Thinking about throwing out that old mattress or maybe some tattered towels or stained duvet cover with the weekly trash? Well, think again. Starting on Tuesday, November 1st, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is expanding its waste disposal ban.

So what does that mean exactly?

For waste disposal ban purposes, textiles are defined as bedding, clothing, curtains, fabric, footwear, towels, and similar items. Virtually any textile can be reused, repurposed, or recycled if clean and dry. Even worn, torn, and stained items have recovery value. Luckily in Boston, we have some textile recycling

Certain contaminated textiles are exempt from the disposal ban. For definitions, see the regulations.

All sizes of mattresses are included in the ban. But the ban does not include mattress pads and toppers, sleeping bags, pillows, car beds, strollers, playpens, infant carriers, waterbeds, air mattresses, and mattresses from futons and sofa beds.

So what am I supposed to do with this old stuff?

In compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s policy, beginning November 1, the City of Boston will not accept clothing and textiles in curbside trash.

To help residents comply with this state policy, the City of Boston offers two options for residents to dispose of their unwanted clothing and textiles: 1) drop boxes conveniently located throughout the City, and 2) weekend curbside textile collection. Items that are soiled, wet, or moldy should still be placed in your curbside trash for collection.

You can find out what the City of Boston does and does not accept here. 

For residents looking to drop off their household textiles, including clothes, shoes, sneakers, bags, stuffed animals, bedding and towels, those items must be dry and placed into a secured plastic bag. Dropboxes can be found at municipal lots in Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, Roslindale and West Roxbury.

Textile dropbox locations include:

  • 398 Market Street, Brighton
  • 191 Adams Street, Dorchester
  • 20 Georgia Street, Dorchester
  • 575 Washington Street, Dorchester
  • 166 London Street, East Boston
  • 37 Winthrop Street, Hyde Park
  • 490 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
  • 450 West Broadway, South Boston
  • 10 Taft Hill Terrace, Roslindale
  • 39-41 Corey Street, West Roxbury

Can I donate a mattress?

Mattresses in very good condition may be donated through some local, national, or international programs. Visit the Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory or RecyclingWorks Find-a-Recycler tool to find local outlets for reuse. Check with each donation outlet about specifications.

So what about recycling mattress in the City of Boston?

From November 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, the City of Boston encourages you to work with a local private mattress recyclerdonate, or store your mattress until January 1st. If you are unable to do so, the City of Boston will continue to collect mattresses with curbside trash collection until January 1, 2023. To learn more, please contact 3-1-1.

What about after that?

Starting in January 2023, the City of Boston will require an appointment for collection of all mattresses and box springs. To schedule your appointment, please contact 3-1-1.

The City of Boston will accept memory foam, box springs, innerspring, hybrid, latex, and airbed. We will not accept futons and other similar non-mattress items, those items may be placed out for curbside trash collection.

More than 75 percent of your unwanted mattresses and box springs are recyclable. After collection, mattresses and box springs will be donated for reuse or recycled. These materials will be used to make insulation, carpet padding, mulch, and new metal items.

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