Increasingly, North American tastes are leaning towards mattresses made primarily out of foam – even those with springs in the core will have foam on either side. Additionally, pillowtop mattresses aren’t flippable. Because of these developments, mattress lives have shortened significantly. These new types of mattresses last an average of 7-8 years.

According to Kayla Johnson, who works at,

The lifespan of modern mattresses is related to their current material. Polyfoam and memory foam do degrade faster than latex. Latex mattresses will still last 20 to 30 years and flippable mattresses (which are a lot rarer now) should last even longer. People are also pickier about their sleep surfaces than they used to be–there are a lot more options on the market and Americans tend to prefer really soft mattresses, which are usually made of memory foam or polyfoam. Other markets, like Europe and East Asia, tend to go for firmer mattresses.

If mattresses that used to last 25 years now need to be replaced every 7-8, you’re now sleeping on two extra mattresses for every one you used to. That produces a heck of a lot more waste than before and uses significantly more resources.

What happens to old mattresses?

Some municipalities have banned mattresses from landfill. In those cases, mattresses must be recycled. You can check your municipality’s waste management website to see what you need to do with your old mattress.

There are mattress recycling facilities scattered across North America – and one company, Recyc-Matelas has its headquarters in Montreal with branches in Toronto, Vancouver, Connecticut and France.

You can also check out a great website that helps you find recycling options for just about anything – including mattresses. offers several more in-depth suggestions as to how to recycle your old mattress, there are several ideas that are quite creative (I love the suggestions for old mattress springs found on Pinterest!).

How to reduce mattresses going to landfill

If at all possible, invest in a mattress that will last longer than 7-8 years. Many companies advertise on the mattress lifespan. While it might be more expensive up front, it will save you money and time down the road as it won’t need to be replaced as often. It will also conserve resources and reduce waste.

BEC Green

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