Although recycling mattresses is a necessary and worthwhile task, it is not the easiest one to accomplish. While sustainability and green thinking have spread like wildfire, and recycling centers have popped up across the globe, there is still a shortage of centers that can recycle mattresses. Most recycling centers do not have the technology to recycle mattresses. Those that do generally charge a fee to accept your mattress and the majority of mattress recycling centers only deal with corporations, and don't allow the general public to donate their mattresses for recycling because the cost of receiving them one at a time is too high.
So what is a tree hugger with an extra mattress to do? First, search the Internet to see if there is a recycling center in your area that will allow you to drop off your mattress. Resources like Earth911.com and the International Sleep Products Associate can help you locate one in your area. Just make sure you call them to ensure they accept mattresses from the general public.
If a mattress recycling center in your area is not an option, there's always do-it-yourself recycling. If you're crafty, a carpenter, or know someone who is, you could disassemble a mattress and reuse the materials on your own. If you're looking for some extra cash, you might even try to sell the steel coils from your mattress to a junk yard or as scrap metal. You could also donate the stuffing and foam to a school's home economics class for a project. Additionally, check for second hand shops in your area that might buy old mattresses.
Finally, if you want to recycle your mattress with the least amount of effort, ask the retailer selling you your new mattress if they have a recycling program. They may already have a relationship with a mattress recycling center that disposes all of the old mattresses they haul away. Since everyone seems to be jumping on the green bandwagon, it's very likely that a retailer near you already has an established recycling program. Just call around and find out the details before your purchase your new mattress.