Shutterstock / Pung
The Seattle Mattress Recycling Conundrum
Seattle, Washington’s largest city by population, has grown exponentially in the past 10 years. In the 2010 official census, Seattle had about 608,000 people living in the city, and by 2019, that number had grown to about 747,000. As with any large city, there will always be tons of people coming and going — whether it means they’re having a family and moving out to the suburbs or starting a new job in the city.
Seattle’s a pretty populated area — in fact, it’s the 18th largest city in the US. With so many people coming and going, you can only imagine what it looks like when the people leaving start to leave the trash behind — including mattresses. Mattresses are one of those items that too many people don’t know what to do with when they’re done with them, but you actually have several options at your disposal. As of now, there are an estimated 40 million mattresses thrown away every year in the U.S. It’s increasingly becoming a problem for landfills and trash services, which is why we want to help you figure out a way to recycle or repurpose your old mattresses.
How To Get Rid Of An Old Mattress
If you got rid of an old mattress recently and just tossed it because you didn’t know any better and thought it was your only option, let us help you find a better solution. The details surrounding how to properly get rid of an old mattress might not have been clear before, but there are multiple ways to do it in Seattle. Ahead, find a complete guide to how to recycle and or repurpose your old mattresses if you live in the Seattle area. This guide will include:
Recycling An Old Mattress
Landfills in the Seattle area are packed with mattresses that people throw out every year. What most people may not realize is that if more mattresses were recycled, not only could it create more jobs in the recycling industry but it would also lessen the impact of greenhouse gases. All from mattresses! Before you put your mattress out at the curb for trash, consider how you could recycle it to help the environment. Even if your mattress is in too bad of shape to be reused by someone else, you can still break it down and recycle the pieces. Metal springs, wood frames, and fabric can all be recycled if you take the bed apart.
However, if you don’t want to rip it apart but still want to recycle, there are plenty of ways to do that in your city. Below, we’ve pulled together an index of resources illustrating the mattress recycling policies in your area so you can keep it out of the landfill. Since each city and county may have different recycling policies, we have broken them down county by county as well as city by city so you will be able to find what you need for where you live.
Recycling Options in the Major Counties
|County Name||Recycling Webpage||Mattress Policy/Process||Contact Information|
|King County||https://kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/solid-waste/programs/linkup/mattresses.aspx||Locations throughout the county accept mattresses for dropoff.Some fees may apply.||Find a recycling location and contact info here.|
|Snohomish County||https://snohomishcountywa.gov/465/Facility-Locations||Take mattresses to one of the transfer stations for recycling.Fees apply.||Find locations and info here.|
|Pierce County||https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/1540/Curbside-Recycling-Garbage-Service||Call ahead to schedule a mattress pickup from your local recycling service in most areas.Take the mattress to a transfer station to be recycled. Fees will apply in most cities.||Find your service provider’s contact information here.|
City by City Mattress Recycling Information
|City||Recycling Webpage||Mattress Policy/Process||Contact Information|
|Arlington||https://www.arlingtonwa.gov/389/Solid-Waste-Recycling-Services||Arlington doesn’t list specific instructions for mattresses, so we suggest you contact officials for instructions.||Call 800-592-9995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Marysville||https://marysvillewa.gov/172/Solid-Waste-Recycling||Marysville is currently not picking up any mattresses for recycling due to COVID, but call to find out when that might change or if there are further instructions.||Call 360-363-8173|
|Everett||https://everettwa.gov/faq.aspx?TID=70||Call ahead to schedule a pickup of your mattress. There will be a fee.||Call 425-257-8700|
|Lynnwood||https://www.lynnwoodwa.gov/Government/Departments/Public-Works/Garbage-and-Recycling/Recycling||Lynnwood doesn’t list specific instructions for mattresses, so call or email to find out exactly what you need to do.||Call 425-670-5262 or email pwrequest@LynnwoodWA.gov|
|Shoreline||https://www.shorelinewa.gov/services/utilities/recycling-guide||Call 206-763-4444 to schedule a mattress pickup. Mattresses must be left at the curb and a fee will apply.||Call 206-763-4444|
