Disposing of mattresses and box springs can be a problem because they are hard to move, clog up waste sorting equipment and are nearly impossible to compact in a landfill. Reuse or recycle mattresses and box springs instead – 90% of a mattress can be broken down and recycled.
Mattresses and box springs are difficult to recycle, and few recycling options are available.
• In Minnesota, nearly 700,000 mattresses are discarded each year, with a total weight of 3.85 million pounds.
• Expected life span for a mattress is 10.8 years.
• Disassembled, a mattress consists of steel (55%), polyurethane foam (10%), cotton/felt (25%), and wood (10%).
• Because of their bulky nature, mattresses and box springs consume a greater amount of landfill space than ordinary household trash and create equipment maintenance problems for landfill operators. As a result, valuable landfill space is lost and operating expenses increase.
Materials recovered from mattresses can be put to productive use:
• Metal (30%) Steel is used to manufacture new steel products.
• Wood (23%) is shredded to provide mulch or composted.
• Polyfoam (10%) is used to manufacture high-end carpet pads.
• Polypad (4%) from mattress covers or “toppers” (foam sewn to cover) are used to make low-end carpet pads.
• Cotton stuffing (15%) can be used as filler for packaging, shipping pads, wall insulation and road noise abatement material in vehicles, though this material has been difficult to market in Minnesota.
• About 18% of processed mattresses and box springs goes into the garbage.