Do It Right: How to Recycle Your Old Mattresses Responsibly
Let’s face it, no matter how durable you think your bed is, when you’re using it every day for slumber, it’ll eventually arrive on the last day of usage. For something so massive, you might want to reconsider throwing it away immediately. You probably know how to recycle plastic and paper, but your mattresses are also recyclable if you know how to do it effectively.
Mattress recycling is becoming more prevalent over the years because the industry knows it’s environmental impact and threats. That’s why they are developing new ways to put these old beds to good use.
Even though this piece of furniture may have exhausted all its usefulness, it still has a life to it. It’s still usable. That’s why it’s always good to know why you need to recycle it and how to do it responsibly.
Why Recycle Mattresses?
When you already want to exchange your old mattress for a new one, disposing of it can become a hassle, and some just opt to throw it away in landfills. But these beds are too large for landfills, so they charge extra fees when handling mattresses because of their massive and large structure.
“Responsibly getting rid of mattresses isn’t easy. A growing number of landfills don’t want them since they are bulky, hard to crush and can jam machinery,” explains Ryan Trainer, president of the International Sleep Products Association.
“There are third parties that will take or buy used bedding from retailers, but many of them are unscrupulous renovators, who often just sew a cover over a filthy used mattress, making no effort to properly sterilize the old bed or meet national fire safety standards, and then deceive consumers into thinking they are buying an all-new mattress,” Trainer adds.
For this reason, if you want to help reduce your carbon footprint, then recycling your old mattresses is one way to do that. According to Bedtimes, Americans dump an estimated number of 20 million Mattresses per year. Landfills are already overflowing with the amount of garbage sent each day, adding large beds can make that worse.
If 20 million mattresses are put into landfills each year, and each one is estimated to take up at least 23 square feet, then that’s nearly 500 million square feet of landfill space – a figure the Earth cannot sustain with the finite amount it has.
Moreover, making new landfills can also pose a threat since they also take space that belongs to animal habitats and takes areas that are usable for many decades to come. Another factor to consider when disposing of old beds is their greenhouse gas emissions, made from the chemical and microbial interactions of the bed’s materials and the garbage in landfills.
These gases are harmful to the planet and can leave a negative impact on Earth’s ozone layer. That’s why it’s always best to consider recycling your old beds since you’re not just helping yourself, but the entire planet as well.
How Do You Recycle a Mattress?
Sold in various styles and types, manufacturers use different materials to create the beds you use. These include materials that are combined, such as foams, latex, cotton, wool, metal, and wood. When wanting to recycle an old mattress all you need to do is break down these pieces one by one so that you can use it for other stuff.
In nature, these materials are different, but there are a variety of possible uses for each of these items, even if they’re rigid and old. Here is where your mattress’ parts can potentially go when you opt to recycle them:
- Foams – Used in creating recycled carpet padding. When removed from the bed, you can donate them since people can wash, shred and process them for recycling purposes.
- Cotton – Recycled cotton and wool from your old beds can become recycled yarn and other kinds of textiles.
- Metals – Used in creating alternative products and made into new items.
- Wood – Recycled wood from your old beds can become fuel when burned.
The pieces of your mattress can go a long way in serving a purpose for humanity. More than just being a comfortable surface for sleep, if you recycle these old items instead of throwing them away, you can lessen the burden for the future generations.
Other Eco-Friendly Ways To Dispose of Your Mattress
If recycling is not an option for you, then consider other eco-friendly ways to get rid of your old beds. These methods are still far better than dumping it in the landfills.
Call local companies that accept donations for them to give it away to those who need it. You may find someone that in need who’s willing to pick up your old bed. This way, you’re also giving back to the environment by reusing a mattress that’s still in usable condition.
People are always looking for decent-looking hand-me-down furniture that can fit their standards. So if you think your old mattress still has a long way to go in someone else’s possession, then conduct a garage sale or post it on online sites. You’re not just helping the Earth; you’re also making a little money!
Upcycling is the process of transforming old and unwanted materials into something useful and beautiful. Often called as creative reuse, you can upcycle your old beds into something of better quality or better environmental value.
To do this, you’ll need some imagination and creativity, or you could just search online for ideas. People often turn their old mattresses into other functional products such as:
- Pet beds
- Wine racks
- Unique fences and gates
- Lawn furnitures
It’s easy just to throw your old beds away, but think about this for a second: The bed you’re about to throw away required resources, time, and energy to create. Trashing it in landfills is going to cause other problems, in particular for the planet.
The next time you’re purchasing a new mattress, think about reusing or recycling the old one because the responsibility to do the right thing for the present and future of the Earth lies in your hands.
Rachel Minahan is a freelance blogger for many sites that talk about interior design and green-living. She creates these articles as a way to promote her advocacies and to convey her thoughts and ideas.