Getting a new mattress is exciting, especially when you know it can massively improve your sleep. But what should you do with your old mattress? Can you burn it?
No, you should never burn a mattress because doing so can release toxic smoke into the environment.
Let’s look in more depth at why you shouldn’t burn a mattress and what you should do instead.
Is burning a mattress breaking the law?
Yes, burning a mattress is indeed breaking the law. In most places, it is illegal to burn any type of solid waste that comes from industrial, commercial, institutional or residential sources. This includes mattresses. Open burning of these materials releases toxic fumes and chemicals into the environment which are hazardous to human health.
The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) strictly prohibits open burning of all types of solid waste because of the hazardous nature of these substances. If someone is caught burning a mattress in a public or state land, they may be subject to fines and penalties as outlined by their local laws. Even if you burn a mattress on your private property, you can still face legal repercussions for doing so.
It is important to remember that burning mattresses not only puts your health at risk but also puts the safety of others around you in danger. The toxins released into the atmosphere due to open burning can cause serious problems such as respiratory illnesses, eye irritation, headaches and dizziness in those exposed to them. Additionally, these pollutants can also contribute significantly to air pollution and global warming since they contain carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.
For all these reasons, it’s crucial to understand that open burning of any kind should be avoided at all costs – not just when it comes to mattresses but other items as well such as plastics and tires. There are many appropriate methods available today for disposing or recycling old mattresses without resorting to illegal activities like open burning which can have dire consequences down the road.
Can you burn a mattress?
No, you should never burn a mattress, even if it is not illegal in your area. Burning a mattress can have serious health and environmental consequences.
When you burn a mattress, the materials that make it up are released into the air and can damage your local environment. The emissions from burning mattresses consist of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are particularly high in memory foam mattresses. These VOCs usually contain carbon compounds such as ammonium carbonate metallic carbides, carbonic acids, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which can be harmful to your health if inhaled. Not only can these VOCs damage your central nervous system but they may also cause respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis.
Burning a mattress releases toxic fumes and gasses into the air, which can be incredibly harmful to humans as well as the environment. In addition to creating air pollution, burning a mattress can also contribute to global warming by releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Not only that, but third-party testing has found that mattresses contain many hazardous materials like formaldehyde and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These toxins are released when you burn a mattress and can have severe health effects.
Burning old mattresses isn’t just hazardous for humans; it’s bad for wildlife too. When you release these toxins into the air, they don’t just stay in one spot; they get carried away by wind currents and end up in our oceans where they can contaminate entire aquatic ecosystems. This contamination can harm fish and other marine life, as well as the birds that feed on them.
In addition to potential health risks, burning a mattress is also illegal in many states and cities due to the environmental hazards posed by VOCs. Even if you live in an area where it’s not illegal to burn a mattress, you should think twice before doing so due to the potential health risks involved. Even if your local laws don’t explicitly forbid it, fires of any kind come with legal risks including liability for damages caused by smoke or fire damage from your property or even unintentional property damage due to sparks or embers being spread by winds from the burning mattress.
How to properly dispose of an old mattress
So how should you get rid of your old used mattress?
Recycling old mattresses is an important part of maintaining a sustainable environment. Not only does it help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, but it also helps create valuable resources from materials that would otherwise have gone to waste.
When you recycle your mattress, you can expect much of its components to be recycled and reused. According to Mass.gov, around 75% of your unwanted mattress can be recycled.
Common materials such as steel springs, foam insulation and wood frames can all be recycled for use in other products or repurposed for energy generation. In addition to these core components, many recyclers will even break down the fabric covers and reuse them in various applications like cushioning or manufacturing underlays for industrial carpets.
Most local authorities offer a mattress recycling program so check with them first.
If you mattress is still in very good condition then you may be able to sell it for some extra cash.
You can advertise your mattress on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay, just by taking a few photos and uploading them to the site.
Be aware that you should always highlight any condition factors and give a detailed description of the mattress itself. You should also thoroughly clean your old mattress prior to selling it to get rid of dead skin cells, dust mites, stains and smells.
The aim here is to get rid of your old mattress rather than to make money, so set a realistic price if you do go down this route.
If your mattress is in fair, usable condition, you may decide that the best thing to do is to donate it. Make sure that there are no bed bugs or other pest infestations before you donate your mattress.
Contact local charity organizations such as the Salvation Army, churches, and assistance centers to find out where you can donate your mattress. Alternatively, you may advertise it as a free mattress on Facebook Marketplace to find someone directly who is in need of a mattress in your area.
You can find other ways to recycle your old mattress within your own home. One example of this is to use the mattress as an outdoor seating area on your patio.
You can also repurpose parts of your old mattress in creative ways by making it into things like a do-it-yourself dog bed, chair cushions, or use the foam for insulating garden sheds etc. Once you’ve removed the springs and core foam, you can easily cut the mattress outer up into smaller sections for reuse.
You may also be able to re-stuff your old mattress with new materials and resell it as a refurbished mattress. This option requires you to invest in new fillings and replacements as well as labor costs, but if done correctly can be quite profitable.
If all else fails, contact your local authority waste disposal service and ask if they offer mattress disposal. Don’t try to put your used mattresses out with regular trash as you cannot get rid of a mattress as household garbage.
In many cases, you can book a collection service to come and collect your old mattress. Alternatively, you may have the option to drop it off at your local waste disposal center. Check with the relevant authority in your area for more information on pick-up services or other options.
Improper disposal of a mattress, such as fly-tipping or placing, could lead to prosecution and fines so ensure that you use a proper recycling center – paying a small fee to dispose of a mattress may be the best solution.
Conclusion: Can you burn a mattress?
No, it is not safe to burn a mattress. Burning mattresses can release hazardous chemicals and toxins into the air that are harmful to both humans and the environment. Instead, you should look into recycling, selling, or donating your old mattress if you need to get rid of it. If all else fails, contact your local authority waste disposal service.