A very large pile of old mattresses waiting to be recycled

Where do old mattresses go?

September 29, 2020

Author: Josie Sivigny

We’ve all driven by the sad, lumpy, dingy mattress set sitting on the side of the road and wondered about its fate. Is this really all there is for our worn out mattresses? According to Cascade Alliance’s 2017 report The State of the Mattress Recycling Industry, an estimated 55,000 mattresses end up in landfills every single day, despite 80% of mattress materials being reusable. Isn’t there something that can be done to prevent those mattresses from sitting in a landfill until the end of time?

There is something that can be done, as it turns out, and at Tuft & Needle we try to take every step we can to prevent a mattress from ending up at the dump. Their size and construction pose a huge issue when it comes to disposal, but we’ve found a few solutions that create win-wins for everyone.

We try to donate wherever we can

The biggest chunk of our mattresses actually get donated. Instead of asking customers to send their mattresses back or dispose of them, we let our customers give their Tuft & Needle mattress to people in their own communities that need something to sleep on. We’ve found that there are plenty of organizations that need mattresses for shelters, or are able to distribute them to homes in need. Our CX team has done a great job of collecting contact info for nonprofits in most major cities and are always willing to help find someone or somewhere to take an unwanted mattress.

If we can’t find a nonprofit in your area, we’ve found that most people know someone in their social circle that needs a little help. We’re always happy to allow for a donation to an individual in those circumstances, and have a great process for completing those returns.

We partner with removal services that recycle

When we aren’t able to donate returns or exchanges directly to your community, we work with junk removal services that generally recycle mattresses into carpet padding and insulation. Metal from springs can be recycled as well, and there are mattress recycling companies like Second Chance Recycling in Minnesota that process up to 300 mattresses a day.

Picture of a mattress recycling company and all the mattresses they have out in front of it

We work with state recycling programs

You might see a recycling fee on your receipt when you buy a Tuft & Needle, or any other mattress depending on what state you live in. States like California and Rhode Island have adopted programs that aim to prevent as many mattresses as possible from sitting in a dump. These fees go to the state’s recycling program, which sets up recycling centers to help strip and resell materials to other industries. These programs help recycle more than 1 million mattresses every year.

By working together, we can make sure that we’re keeping as many mattresses in homes that need them as possible, without sticking you with a mattress that isn’t working out. We’re proud to donate 95% of our returns—and the 5% we can’t rehome, we try our best to make sure they go to use!

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