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Here's Everything You Need To Know About Getting Rid Of An Old Mattress

No, you can't just abandon it on the sidewalk.

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There is going to come a time in your life when you'll need to ditch a mattress. Perhaps you're moving in with someone and no longer need it, or maybe time has run its course and you've upgraded to a new one. Or, IDK, maybe you had an unfortunate blood spill all over your current mattress and you need to get rid of it ASAP. Whatever it is, I'm here to tell you that you can't just toss a mattress on the street all willy nilly and call it a day.


I bring this up because I, a good citizen of NYC, almost did that very thing. I had just moved into a new apartment and didn't need my boxspring anymore, but quickly realized my plan to abandon it on the sidewalk would leave me with a fine and some unhappy neighbors. To do my part (and be a respectful resident), I did some research to find out the best way to dispose of my box spring. Well, it turns out, there are so many overwhelming and confusing options.

To save you some time, I compiled my findings into a quick guide that will hopefully give you an option that best fits your lifestyle.

And here it is...

1. Donate it! There are lots of great organizations that will happily accept used mattresses and boxsprings (just make sure to call ahead to ensure that location can take them in).

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Here are a few:

Good Will Industries has tons of drop-off locations that will take in mattresses that are in good shape, so don't throw one away that still has some life in it! (This would not be a good place to get rid of a bloody mattress FYI...)

The Salvation Army will come to YOU and pick up your mattress. Just follow the link, find a local site, and schedule an appointment for pick up.

— You can also call local shelters and charities to see if they are in need of mattresses.

2. Recycle it! Eighty-five to ninety-five percent of a mattress is recyclable, and there are resources you can use to find a local recycling center.

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Did you know that 20 million mattresses are put into landfills every year?! That translates to 450-million pounds of mattress! Or a 100 million cubic feet of landfill space! If this makes you feel anxious in the slightest, check out these sites that can help you find a recycling center:

Earth 911 has tons on information on this, from where to find a location that will recycle your mattress, to how a mattress is recycled.

Sleep On Latex offers an interactive map of places that accept mattresses for recycling.

Bye-Bye Mattress also has a great search engine for finding a local recycling center.


3. Pay someone to pick it up for you.

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Listen, I get it. Getting rid of a mattress and/or boxspring can be time consuming and you might not be in an area or have the best resources to get the job done. In these events, there are plenty of companies that will come pick it up for a fee (roughly around $80-$150 depending on the company location and your location). If you're going this route, it might be worth thinking about other big things you'll want to get rid of in the near future, to make the most of the cost.

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4. Properly throw it away by bagging it, making appropriate appointments and leaving it on the sidewalk, or taking it to a local dump.

There are a few different ways you can do this, and it will vary depending on what city you live in. If you're looking to leave it curbside, I recommend doing a quick search of your city's sanitation laws and how they expect you to leave mattresses/boxsprings outside of your home. But in general, here are some things you can (probably) expect with this process:

— Bigger cities will ONLY collect a mattress or box spring when left on the sidewalk if it's in a bag (this is to keep bed bugs from spreading). You can get these at a home improvement store, or from Amazon for $9.98+.

In NYC, if mattresses aren't in a plastic bag, you can face a $100 fine and can bet that nobody will pick it up. And, I don't know about your neighbors, but mine would not appreciate a dirty mattress outside for days and days because I didn't put in a bag.

— Certain cities require an appointment for mattress pickup. For example, in LA, the Department of Sanitation is responsible for picking up large household items, so you have to notify them if you plan on leaving your mattress outside.

— Smaller cities might not offer sidewalk pickup, and will require you take it to a local dump. If transportation is in an issue, check out where you can hire a worker and truck to take the mattress.

Again, this varies by location so be sure to check out the way your city likes to get shit done.