Image of mattress

What to do with mattresses

07 Jul 21

When it comes to mattresses, a good one can have you feeling like you’re on cloud 9. 

So, when it’s time to think about a new mattress you’d be forgiven for being more preoccupied with how many springs are in a pocket or picking between memory foam and gel rather than what to do with your old one. 

But the reality is that we get rid of a staggering 600,000 mattresses each year in Scotland with less than one in ten of those are being collected for recycling. Mattresses are often flytipped and can cause all sorts of problems when sent to landfill, not to mention wasting the resources that went into producing them in the first place. 

So what can you do to sleep soundly in the knowledge that your old mattress isn’t piling up the problem?

Household recycling collection

Some councils offer a bulky uplift service but before you pick up the telephone, stop and think. If yours has been built to last and has been well cared for then great! Scroll down to ‘other recycling collections’...

Recycling facilities exist

Household waste recycling centre (HWRC)

Mattresses can be recycled at many household waste recycling centres, but check your local council website before visiting. 

Recycling facilities exist

Other recycling collections

Check out our Reuse Tool to find a local reuse organisation that collects mattresses. The local reuse organisations listed are usually social enterprises and charities which sell furniture in their second-hand stores to raise money for their charity work, or to help people on low incomes to set up home.  

Mattresses can be donated to a charity shop, a furniture reuse organisation or local community project. Some mattress retailers have already teamed up with charities to help find the next home for used mattresses. Remember to keep the fire safety label on your mattress, otherwise charities and reuse organisations can’t sell them on. 

Businesses such as Scotland-based Kingsize Mattress Recycling and Hamilton Waste or UK-wide will collect your mattress for a fee and use the separate parts to recycle it into new products. also collect bed frames and headboards.

If your mattress is in good condition, you can pass them on for free on websites such as Freecycle or sell on websites like eBay or Gumtree.

Recycling facilities exist

Tips for keeping the bounce in your bed

  1. Flip (double sided mattresses only) and rotate regularly to keep an even distribution of weight over time.

  2. Use a mattress protector to keep your mattress stain free and fresh for longer and a mattress topper to hide any lumps and bumps.

  3. Air your mattress regularly to keep it fresh and gently vacuum with a brush fitting from time to time to keep it clean and free of dust.

  4. Fun as it is to jump on the bed (let’s face it most of us have tried it), try to keep kids and pets from any mattress acrobatics as it can cause damage and lose support faster.

  5. Don’t sit on the edge of the bed regularly and never bend or roll your mattress - it could easily cause permanent damage.

  6. Keep any permanent labels attached - removing them could make it impossible to pass on when you no longer want it.

Buying a new mattress?

Always ask the retailer if they can take away your old mattress for recycling when delivering your new one.

Also, do some homework first to find out what mattress companies are doing when it comes to the sustainability of their mattresses. Things to find out include whether the materials being used to make the mattress can be recycled or how eco-friendly it is. 

Being more in-the-know about the mattress you are looking to buy can help to reduce the amount of waste created at the end of its life.

What are we doing to help?

Zero Waste Scotland has teamed up with the National Bed Federation to work together on a research project to increase mattress recycling and encourage producers to design mattresses that last longer, are easier to repair and are recyclable when they’ve had their last sleep.

For  further tips and advice about buying or caring for your mattress, visit

Recycling is constantly evolving and changing so check back for updates or try our recycling locator to find out what you can recycle at home and where you can recycle or pass on unwanted items in your local area.