Why Recycle Mattresses?? - Naturesrest

Why Recycle Mattresses??

by Jennifer Groom June 28, 2016


  • Approximately 15-20 million mattresses and box-springs are disposed of each year in the U.S. with each piece occupying approximately 40 cubic feet or more of landfill space.
  • Mattresses are hard to compact, and the springs can easily catch in equipment used in landfill and incinerator operations. In response, some disposal facilities require the segregation of mattresses from other solid waste, resulting in increased management costs for some communities.
  • Over 80% of each mattress (by weight) can be recycled into other useful products.

Many mattress materials are made from recycled and renewable materials, and can be recycled at the end of their useful life for use in other products. Here are some examples:

  • Steel inner-springs and box springs – Much of the steel wire used to make mattress inner-springs and box springs is made from recycled scrap steel. Once the mattress is discarded, the steel wire can again be recycled, remelted and poured into new steel.
  • Mattress foam – Oils made from renewable plants like soy, castor beans and other natural oil sources are used in making some types of polyurethane foam used in mattresses. Similarly, plant-based latex can be used with other materials to make latex foam used in mattresses. The used mattress foam can then be ground up, mixed with binders and formed into the foam padding used underneath wall- to-wall carpets and in other cushioning applications.
  • Box spring/foundation wood – Most wood used to make box-springs (also called foundations) is from common, non-endangered tree species – like spruce, pine and fir – grown in certified renewable forests. What’s more, no trees are cut just to make box-spring/foundation wood. In fact, the trees are cut to make construction lumber (for homes and other buildings) and pulp for paper making. The wood used for box-springs/foundations is then made from those parts of a tree that cannot be used for construction lumber because those boards are too narrow, too short and too thin to make a 2-by-4. As a result, box-spring/ foundation manufacturers help make more efficient use of trees cut to make construction lumber or paper. After the consumer discards the box-spring, the used wood can be chipped and used as animal bedding, mulch or biomass fuel.
  • Fabrics and fibers – A number of renewable plant and animal fibers – including cotton, wool, silk, sisal and coconut fibers – are used in mattresses. Another renewable fiber is rayon, which is made from wood and other cellulosic plant fibers. Other textiles and fibers used in mattresses are made from recycled materials.


In a world where the environment constantly tells us how we are hurting it, we need to do everything we can to make it a little better! reusing and recycling are one of the key factors in this process. 

Jennifer Groom
Jennifer Groom