Recycle Your Mattress; Don’t Send it to the Grave
Landfills are considered the grave in the “cradle to grave” life cycle assessment of products. The “cradle” refers to the sources of the materials the product is comprised of and the beginning of its production. Landfills are holes in the ground, like graves, but they share more similarities than simply a visual resemblance.
The landfill is the end of the line for products that are put there. By recycling your mattress, you can give new life to materials that otherwise would be buried away, sometimes contaminating the environment.
You can find places to have your bedroom mattress recycled at Earth911.org or by calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK. The number of places with the ability to recycle spring mattress or foam mattresses continues growing every year, including both public and government facilities and private recycling operations. Some organizations will pick up your old mattress, but you may have to take it to a designated location. Another thing to look into are local mattress recycling days or pick up points in your community.
What do We Recycle Mattresses Into?
Luxury Mattresses come in many different types and are made from a number of different materials including foam, wood, latex, cotton, wool and metal. Often, mattresses are made of a combination of these materials, which will need to broken down and separated. Though these materials are very different in nature, there are a variety of potential uses and up to 90% of the average mattress can be recycled.
Here is what can be done with some of the parts from recycled mattresses:
*Foams and plastics are washed, shredded, processed and often recycled for applications like carpet padding.
*Cotton flock and wool can be cleaned, processed and used as yarn or recycled textiles.
*Lower-grade fabrics are often processed and sold for use in vehicle matting and interiors.
*Metals from frames and springs are melted and used in a number of alternative products.
*Wood can be chipped and used as mulch or burned as fuel
The pieces of your home used mattress can go on serving a purpose for humanity if you recycle, instead of creating a costly burden for future generations. And who knows? Maybe someday you’ll be riding down the street in your car, resting comfortably atop your childhood mattress, reborn. Comforting, isn’t it?
Other Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Your Mattress
Recycling isn’t the only way you can get more use from your old mattress. If recycling isn’t an option for you, consider doing one of these methods, which are all still far better than the landfill:
Sell your mattress
Think your spring mattress still has some miles left in it? Have a garage sale or use a classified site like Craigslist or BackPage to advertise your old mattress. People are always looking for furniture in decent condition. You can make a little money and help the planet a little by reselling your mattress if it’s still sanitary.
Donate your mattress
The Salvation Army accepts donated mattresses and may even pick them up, depending on your location. Freecycle is a website like Craigslist, but all the items are given away by the owners. You may find someone in need of a bed who is willing to pick it up. This is a great way to give back and repurpose a bed mattress that’s still in usable shape.
Upcycle your mattress
Upcycling refers to the reuse of a product that creates a product of higher quality or better environmental value. You can upcycle your mattress in a number of ways. Take a look at some Pinterest mattress upcycling projects. People have turned their old mattresses into functional works of art, such as:
*Unique wine racks
*Crafty fences and gates
*Sturdy plant trellises
*One-of-a-kind lawn furniture
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Take the blank canvass of a used mattress and see what you can create.
Mind Over Mattress
It can be easy to forget about things when it is time to get rid of them. Many people don’t give old objects a second thought once they throw them away. But, as our world seemingly gets smaller, we are realizing there is no “away.” One person’s “away” is another person or creature’s home.
We are all in this together and have a responsibility to do the right thing for our neighbors, both present and future. Your bed required resources, energy and time to create. Keep the cycle going and reuse or recycle your old bed the next time you buy a new memory foam mattress, pocket spring mattress or latex mattress.