Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 

How to dispose of your mattress and pillow

Find out how you can get rid of these bulky items and plump up your environmental credentials while you do it.

couple removing old mattress from bed
Last updated: 18 January 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Need to know

  • There are ways you can get rid of an old mattress or pillow for free, but some are more sustainable than others
  • Mattress disposal options are available in most areas, but recycling options are more limited
  • Options for recycling pillows are very limited and in most cases you will have to put old pillows in general rubbish

If you're no longer getting the best night's sleep on your old mattress, or your pillow is ready for retirement, finding a replacement is one part of the problem, but how do you go about disposing of these old items when you no longer need them?

Do you stuff your pillow in the bin? Should your old mattress go straight to the tip? What other options are there, and how much do they cost?

We take a look at what to do when replacing old mattresses and pillows and tell you why you should consider the planet when deciding how to dispose of them.

When to get a new mattress or pillow

CHOICE mattress expert Peter Zaluzny says in most cases, your mattress should last 8–10 years, and there are particular warnings to let you know when it's time to stop sleeping on it.

"The tell-tale signs are things like interrupted sleep or waking up in discomfort because it's started to sag; or smells that you just can't get rid of. Don't try and put up with issues like these," he says.

When it comes to pillows, some manufacturers say they should be replaced every two years. But CHOICE has found this depends on the material, with some polyester pillows becoming too lumpy after six months and others made of memory foam continuing to give support for up to 10 years.

Therefore, rather than being guided by a blanket rule, consider getting a new pillow if:

You should also start looking for somewhere new to rest your head if there's noticeable mould on your pillow, as this can be a health risk, especially if you have allergies.

How to get rid of your old mattress

How you can dispose of your old mattress will depend on where you live. While there are often more options for those residing in metropolitan areas, if you live in a regional or remote area you might find your options are limited.

Dumping in landfill

In many places, your only option might be to take your mattress straight to a tip (your local one might be referred to as a "waste transfer station" or a "resource recovery centre"). 

You can take your mattress to one of these facilities and arrange for it to be dumped in landfill. Some tips charge for this (usually per mattress, ranging from around $12 to $80 each, depending on location and the size of the mattress), while others will take it off you for free.

Pick up services

Another free solution might be your local council's kerbside bulk hard rubbish collection service. 

Most councils across Australia allow you at least one free pickup from outside your home each year and will let you book this in advance, but others may still only service your area at scheduled times throughout the year.

If you find one pickup isn't enough, many councils will allow you to book extra pickups for free (some offer this as often as once a week), but others may charge you for extra services.

Some waste disposal companies will also pick up your mattress for you, but this will cost money.

staff dismantling a mattress at soft landing

Not-for-profit Soft Landing may be able to recycle your mattress. Image: Soft Landing.

Recycling options

Unfortunately, not all of the above options are the best choice for the environment. Mattresses collected by some councils, for example, end up in landfill. But there are ways to guarantee your mattress gets a more sustainable send-off.

Some community waste centres take in mattresses for recycling, while various waste disposal services can also come and collect your mattress for repurposing.

One such service is Soft Landing – a leading, not-for-profit mattress recycler operating across parts of NSW, Vic, WA and the ACT.

As general manager David Petrie explains, Soft Landing receives mattresses through its pickup and drop-off service, but also takes care of mattresses from other sources.

"We collect and recycle; we work with councils, directly with the public, with manufacturers and retail stores, and with traditional waste management companies," he says.

Soft Landing aims to recycle up to 75% of each mattress it receives, while providing jobs to those facing barriers to employment in the process.

Drop-offs at one of their sites cost between $42 and $47 per mattress, depending on location. Collections from your home cost between $68 and $90 for one mattress, with additional charges for extra mattresses.

Check their website to see if they operate in your area or if your council is one of the 65 across Australia whose mattresses collected from residents are recycled by Soft Landing.

worker at soft landing taking apart a mattress

Recyclers like Soft Landing can salvage useful components from your old mattress. Image credit: Soft Landing.

Alternatively, visit the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council (ABSC) website or Planet Ark's mattress recycling portal to find other mattress recyclers operating in your area, but be aware that some of these may only serve commercial customers.

Before buying a new mattress, check if the retailer you are buying from will take your old mattress for recycling. Merchants who are participants in the ABSC have to commit to helping find better solutions for mattresses at the end of their life.

ABSC participant Snooze, for example, invites those not serviced by council pickups or Soft Landing to contact them, saying some of their stores may be able to arrange removal. The company did not confirm with CHOICE what happens to the mattresses in this process or if users are charged a fee.

Other ABSC-member brands, such as A.H. Beard, say their retailer partners can take away your old mattress for recycling when you buy with them, although this may involve a fee.

Why you should recycle your old mattress

According to Planet Ark, around 1.8 million mattresses are discarded in Australia each year. When one ends up in landfill, it can take up almost 0.75 cubic metres of valuable space and may spend over 100 years breaking down.

CHOICE expert Peter Zaluzny says the design of mattresses also makes them unwieldy additions to the general waste pile at your local tip. 

"They're big sponges and in landfill they get heavy, which makes them difficult to move," he explains. "It's also best to avoid putting any sort of manufactured stuff in landfill, because when it gets rained on, the fillings inside can leak out with the water runoff."


Mattresses can take over 100 years to break down and they use up valuable space in landfill.

This is especially troubling when you consider that many of the main components inside a mattress have recycling potential, as Soft Landing's David Petrie explains.

"By sending your mattress to landfill, you straight away lose all of the value in the mattress through the recoverable components: polyurethane foam and steel springs," he says.

On any given day, Soft Landing has as many as 35 trucks bringing in up to 2000 mattresses to its recycling facilities across Australia, where they are stripped down to their reusable parts.

"We manually deconstruct them by hand, pull the outer layers off and recover the usable foam and the steel spring sets," David says.

The bales of foam are then sold to carpet producers who use it as underlay material, while the metal springs often end up being moulded into building materials by steel manufacturers.

How to dispose of old pillows

Unfortunately, things get a bit more complicated when it comes to finding a sustainable way to shift your old pillows.

Planet Ark says they can't be recycled through your household recycling bin and should go in general waste.

Recycling programs for pillows are limited, but some are starting to emerge. GoKindly is an Australian bedding company offering its customers what it says is the country's first pillow recycling program.

The manufacturer arranges for old pillows to be shredded, with fabric going back towards making new iterations and memory foam being turned into carpet underlay.

Be only the company's own pillows can be returned to them under this scheme and there is a $5 postage fee involved. However, users buying replacement pillows are given a discount.

Collection service RecycleSmart also says it collects some types of pillows and cushions, but its services usually cost a fee and are mainly only available in metro areas.

Otherwise, you may be able to 'upcycle' an old pillow at home yourself, by repurposing it for a pet or using the filling to top-up other cushions.

Can I donate my old mattress or pillow?

Major charities such as St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army don't invite donations of old pillows, so it's best not to try and drop these off at your local op shop.

However, Salvos and Vinnies have previously told CHOICE that they can accept donated mattresses, as long as they are not stained.

Even if your mattress is stain-free, it's still a good idea to call ahead to the charity shop you intend to take it to, as not all will be able to accept these larger items.

You can also try giving your mattress away via an online classified site such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree to someone who is keen to give it a second life.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.