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Can You Throw a Mattress in a Dumpster?

Whether you're replacing an aged mattress, dealing with an inherited old one, or simply helping someone clear out their space, disposing of mattresses and box springs can be a tricky task. In many places, simply tossing these bulky items in a dumpster isn't an option due to local regulations and environmental concerns.

This guide aims to provide you with essential information on how to responsibly and effectively handle mattress disposal. Our team at Brackenbox will cover the do's and don'ts, alternative disposal methods, and resources to make the process as smooth as possible for you. With the right approach, disposing of your old mattress and box spring can be a hassle-free experience.


What Is the Fate of Old Mattresses?

As mattresses age, their performance deteriorates, and eventually, they need to be replaced. The lifespan of a mattress, typically ranging from seven to 10 years, depends on factors like type, quality, and the user's weight and sleep habits. While there's no definitive timeline for replacing a mattress, certain indicators suggest it's time for a new one:

  • Discomfort while sleeping.
  • Permanent indentations, sagging, or worn edges.
  • The mattress feels too hard or soft.
  • Better sleep quality elsewhere, like in hotels.
  • Presence of lumps in the mattress.
  • Worsened allergies or asthma symptoms.
  • Changes in your life, such as pregnancy, injury, or weight changes.
  • Presence of bed bugs.
  • Change in sleeping partner.
  • Mattress age exceeding 10 years.

Recognizing these signs might prompt you to purchase a new mattress. However, the disposal of the used mattress becomes an important consideration. With 45% of new mattress purchases made online, many of which don't include old mattress disposal, and in-store purchases often lacking removal services, finding a way to responsibly dispose of your old mattress is essential.

mattress disposal

Options for Disposing of Your Mattress

Let's delve into the best practices for mattress removal to make sure you can do so in an environmentally conscious manner.

#1. Rent a Roll-Off Dumpster

When you're embarking on a larger cleanout project and need to dispose of various items including an old mattress, renting a roll-off dumpster is an efficient choice. This method allows you to gather and dispose of your mattress, box spring, and other unwanted items simultaneously. With a dumpster conveniently located on your property, you can take your time to fill it up at your own pace, making it ideal for weekend projects or longer cleanouts.


  • Simplified Process: The dumpster is delivered to your location so you won’t have to travel.
  • Scheduled Disposal: You have a set timeframe for filling the dumpster to ensure prompt and organized removal of your items.
  • Combined Disposal: Ideal for disposing of not just mattresses and box springs, but also other household clutter in one go.

#2. Consult Your Local Garbage Collection Service for Mattress Disposal

Getting rid of a mattress using your local trash collection service can be a practical solution. In many areas, municipal services offer mattress removal as part of their regular waste collection routine or during special bulk pickup days. We encourage you to contact your local waste management or recycling service to confirm if they provide this service in your area and to understand the preparation requirements for mattress pickup.


  • Cost-Effective: Often a low-cost or free disposal option.
  • Minimal Effort: Simple process with little additional work required.
  • Ideal for Single Items: Perfect if you're only discarding one mattress without other household junk.

#3. Opt for a Professional Junk Removal Company

Opt for a Professional Junk Removal Company

These companies will visit your location and take away your mattress along with any additional junk. The pricing for this service is typically determined on-site based on the space your items occupy in their truck. It's important to be available during the scheduled two-hour window they provide for pickup.

  • Scheduled Pickup: Ensures a timely and organized removal of your old mattress.
  • Convenience: The company handles the heavy lifting and transportation of the mattress.
  • Effortless Process: No need for you to do any heavy lifting, as the service takes care of all the physical work involved.

What Is the Cost Range for Mattress Removal Services?

The price of mattress removal can vary greatly, generally falling between $10 and $700. This cost fluctuates based on several factors, including how many mattresses you need to dispose of, their sizes, the chosen removal service, and your specific location.

For a standard junk hauling service, the average fee is about $297. This service typically includes the removal of up to 9 cubic yards of junk, equivalent to the load of three pickup trucks, which is sufficient for most mattress disposal needs.

