UK residents face ‘recycling postcode lottery’ when disposing of old mattresses

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Research by British bed manufacturer Happy Beds has found a huge disparity in how much local authorities charge for collecting and recycling mattresses.

The research reviewed the bulky waste collection services of 378 councils in England, Scotland and Wales, finding that 20 local authorities (5.3 per cent in total) provide free collection of larger items such as beds and mattresses.

However, at the other end of the scale, residents in Aylesbury Vale in Buckinghamshire are having to pay £75 to have their bulky waste removed.

UK residents face ‘recycling postcode lottery’ when disposing of old mattresses
Rural inhabitants are having to pay more to dispose of their old mattresses. In England and Wales’ 50 most densely populated councils, eight offered free bulk collection at an average cost of £27.83. In comparison, no councils offered free collections in the 50 least-populated areas. The 50 least-densely populated councils had an average recycling cost of £26.81.

The study demonstrates the UK’s recycling ‘postcode lottery’. While someone living within the local authority of Hillingdon can have their mattress recycled free of charge, residents of nearby Richmond have to pay £60 for their local authority to collect their bulk item.

Joy Richards of Happy Beds, who conducted the research. said: “Recycling old mattresses is an excellent step to reducing a household's contribution to a growing waste problem, but it’s hard if local authorities are charging nearly as much as a new mattress will cost. While we do stock thousands of mattresses, our cheapest product is £89.99 – meaning that if someone in Aylesbury Vale bought it and had to recycle theirs, their total outlay would nearly double!”

“That’s why we’re working hard to offer our own competitively-priced mattress collection service and are using our interactive map to make it easy for people to find out how much council recycling is near them.”

You can read all the findings from Happy Beds’ research on the company’s website.