We’re recycling everything these days – bottles, cans, phones, computers, even clothes. But mattresses? In most cases, old mattresses are left out for trash and end up in already-overflowing landfills (which is not green).
Here are some frequent questions on recycling an old mattress:
1. Do people really do that?
2. Reduce and reuse are usually not far behind the word recycle, but reducing… that doesn’t seem to work with mattresses and reusing? Ew, no thank you.
3. What’s there to recycle?
Let’s start with 1. Yes, a lot of people recycle their mattress. It’s just not as common as glass bottles or batteries because we only buy a new mattress every 10+ years, and most people are more focused on the new mattress coming in… than the old one going out.
2. Mattresses are necessary to good health, as they provide us with the support and comfort of a great night’s rest, so reducing the amount of mattresses we buy or replace is out of the question for now. But reusing, yes, and in so many ways. If you are replacing your mattress because a bigger, better one is coming to town, bring the old one to a local charity, nursing home or donate it to a center. Many local mattress companies will offer to pick-up the old one when they are delivering your new one, but call to make sure.
3. Mattresses are designed to last, but a well-oiled recycling factory can reuse 90% of the mattress; the cotton and cloth can be turned into clothes, the springs can either be reused or melted down, the foam gets recycled and the wood gets turned into chips. Mattresses however contain some materials and chemicals that are not quite eco friendly: formaldehyde, polyurethane, petroleum based materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and so on so attempting to break it down isn’t the smartest idea.
When considering recycling your mattress, you should contact your city or town first; they also might offer to pick it up and deliver it to your donation center.
Contributor: Cassandra Broadway