|Bothell||http://bothellwa.gov/537/Request-a-Voucher||Bothell’s recycling program does not include mattresses, but you can always call the city to see if there are options.||Call 425-806-6100|
|Kirkland||https://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/Public_Works/solidwaste/singlefamily/Recycle/Mattress_and_Furniture_Disposal.htm||Kirkland offers mattress recycling twice per year during recycling events, usually in May and October.||Call 425-587-3000|
|Redmond||https://www.redmond.gov/389/Garbage-Recycling||Either drop off your mattress at a recycling event or call to schedule a pickup.||Call 1-800-592-9995|
|Bellevue||https://bellevuewa.gov/city-government/departments/utilities/manage-your-utility-services/solid-waste/year-round-recycling-guide-for-unusual-items||Either call to schedule a pickup or drop off the mattress at Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station. Fees apply.||Call 425-452-4762|
|Issaquah||https://www.issaquahwa.gov/369/Garbage-Recycling-Compost||Call ahead to schedule a pickup for your mattress. A fee will apply.||Call 425-837-3000|
|Seattle||https://www.seattle.gov/utilities/your-services/collection-and-disposal/where-does-it-go#/item/mattresses-or-futons||Seattle doesn’t list recycling instructions for mattresses, just disposal.||Call 206-684-3000|
|Renton||https://rentonwa.gov/city_hall/public_works/utility_systems/solid_waste_utility/multifamily/bulky_waste||Renton only lists instructions for disposing of mattresses as waste. Call for recycling instructions.||Call 206-777-6440|
|Kent||https://www.kentwa.gov/services/garbage-recycling-food-and-yard-waste||Kent doesn’t list specific instructions for recycling mattresses, so call to learn more.||Call 253-856-5589|
|Tacoma||https://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=53584||Tacoma does not allow mattresses in regular curbside service. Call ahead to schedule a pickup for no cost or drop off at a transfer station.||Call 253-573-2468|
|Puyallup||https://www.cityofpuyallup.org/212/Garbage-Service-Information||Call ahead to schedule a mattress pickup for recycling or drop it off at a transfer station.||Call 253-414-0345|
If you want to get rid of your gently used mattress but you hate to see it go to waste, consider donating it. You probably have your go-to donation spot for old clothes and home goods, but don’t automatically assume those same places will take mattresses too. In fact, dumping a mattress at a donation center that can’t accept it just places the burden on them, and then they’ll have to pay to dispose of it. So do your research first! Since mattresses can be tricky to get rid of, let us help you figure out the best place to donate them.
There are still options, though! We have suggestions for places you can donate your mattresses, including:
- Salvation Army — Salvation Army is happy to accept mattress donations and you can even schedule a pickup so you don’t have to drop it off.
- St. Francis House — St. Francis is open for mattress drop offs a few hours a day, but it doesn’t hurt to call ahead and double check before hauling your mattress down there.
- Donation Town — If you can’t figure out where to donate your mattress, call Donation Town and let them do the work for you. They’ll pick up your mattress and handle it from there.
- Charity Navigator — And if you’re still stuck after all this, here’s a list of charities you can contact to see if they’ll accept a mattress donation.
The following places will not accept mattresses, and here’s why:
- Goodwill — Goodwill would be responsible for sanitizing a mattress before reselling it, so due to their lack of resources to do so, they’re unable to accept these donations.
- Life Long Thrift — Just like Goodwill, Life Long Thrift also doesn’t resell mattresses for sanitary reasons.
- Habitat For Humanity — Though you can take many of your donations to Habitat For Humanity, you can’t take your mattresses and box springs for the same reasons as above.
- Value Village — Thrift stores like Value Village rely on sanitation and not being able to properly sanitize a mattress before reselling it means they are unable to accept them.
- St. Vincent de Paul — While St. Vincent de Paul sells new mattresses, they don’t accept donated mattresses to resell due to sanitation concerns.
Donating your mattress at one of the places above will end up costing the donation place money in order to have it disposed of.
Sell and/or Trade
Another option for if your mattress is still in good shape is selling it or trading to someone else. There are plenty of websites that will help you do this, but also consider places around your home that have bulletin boards and consider posting a note on it!
