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can you put a mattress in a dumpster

Can You Put a Mattress in a Dumpster? Mattress Disposal Guide

When it comes to disposing of an old mattress, many questions arise – “Can you put a mattress in a dumpster? Is it legal or even ethical to do so?” These queries touch upon a crucial topic that’s often overlooked: the impact of improper mattress disposal on our environment. Let’s unpack this issue and explore ways we can mitigate its effects.

Understanding Mattress Disposal

Historically, the disposal of mattresses was as straightforward as dumping them on the curb. With growing awareness about environmental conservation, we have come to realize the severe implications of such actions.

Today, approximately 20 million mattresses end up in landfills annually in the US alone, each taking over a decade to decompose while releasing hazardous chemicals into our environment. The urgency to address this issue is clear.

Can You Put a Mattress in a Dumpster?

The short answer is: it depends. If you’re considering throwing your old mattress into a dumpster, local regulations and your dumpster rental company’s policies play a key role.

While some cities allow for mattress disposal in dumpsters, others prohibit it, primarily due to their bulky nature and potential to occupy excessive landfill space. Ignorance or non-compliance with these rules can result in legal ramifications.

Regulations Surrounding Mattress Disposal

Disposal regulations vary from federal, state, and local levels. Some areas impose hefty fines for improper disposal, while others encourage residents to take advantage of designated facilities for recycling. Recognizing and abiding by these regulations can help us navigate the disposal process responsibly.

Alternative Ways to Dispose of a Mattress

If discarding your mattress in a dumpster is not an option, consider these alternatives:

Mattress Recycling

Recycling a mattress is an environmentally responsible way to dispose of it. When you recycle a mattress, the process can reclaim up to 90% of its components for reuse.  This is fantastic for reducing waste and conserving valuable resources, including furniture. It also helps prevent the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment.

Local waste management companies or specialized recycling facilities often offer this service, making it relatively convenient for you to participate in the recycling effort. They have the expertise and tools to disassemble the mattress, separate its various materials like foam, metal springs, and fabric, and then process them for reuse in other products.

mattress recycle

By choosing mattress recycling, you actively contribute to sustainability and help minimize the burden on landfills.

Mattress Donation

If your mattress is still in good condition and can be used by someone else, donating it is a wonderful option. There are organizations like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity that gladly accept donated mattresses, ensuring they find a new home instead of ending up in a landfill.

When you donate a mattress, you directly contribute to helping individuals or families in need. Not everyone can afford a brand new mattress, and your donation can significantly improve someone’s quality of sleep.

Before donating, ensure that the mattress meets the organization’s guidelines for cleanliness and safety. They usually have specific requirements for the items they accept.

Selling Used Mattresses

If your mattress is still in reasonably good condition, you might consider selling it through online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

These platforms allow you to connect with potential buyers in your local area who might be interested in purchasing a second-hand mattress at a more affordable price. When listing your used mattress for sale, make sure to provide honest and detailed information about its condition and age.

Be transparent about any wear and tear, stains, or other relevant details to manage buyers’ expectations. Selling a used mattress not only helps you recoup some of your investment but also extends its lifespan.

Mattress Disposal Services

Professional mattress disposal services are available through various companies, offering a convenient and responsible solution for getting rid of your old mattress. These services typically involve doorstep pickup, where they will come to your location to remove the mattress for you.

mattress disposal

One of the key benefits of these services is that they ensure the mattress is disposed of or recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. When considering these services, it’s essential to compare the costs, read customer reviews, and understand their disposal processes. This way, you will find the most suitable option for your needs.

By utilizing these mattress disposal services, you can save time and effort while also contributing to sustainable waste management practices.

Dumpster Rental for Mattress Disposal

Renting a roll-off dumpster can be a great solution for mattress disposal, especially if you have additional junk to get rid of. There are several companies that offer dumpster rental services, so it’s worth considering this option. Just remember to inquire about their mattress disposal policies to avoid any surprise fees or complications during the process.

Practical Tips for Mattress Disposal

Here are some tips for effective mattress disposal:


Before disposing of your mattress, take the time to wrap it in plastic or use a mattress bag. This extra step helps to prevent the spread of pests and keeps the mattress clean during transportation.

Additionally, using a mattress bag ensures that the materials are contained and can be disposed of properly.

Consider disposal during purchase

When purchasing a new mattress, inquire with the retailer about mattress removal services. Some companies offer this option as part of their delivery service, saving you the hassle of finding an appropriate disposal method. Opting for such services can ensure that your old mattress and furniture is handled responsibly and sustainably.

Local Waste Management

Contact your local waste management or sanitation department to inquire about their mattress disposal policies. Many cities have specific guidelines for large item disposal, including mattresses. They may have designated drop-off locations or scheduled pick-up services for bulk items.

Disassemble if Possible

Before disposing of your mattress, wrap it securely in plastic or use a mattress bag to prevent pests and minimize the spread of trash materials. Additionally, using a mattress bag ensures that the materials are contained and can be disposed of properly, reducing the potential exposure to harmful chemicals.

If your mattress can be disassembled, consider separating the components for recycling or disposal. Some parts, like metal box springs or foam, might be recyclable separately.

The Future of Mattress Disposal

The future of mattress disposal looks promising with innovative, eco-friendly designs making their way into the market. Future regulations may mandate recycling, especially as landfills run out of space. Additionally, various research and development initiatives aim to create sustainable solutions for mattress disposal.

Collaborative efforts involving government agencies, waste management companies, and environmental organizations are working on pilot projects. They test new recycling technologies and address the challenge of hazardous waste generated by old mattresses. As these projects progress and gain support, we can expect more efficient and environmentally responsible methods for mattress disposal in the future.


The issue of mattress disposal extends beyond a simple trip to the dumpster. It’s a matter that impacts our environment significantly. By being informed and making responsible decisions, we can contribute to environmental sustainability in a big way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you recycle a mattress?

Yes, most parts of a mattress can be recycled at a dedicated recycling facility.

How much does it cost to dispose of a mattress?

Costs vary based on your location and method of disposal. Check with your local waste management service or mattress removal companies for specific pricing.

Can a mattress be donated?

Yes, if your mattress is in good condition, many charities will happily accept it.

What happens if you illegally dump a mattress?

Illegal dumping can lead to significant fines, depending on local regulations.

Can you put a mattress in a dumpster?

While it’s physically possible, it may not be legal or ethical, depending on local regulations and the potential environmental impact.

Can I put my mattress next to the dumpster?

It depends on the regulations and policies of your specific location. Some areas may allow mattress disposal next to dumpsters, while others may have restrictions or require a different disposal method.