Can You Burn a Mattress in Your Garden in the UK?
Mattresses are notoriously hard to get rid or dispose of. If they have been left outside and got wet, many councils won’t collect them, even for a fee. They can also be too big to fit in your car and take to a local tip. Because of this, it might be tempting to wonder whether it’s safe, or even legal, to burn a mattress on a bonfire in your garden.
While you can burn a mattress in your garden, it is not recommended. It could release toxic fumes that are dangerous to your health, as well as the environment. It is not illegal to burn a mattress on a bonfire, but it is it is illegal in the UK to burn household waste in your garden if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health.
If you do decide to burn a foam mattress in your garden, you could fall foul of that law regarding pollution and nuisance. This relates to The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 and could also be an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993. Laws prohibits the burning of household waste in an open space, except in certain circumstances.
For example, you may be allowed to burn small amounts of dry, untreated wood or paper in a contained garden fire, if it does not cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
It is always best to check with your local council to see if there are any specific regulations or restrictions on burning waste in your area.
If you want to know more about the dangers and risks posed by burning mattresses, it’s all below, with additional alternatives for safe mattress disposal.
Can you burn a foam mattress?
When you burn a mattress, it could release toxic fumes containing harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide, dioxins, and furans. Modern mattresses, memory foam, mattress toppers, mattresses, and box springs, can contain foam, cotton, and synthetic fibres which may produce fumes when burned, that are dangerous to inhale.
Setting fire to a mattress can also release of microplastics which can pollute and harm wildlife and the environment.
You also need to consider the hazards of burning a mattress in your garden too. They are large, bulky, and heavy, as well as being highly flammable if older ones. This makes burning a mattress on a fire a dangerous job, especially if you cannot contain an out of control bonfire.
How long does a mattress take to burn?
The length of time it takes a mattress to burn will depend on different factors such as the type of mattress you are burning in your garden, how big it is, and the weather conditions under which it is burned.
You might find that it takes between 20 minutes to an hour for a typical mattress made of foam and synthetic material to burn.
But as we’ve already explained, it’s not a recommend safe practice due to the toxic fumes and microplastics that could be released.
Safe alternatives to burning a mattress
A quick and easy solution could be to get Zero Waste Group to pick it up and dispose of it safely for you. You can contact us for a quote.
Alternatively, you can look to recycle the mattress. There could be a local community program which recycles mattresses, therefore reducing how much waste is sent to landfills. We also advise you check the shop or mattress company, as some have recycling programs too.
To conclude, do not burn a mattress in your garden. The cost saving versus the potential harm it can cause to both the environment and human health really isn’t worth it. You might also be breaking the law as well.
Instead, consider recycling or getting a waste removal company or local council to pick it up.