A picture of some rubbish and an old mattress in the street.

Can you put a mattress in a skip?

Mattresses are big, bulky and awkward to handle – if you’ve ever had a mattress delivered, transported one yourself or even just tried to turn the mattress on your bed, you’ll know how heavy and uncooperative they can be.

Yet they’re one of the most-used items in any household. Even if you spend a month of each year away from home, you’ll clock up around 1,000 nights in your own bed every three years.

That’s why the Sleep Council recommend replacing your mattress every seven years, although if you get a good quality mattress and take care of it, you’re likely to get a decade’s decent use out of it.

Either way, there comes a time to say farewell to your springy, memory foam-clad friend, and that’s when the real trouble starts.

Why can’t a mattress go in a skip?

Because they need to be disposed of differently from most general waste, you’ll find most skip hire providers will not accept mattresses, or may charge you extra to dispose of them as a separate item.

This is also why it’s bad news if you wake up to find someone has dumped their own mattress in your skip overnight – and why they are one of the most frequently fly-tipped items.

It’s also a safety issue, as mattresses will usually stick out of the top of the skip, above the maximum fill line that allows for safe transportation to the waste treatment facility.

But don’t worry – there are ways to dispose of a mattress responsibly and it might not even cost you any money. Here are the main options…

Council collection

It’s worth checking if the council will collect your mattress. You’ll have to arrange this as a one-off ‘bulky item’ collection, but it’s often an option and may be free of charge.

Leeds City Council currently charge £20 to collect up to four items, and you can have a maximum of four collections per year – that’s 16 items for £80 if you plan it well.

A part of that fee is given to local recycling and reuse charities, so you’re not only disposing of your mattress, you’re also supporting the city’s third-sector organisations and recycling efforts.

Remember that if you’re disposing of an entire bed, it will be treated as more than one item. The bed frame, mattress, headboard and slats are all counted separately by the council, so that’s one full collection of four items.

Reuse and Freecycle

Alternatively, if your mattress is in relatively good condition, see if you can find a new home for it.

You could ask on local social media groups to see if anyone wants it – and ask them to pick it up, so you don’t have to transport it anywhere yourself.

Local charities sometimes take mattresses if they are fairly clean, in good condition, and have the big fire safety label still attached.

Finally, look for a local Freecycle group. This is where people list unwanted items and other users can claim them – again a great way to directly reuse your mattress so someone can get a few more years’ life out of it, at no cost to you.