What do Mattress and Furniture Stores do with Old Mattresses?

Most people have no idea what happens to their old mattress

when their dealer hauls it away or exchanges it under a comfort guarantee. It’s sad but some people could care less what happens to it as long as they don’t have to contend with it. Fortunately for everyone more people are beginning to ask what happens to that old mattress when it leaves my house.

The fact is in most cases stores simply dispose of mattresses where they end up in land fills much to the dismay of the trash haulers. Old mattresses are unsanitary, hard to handle, and do not easily compress or compost. Once in the land fill such things as non biodegradable materials, synthetic fibers, and the large amounts of chemicals used to build them and make them fire retardant could affect our earth leaching out into the ground water.
You might ask “Why not recycle them?” Here several problems come up.

  • First is cost, recycling mattresses is very labor intensive. Much of the work has to be done by hand and where there is equipment to do it, the problem is that it gets very expensive.
  • Second is the cost of transportation to get the mattress to the point of recycling. At this time there are only about 12 recyclers in the U.S and Canada.
    We have been asked if we can resell them and the answer is no! Even if retailers could sell them legally they run the risk of spreading disease, exposing consumers to unsanitary environment, and yes even bed bugs cross contaminating new mattresses. Many people have suggested the issue of cleaning and sanitizing old mattresses so they could be used again through reuse making them a more sustainable product. The extra expensive of time from labor, increased costs of sanitizing, and costs involved to get proper certifications would cause old mattresses to sell for the same prices as some new mattresses.

We’re not saying it’s the best or healthiest decision for mattress seekers, but a large portion of them do find new homes through flea markets, second hand shops, and Craig’s list. I don’t condone this because people have to do what they have to do to afford a mattress and it often beats sleeping on the floor.

Other ways old mattresses are gotten rid of

Many second hand stores and retailers of so called “new” mattresses have been exposed for improperly recovering old mattresses illegally or not properly sanitizing them to meet laws to protect used mattress buyers.  When these mattresses don’t get stripped down and recovered with new materials or at the very least sanitized you just don’t want to know what’s on the inside. Shockingly these mattresses are then rebagged and are sold as new which should be illegal under the new federal fire code #1633. Sometimes required law labels are faked or not even present on the mattress notifying the consumer of contents and proper fire safety certification.

So what will happen in the future to old mattresses?

I suspect that in the very near future, recycling will become much more available to each of us. Everyone will likely see implemented some type of disposal fee which could be handled much like the deposit fee required on glass soda bottles in some states. At the very least if dealers have to pay for disposal of an old mattress it’s like every other expense it will be passed on to the consumer as a cost of doing business.

About 

Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

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