If you're dealing with multiple mattresses or a combination of a mattress and other household debris, renting a dumpster is often the most budget-friendly option. The average rental cost for a 20-yard dumpster is around $450. This size can handle a significantly larger amount of waste, easily accommodating multiple mattresses and box springs.

Method of Disposal Estimated Cost
20 Yard Dumpster Rental Costs Average Cost: $450 (Range: $264 to $687)
Junk Removal Service Fees Typical Pricing: $275 for a quarter bedload, up to $600 for a full bedload
Self-Disposal Expenses for a Mattress Average Landfill Fees: $10 to $50 per mattress (Excluding truck rental, fuel, and personal time costs)
Recycling Service Charges for Mattresses Average Recycling Fee: $20 to $40 per mattress in most regions

Exploring Mattress Recycling Alternatives

Are you considering eco-friendly options for disposing of your old mattress? Mattress recycling is a sustainable choice, diverting your mattress from landfills and making good use of its many reusable materials. Here's a look at some effective options available:

Adhering to Regional Recycling Programs

In some states, the Mattress Recycling Council oversees a mandated recycling program. The cost of recycling a mattress here ranges from $10 to $17. You can either arrange for the retailer to collect your old mattress upon delivery of a new one or personally take it to a certified recycling facility.

Locating a Nearby Recycling Facility

Beyond these states, over 20 other U.S. states have at least one mattress recycling center. Resources like PlushBeds' recycling guide can help you find a local recycling center, although fees may apply.

Utilizing Retailer Take-Back Services

When purchasing a new mattress, see if the retailer offers a service to take away and recycle your old mattress. This convenient option is widely available but might include a nominal fee.

Recycling is a valuable alternative to landfill disposal. The Mattress Recycling Council highlights that over 75% of a mattress's components, including memory foam padding, fabric coverings, steel springs, and wooden frames, can be recycled. Local recycling centers often deconstruct mattresses into their core components for recycling

Options for Donating Your Mattress

Options for Donating Your Mattress

If your mattress is in good condition and you're upgrading to a new one, consider donating it instead of throwing it away. A gently used mattress, especially one that's less than 5 to 7 years old without any major damage like rips, stains, or frayed edges, can be a valuable addition to someone else's home.

Rehoming to Friends or Family

Check with relatives and friends who might need an extra mattress or want to upgrade their current bedroom furniture. If your mattress is in good shape, this is an effective way to reduce waste.

Nonprofit Donations

Numerous nonprofit organizations and community centers accept mattress donations. These groups often offer services to remove mattresses from your home, making the process convenient. For example:

  • Salvation Army: Provides options for both mattress drop-off and pickup.
  • Furniture Bank Association of America: Accepts drop-offs and may offer pickup services.
  • Other places like local places of worship, charities, and shelters typically require you to drop off the mattress.

Community Offerings

Platforms like NextDoor or Facebook Marketplace allow you to list your mattress for free. Ensure to provide honest descriptions and photos, and consider using a plastic mattress bag for protection.

Despite these options, it's important to note that many organizations are increasingly cautious about accepting mattresses due to sanitary concerns, including the risk of bed bugs. Some, like the Salvation Army in certain areas, may no longer accept them. Churches and other community organizations might only accept mattresses on an as-needed basis, and pickup services are not always available.

To navigate this, check out websites like, which might help connect you with charities that still accept mattress donations.

Make a Sustainable Choice: Dispose of Your Mattress Responsibly

As you decide how to dispose of your old mattress, remember it's not just waste; it's full of so many reusable materials like metal springs. Opt for eco-friendly methods to minimize landfill impact.

In the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana, Brackenbox offers a convenient solution with their roll-off dumpster rentals, perfect for mattress disposal alongside other junk. Take a step towards sustainability by responsibly managing your mattress disposal with Brackenbox, and contribute to a greener future. Contact us today to play your part in benefiting both the environment and your community.

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