5 Tips: How To Recycle Your Mattress On A Budget
Sometimes, we need an affordable way to join in the recycling movement. Recycling can get expensive really fast, especially if you’re looking at hauling away a truck-load of junk. With the cost of fuel rising and standard of living increasing, it’s no surprise that junk removal can be quite costly to the average Canadian. In other cases, we all want to search for affordable solutions. Whether you’re moving or replacing old furniture and mattresses, the last thing you want is a massive bill for a removal.
Therefore, we’ve put together some cost-effective ways to recycle your large items, namely mattresses, on a budget.
We’re here to demystify the idea that it can be costly to recycle your large items! Because, as we’ve researched, there are several ways to keep costs down, while improving your environmental footprint. Some of these tips may not work for everyone, but they are a good starting place for your own research.
1. Transport the mattress yourself
Transporting your large items yourself may be cost-effective, especially if you have a pickup truck or can access one. Even renting a U-Haul may be more affordable than booking an entire truck for your junk. This is the case when you have a few items here and there to recycle.
Pay attention to the special levies and fees associated with the item you’re disposing of. Landfills may charge extra for specific loads, and recycling facilities may slap on extra charges. Be sure to call in advance to get a full quote. It’s never a good feeling to see hidden fees on your receipt.
At the same time, certain recycling facilities also give discounts when you bring your item in yourself to their loading bay. At our facility, for example, we include the GST in drop-offs received at our bay. In comparison, we tack on GST on all residential pickups.
2. Ask a friend or family member for a favour
If transportation is an issue, we recommend asking a friend or family member first if they have a vehicle you can borrow. Alternatively, if you can’t drive for whatever reason, or lift a heavy item into the back of a truck, ask your family members to help you out. You can also ask a neighbour if they’re willing. As a thank you, think about inviting them over for a drink or two or bake them some cookies for their time.
Often, recycling facilities have the same operating hours as landfill sites. Depending on your proximity to a recycling center, you might consider going the extra mile (literally) to dispose of your old mattress properly.
3. Compare pickup prices
If these options don’t work for you, then perhaps you’ll need to look into pickup services.
Not all private mattress pickup services cost the same. Remember to get quotes from multiple companies. Make sure to be clear what you’re trying to recycle, ask about hidden fees, and choose the company that is the most transparent and cost-effective. Choosing between services can be as simple as figuring out what times they can pickup, if you need to be around, or if they are reputable.
For example, when you book a pickup with our company Canadian Mattress Recycling, we ask for details about how many pieces you are going to recycle. We charge recycling rates by item, not by weight, so this may be affordable for smaller loads. Yet, we consider a mattress and box spring to be two separate items, since it takes two different processes to recycle them in our facility. Therefore, the pickup fee may change.
If you’re looking to haul away multiple items, consider both junk removal companies and recycling pickup services. Doing your research can reduce headaches in the long-run.
4. Look into producer take-back programs
IKEA is well known for its mattress take-back program, where it will take back any* mattresses regardless of brand if you buy a new mattress from them. After buying a new mattress, and paying delivery fees, they will bring your new mattress into your house, and take the old one away.
5. Take advantage of your city’s large item pickup programs and events
If these options don’t work for you, consider taking a look at your city’s large item pickup programs.
Surprisingly, some people don’t know these exist!
Certain cities cover the cost of disposing of large items. When you give your mattress to your city, for example, they bring these to the landfill site or recycling facility to be disassembled.
Most of these programs come with clear requirements on how to place, wrap, and prepare your mattresses for removal.
Remember that mattresses infested with bed bugs may be treated differently, so make sure to call the city’s garbage and recycling department to confirm the process.
Large item programs differ from city to city. The City of Surrey, for example, allows up to 4 large items, including mattresses, to be picked up from a household per calendar year. Anything exceeding the four items come at a cost or need to be disposed of through a private service.
However, the City of Burnaby has no limit on how many large items you can dispose of through their large item pickup program. The caveat is, that you have to book ahead of time and follow their instructions to ensure your mattresses are picked up.
Bonus Tip #6: Check if there’s a junk drop off event near you.
At certain times throughout the year, cities may decide to host waste and recycling drop off events. These events promote recycling, and you can find staff available to haul your old mattress from your truck to their service vehicles, which will be taken to the landfill or recycling facility. You just need to be able to bring your mattress there, and they will take care of the rest.
Example: City of Surrey’s Pop Up Junk Drop Information
The benefit of these events is that they often take items free of charge.
However, some of these events limit how many large items you can bring, or what you can bring in general. Your item may be rejected if they do not fall into the correct categories, so be sure to read the event details carefully or call in advance to save yourself a trip.
Most of these events require you to show proof of residence in the city and limit the drop-off to residents only.
The best way to stay updated about these kinds of events is to follow your municipality on Twitter or Facebook, or if they have newsletters, subscribe to them! You may also find information at community centers or libraries depending on the city.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can I just donate my old mattress to a second-hand store?
We get this question a lot – and unfortunately, we have to say ‘no’. Due to sanitary reasons, and the difficulties in cleaning an old mattress for reselling, many organizations and reuse stores do not accept mattresses. Even if they do collect them, they throw the mattresses into landfills or arrange a pickup with a mattress recycler.
Old mattresses can be unsanitary, mouldy, and/or contain bed bugs and other pests that these businesses and charities do not want to deal with.
Can I donate my furniture to a store?
Yes, furniture is a different story compared to mattresses. There are organizations around that take furniture donations, and refinish them to sell in their restores. Habitat for Humanity comes to mind. These furniture end up in someone’s home, instead of the landfill.
Can I just leave a mattress on the side of the road / in an alley? Someone put one there before and the next day it was gone!
We do not recommend dumping mattresses in this manner! This is considered illegal dumping and you can be fined, if caught. Even if you’re not caught, randomly dumping mattresses can attract pests or cause the spread of pests, if your mattress has bed bugs. This is a massive sanitary issue, therefore we recommend you follow the correct procedures to dispose of your mattress.
A common thought is that, if you see someone illegally dump a mattress, and it disappears the next day, that someone must have taken it to use, right?
On the contrary to popular belief, these mattresses are rarely “picked up” by someone looking for them. Most people do not pick up mattresses or furniture off the streets due to concerns of pests. Similarly, if it rains overnight, then the mattress cannot be used anymore.
In reality, when illegally dumped mattresses are spotted by residents, city staff are called in to haul them away to the landfill. So if you illegally dump a mattress, and it vanishes the next day, it’s not because someone has taken it to use. It’s because the city has come by to clean up your mess.
We hope that this blog post is helpful in your spring cleaning efforts this year. When we all do our part to dispose of our junk responsibly, it keeps our city streets clean, and our environment greener. We end up reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and diverting waste from landfills. Sometimes recycling mattresses can seem a daunting task, especially if you’re on a budget. We hope that this blog gives you ideas on how to recycle them. From taking advantage of city drop-off events to using their large item disposal program, there are many ways to keep costs down while you go about your cleaning!
Canadian Mattress Recycling Inc. is Metro Vancouver’s only mattress recycling facility, located on Annacis Island. We work with cities and community partners to divert mattresses from landfills. We recycle over 95% of every mattress we receive through our doors. Since 2011, we’ve recycled over 25 million lbs of mattresses and supported over 90+ community organizations around the world. Join in our conversation on Twitter and Facebook!