Use this map to discover how much it will cost to recycle your old mattress

Filed in Recycle by on June 10, 2019 1 Comment
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mattress recyclingThis week I took our neighbour to visit her husband. He’s been in a care home for years as he suffers from dementia.

When I took her in, I couldn’t help noticing a pile of three mattresses by the side of the house. Last month there were two there. The month before, a skip on the drive with about five mattresses piled up. With some residents being doubly incontinent, it’s almost as if mattresses are considered a disposable item.

I’ve also seen mattresses piled up outside a local residential home. I’ve seen them flytipped by the sides of roads, in the forest and in ‘off the beaten path’ fields. If you go to the effort of hauling a mattress into a field, you’d think a quick trip to the Recycling Centre would be easier, surely!

How much do your council charge for mattress recycling?

It reminded me of when I last moved house and how our council would pick up large items from the kerbside for free. They now make a charge of £15, but I recently heard that some local authorities charge a LOT more!

Research by Joy Richards – founder of Happy Beds – showed that we’re facing, what she calls, a ‘Recycling Postcode Lottery’ when disposing of old mattresses. And I’ve put this to the test myself: I live just two miles from a county border. So I pay £15 and my neighbours in a different county pay £20. My Mum, who lives 20 minutes away, under a different council, would have to pay £24.

But that’s not as bad as Joy discovered!

The research reviewed the bulky waste collection services of 378 councils in England, Scotland and Wales. The UK’s most expensive council for disposal of bulky waste, Aylesbury Vale in Buckinghamshire, charges an eye watering £75.

recycle your old mattress - how much does it cost

20 local authorities provide free mattress recycling collections. These include 15 in England and 6 in London: Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Croydon, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Redbridge.

Residents of Eastleigh have to pay £58 to have their mattress picked up and recycled, whereas down the road in Southampton it costs just £10.

Recycle your old mattress

Joy Richards said:

“Recycling old mattresses is an excellent step to reducing a household’s contribution to a growing waste problem, but it’s hard if local authorities are charging nearly as much as a new mattress will cost.

While we do stock thousands of mattresses, our cheapest product is £89.99 – meaning that if someone in Aylesbury Vale bought it and had to recycle theirs, their total outlay would nearly double!”

Mattresses are recyclable

What I didn’t realise is that mattresses, are, in fact recyclable, yet only a small percentage end up where they should. The majority are landfilled, with the remainder incinerated. While a mattress is made up of many parts, they can usually be separated and each component reused. For instance metal springs are melted down top make new building materials, foam makes an effective carpet underlay and wadding can be reused in cushions or other soft furnishings.

Interactive mattress recycling map

Joy has put together a brilliant interactive map, so you can find the best way to recycle your old mattresses. Have a go and let me know how much your local authority charge!

how many mattresses are recycled

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (1)

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  1. Philippa says:

    I think every mattress should be sold with a protective cover. After all who remembers what size their mattress is afterwards? It is harder to buy later because there are so many mattress size names and dimensions.

    This protective covering may not be enough for when the toddler gets into bed with you and wets the bed or you spill a whole cup of coffee or your waters break when you are pregnant and you may want to use something more absorbent. None of these scenarios ones which you would have chosen to happen. There are lots online including washable ones for beds and chairs for incontinence problems.

    Carers I knew said that the cheapest throw away ones were ones from the pet shop for puppy training.

    I don’t know why it took us so long to discover washable toppers – fluffy on one side for when it is cold and smooth on the other for warmer months! Buy these for your children when they leave home. They have moved on a long way from those old plastic or rubber sheets of the past.

    As well as fewer mattresses to dispose of there wouldn’t be quite so many mattress sales either!

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