mattresses, don’t even feel all that comfortable sleeping in hotel beds (I try to ignore the thoughts of bed bugs & the previous guests’ acts of passion that are probably all over the thing). BUT, if someone wants my old one, fine.. We all have different ideas of “clean” and also have differing budgets. I personally would rather sleep on a thick yoga mat than drag someone else’s used mattress into my home, but that’s me.

  19. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    Dust mites in the mattress? ew. Would it be worth it to VACUUM the thing?

  20. Valerae says:

    Considering they only make mattress to last 10 years it’s not surprising disposal is a huge problem. My last one was a cheap Spring Air that gave me one good year and seven years of lumpy misery. I finally threw a bunch of money at the problem and got a Sealy latex mattress. Only had it a month but I love it. It’s supposed to last 20 years, I certainly hope so.

  21. mk says:

    @MalcoveMagnesia: yes, it is recommened that you actually vacuum your matress once a month or so.

  22. Red_Eye says:

    Sorry I call BS on this one. The same technology that can take a car that has been crushed flat in a car crusher and shred it can be applied to shredding a mattress. Its not a matter of difficult its a matter of people and companies are too lazy.