As for websites, a great place to start is Facebook. With millions of people on the site, there are countless groups designed for buying, selling, and trading. In the Seattle area, you might have luck with any of the following groups:
- University of Washington Housing, Rooms, Apartments, Sublets
- FREE STUFF!~Thurston County ♡
- Pierce county buy, sell, trade and free stuff
- Pierce County, WA – Buy, Sell – Trade
- 100% FREE, (King/Pierce County)
- Seattle Buy Sell Trade and Yard Sales
- Buy Sell Trade, Seattle Area
- Buy Sell Trade Seattle
- West Seattle — Buy, Sell, Trade
- Everett, Lynnwood, Seattle Buy and Sell
Beyond Facebook, there are still a number of other places to consider selling or trading your mattress. Take a look at any of the following:
- Craigslist — Craigslist is a veritable treasure trove of all the things. Post your mattress on here to sell or give away and set your own rules. If you want someone to come pick it up, pay you in cash, meet at a specific location, etc.
- Nextdoor — Nextdoor is a social media network for your neighborhood, so by posting a message on here, you’ll be reaching out to those who are close enough to easily come and grab your mattress.
- OfferUp — OfferUp is yet another marketplace where you can list your mattress for sale or trade within your local area.
- LetGo — Same with LetGo, you can post your mattress targeted to your area and see if anyone nearby wants to buy it or trade for it.
- Trash Nothing — Trash Nothing is a little bit like all of the above sites. List your mattress and wait for the sale to happen.
If you’re not selling or trading it, but still want to make sure your mattress ends up in a good place, consider donating it to Buy Nothing Project or find someone in your community who needs it. Places like women’s shelters and homeless shelters are a great place to start, but keep in mind people like students and first-time homeowners also might be in need of a gently used mattress. We also recommend you ask around in your own friend circle — you never know who might need something you’re ready to get rid of.
Upcycling Your Old Mattress
Okay, so you have an old mattress that you want to make a fun project out of — let’s do it! You don’t have to toss out a mattress once you’re done sleeping on it. In fact, there are plenty of ways to upcycle a mattress, especially if you’re a fan of DIY projects or you’re just bored right now while you’re staying home during social distancing.
- Turn the mattress into a couch — This one is for a truly dedicated DIYer. By taking apart a mattress and using some tools, you can turn it into a couch. It’ll also require sewing a new covering for the piece of furniture, so if you aren’t someone who sews, team up with a friend who does and build this together. From there, you could keep the couch or even sell it or donate it.
- Build a planter wall — Take the whole mattress or box spring apart so you’re down to just the inner coils. Paint them any color you like and hang the finished piece on a wall to create a living wall full of plants. This one is so easy to do!
- Make a vase — By taking apart the mattress or box spring to get down to the coils, you can pull them apart and craft with each piece. To make a vase, you just need singular coils and once painted, they can hold flowers.
- Make dog beds — Take an old mattress and cut it apart into small mattresses. You know what those small mattresses are perfect for? Dogs! If you don’t have any pups of your own at home, this is a great way to upcycle your mattress and pass it along to someone else.
- Make a wine rack — Break the mattress down to just the springs and you have endless opportunities. One really cool idea is to use it as a wine rack. You can stand the coil base against the wall and use the openings for wine bottles. Just make sure you have the coils bent properly to keep the bottles from falling out.
- Make Christmas decorations — Another way to repurpose the inner springs of a mattress is to make them into Christmas decor. Not sure what the springs could work as? How about little snowmen? The conical shape is perfect for snowmen, they just need to be dressed up a little for the holiday occasion.
- Use the stuffing — When you’re tearing the mattress apart to use for other projects, don’t forget that you can hold onto all the stuffing for other DIY projects later down the line. It’s perfect to stuff pillows, for stuffed animals, and more. Just throw the extra materials in a trash bag, and save it for when you need it.
Disposing of Your Mattress
If none of the options above feel right to you, your last option is to simply dispose of it. But rather than just dumping it somewhere, go about it in the most sustainable way possible. Because mattresses aren’t easy to get rid of, the first thing you can do is break the mattress down yourself. Take the whole thing apart and dispose of it in pieces. As we mentioned before, the metal inside of a mattress or box spring can be recycled.
You can also check with your city to see if they will come pick up the mattress and dispose of it for you. Some areas will charge a fee for this service and many will require advance notice to set it up, but it’s worth looking into. You can also share a Dumpster with someone nearby, especially if you’re doing a big move in or out and know you’ll have some serious trash to get rid of.
If you’ve just purchased a new mattress, you can also check with the place you got it from to see if they offer removal or dropoff of the old mattress. Many of them do, though it might include a fee, but we suggest you ask beforehand. Mattress Firm will remove your old mattress, Casper will deliver your new mattress and take the old one, and so will Saatva.