Breaking Down a Mattress
How to Break Down a Mattress for Disposal
Nearly 20 million mattresses are dumped into landfills each year, many of these mattresses are tossed aside improperly simply because they are difficult to get rid of. Mattress’s are composed of mainly steel, wood, and cotton, most of which can be recycled. Wood may be shaved into wood chips, or repurposed for a variety of projects at home. Not only is recycling these materials beneficial to the environment, it also helps to conserve valuable resources. Some states may have requirements on how a mattress can be disposed of, many of which have recycling facilities. These facilities may charge you a break down fee, depending on where you take it, to save money you can break it down yourself fairly easily, and recycle the appropriate materials on your own.
Here’s how to break down your mattress is six simple steps:
Breaking Down Your Mattress in 6 Steps
Before you start tearing apart your mattress, we suggest grabbing a few items such as cut-resistant gloves, and protective eyewear to keep any loose particles from getting in your eyes. If you have space outside to break down the mattress, it may be easier to do so outside, and avoid making a mess in your home.
What Tools Will You Need?
- Utility knife, seam ripper and/or shop box cutter to cut fabric.
- Heavy pair of pliers to remove staples.
- Bolt cutter and/or wire clippers to cut springs.
- Saw for cutting the box spring frame.
- Boxes and/or bags to hold mattress parts.
Step 1 – Cutting and Pulling the Cord From the Mattress Edges
Find where the piping ends and use a seam ripper or a utility knife to break the thread. Remove the cord by tearing away from the mattress fabric. Repeat this process on the other side of the mattress, keep the strands set aside to reuse, donate, or dispose of later.
Step 2 – Removing the Mattress Sides
Once the binding cords are removed, you can pull the sides off of the mattress. This material may not be worth repurposing, keep it in the pile of materials you will be disposing of.
Step 3 – Pull the Top Layer of Fabric Off the Mattress
When pulling back the fabric, you’ll find a layer of padding or foam. Be careful as you pull, watch out for staples binding the outside fabric, snip the staples away until the top layer is free. If your mattress has any buttons or tabs on the sides remove them all at once with a seam ripper.
Step 4 – Gather the Fabric and Interior Padding
If you haven’t put your gloves on by now, this would be the step to get them. Use your hands to sweep the fluffy insides into a garbage bag or cardboard box. Stuffing from mattresses are usually made up of foam and cotton, both of which can be recycled at a facility to later be reused or composted.
Step 5 – Remove the Bottom Fiber Layer
Pull away the thin layer of fabric at the bottom. Your mattress might also have an added layer of foam cushioning for extra support. Once removed, you can break this layer down to recycle or compost.
Step 6 – Cut and Recycle the Metal Springs
Once you’ve cleaned up the fluff and fabric, you’ll be faced with the interior springs. Using bolt or wire cutters cut this layer into small pieces so you can take it to your local metal recycling center or scrap yard. If you’re on the crafty side, you can repurpose these innersprings to make fun household items such as wine racks, candle holders, and more.
Now that you’ve broken down the mattress, it’s time to start cutting the box spring, grab a saw and get ready.
Taking Apart a Box Spring in 4 Steps
Step 1 – Remove Reinforced Corners and the Dust Cover
Most box springs have plastic pieces stapled onto the corners for added protection. Using a screwdriver, remove these pieces and set aside for recycling. Also, if your mattress has a dust cover, cut and tear it away to reveal the wood frame underneath.
Step 2 – Pull Staples Binding Fabric
Using pliers remove the staples holding the wood frame to the fabric around the bottom edges. Pull the fabric away from the wood frame with a utility knife.
Step 3 – Remove the Fluffy Lining and Fabric
Collect the cotton and foam lining and pile it into a box to be recycled or composted. Peel away the fabric lining the edges of the box spring until the wood frame is completely exposed.
Step 4 – Disassemble the Wood Frame
Using a hand saw or handheld buzz saw, break down the wood frame into smaller pieces. Make sure you’re using work gloves and glasses for this process, if you haven’t already been. You can reuse these wood pieces for small garden projects or throw them in the compost pile if you happen to have one. Keep in mind some box springs have metal parts in addition to the wood frame. Like the bedsprings, you’ll need to cut this chunk of metal into smaller pieces before you take it to a recycling center.
Recycle Your Leftover Materials
Once you’ve finished breaking down your old mattress and box spring, be sure to dispose of it properly! There are many disposal options, depending on your location. Call your town office to check if your local landfill has recycling programs or mattress disposal options. Remember if you can repurpose any materials, we encourage doing so. Not only will you be making something new out of something you no longer needed, you will be saving valuable resources and using them in the best way.
If you have more than just a mattress to dispose of, you may need to rent a dumpster. Call us at Waste Solutions 123 today for a free quote on our affordable roll off containers!