Cartoon images of mattresses and recycling symbols

Mattress Recycling

Public Works

About Mattress Recycling

Mattress and box springs are now recycled! To schedule your free pick-up, use the Mattress/Box Spring collection tool below. 

The City of Cambridge has partnered with UTEC, a nonprofit organization serving proven-risk young adults, to provide free weekly curbside mattress and box spring recycling services. Approximately 150 tons of mattresses are trashed in Cambridge each year, taking up a massive amount of space in landfills compared to other waste. This initiative will support the city's goals of reducing waste and is launched in accordance with recommendations from the City's Zero Waste Master Plan.

UTEC will pick up, deconstruct, and recycle mattress components.

  • Steel will be recycled into a variety of new steel materials
  • Wood will be chipped for mulch
  • Foam will be recycled into carpet padding
  • Textiles will be recycled into a variety of new textile materials

Schedule a Pick Up

This is a free service to Cambridge residents, but advanced scheduling is required. To schedule a pick up, use the Mattress/Box Spring collection tool above. 

The program is partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Thank you for helping the City reach its Zero Waste Goal.

Tips and FAQs

How do I recycle my mattress or box spring?

Visit The Mattress/Box Spring Collection tool above to schedule your free curbside collection of a mattress. Generally, collections occur every Thursday, but schedule your collection online to get an exact date for collection.

What if I have a problem with my collection?

Do I need to be home for the pick-up?

No. Mattresses should be placed curbside or within site of the street by 7:00 am the morning of the pick-up. The collection crew will pick up the mattresses or box springs before 4:00 pm. Do not place the item at the curb earlier than 6pm the day before your collection. The crew is prohibited from entering homes or apartments to pick up mattresses.


What do you do with the components of a mattress?

The springs of a mattress are scrapped to make a new steel item. The foam can be made into carpeting. The fabrics and fibers can be made into new textiles or padding. Wood can be mulched or used as a fuel. 

What type of mattresses and box springs are accepted for recycling?

Most mattresses and bed box springs are accepted. A few exceptions are:
  • Excessively torn, punctured, soiled or moldy items;
  • Twisted or crushed mattresses or broken box springs;
  • Mattresses or box springs infested with bed bugs or other pests;
  • Futons, mattress pads or toppers; or
  • Infant sleeping pads; air or water beds; any other furniture or textiles.

Why is recycling mattresses important?

The four major components of mattresses (foam, steel, textiles, and wood) are highly recyclable and valuable when recycled. When trashed, we lose those raw materials forever. Furthermore, mattresses are unique in that they take up a lot of space in landfills. Capacity for trash in Massachusetts is declining and we must recycle, compost, and reduce/reuse more!  

Will UTEC pick up other items like couches, futons and appliances?

No. UTEC will only pick-up standard mattresses and box springs. Use the "Get Rid of It Right Tool" to determine how to dispose of these items. 

Page was posted on 11/14/2019 2:00 PM
Page was last modified on 3/25/2020 2:28 PM
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