User login

A Community of Green Bloggers & Activists

How to Recycle Mattresses

Today was have a guest blog post by Hasic M, the editor of MattressDetective.com.  Thanks for a great guest blog post!  I always wondered about how to recycle mattresses and now I know!  :-)

--

Every year, thousands of old mattresses are simply dumped unceremoniously on top of ever-growing piles of junk and garbage heaps. These old mattresses are considered no longer useful by their owners, and they are simply disposed of in the easiest way possible. However, disposing of mattresses in this way is not the most efficient, and can actually cause serious damage to the environment.

Old mattresses often were manufactured before the days of environmental consciousness and concern over the health of the plant, and most old mattresses were simply designed to be sturdy and effective. Not much care was given to protecting the environment and making sure that the mattresses could be disposed of safely, making old mattresses an environmental hazard if not recycling effectively.

When to Recycle an old Mattress

One chiropractic website states that a mattress is made to last for about ten years, and using a mattress for more than ten years can result in serious problems. You should consider recycling your old mattress when you notice:

  • The springs in your mattress are beginning to poke out of the fabric, and you will often be able to feel them poking into your back
  • The overall support of the mattress is becoming less, and the mattress is getting floppy and droopy
  • There are large indents in the mattress where people have slept, and the mattress has conformed to the shape of the person's body permanently.
  • Your mattress is beginning to have more holes in it than fabric. This can be dangerous, as the fire-retardant chemicals can be breathed in while you are sleeping and cause serious damage to your health
  • Your mattress is repeatedly soaked with water or pee from your children. Every time a mattress gets wet, more of the chemicals are released from the mattress and the more mold and mildew can grow inside the mattress
  • You feel that you are more tired than you should be and your back is always sore, thanks to the mattress is not being as effective in supporting your body while you sleep

These are all indications that you should consider purchasing a new mattress, meaning that you have to get rid of your old mattress.  

Why to Recycle an old Mattress

Most old mattresses contain a type of foam inside them, and that foam releases toxic gases into the air if it is not disposed of properly. The average mattress take up 23 cubic feet of space on a garbage heap, and the mattress will not compress and takes many decades to finally decompose completely. The chemicals in the mattresses that stop it from catching on fire are actually harmful, and they can leak out of the mattress. The chemicals can get into the air, the earth, and even into the ground water. These chemicals penetrating the ground can cause serious poisoning to spread much farther than you can imagine, so it is very important that you handle the recycling of your mattress properly.

Recycling a mattress ensures that all the harmful materials used in the mattress are disposed of in a safe way that will not harm the environment. It is very important that you do your part and dispose of your mattress in an environmentally safe and responsible manner.

How to Recycle an old Mattress

The majority of recycling centers will not take your mattress to be recycled, though there are a number of recycling centers that can actually handle the proper disposal of your mattress. The cloth and cotton parts of your mattress will be recycled to use to make clothes, and the metal parts of your mattress will also be recycled to be reused. The foam is also disposed of properly, and the wood in your mattress is chopped up into wood chips.

More and more mattress recycling centers are opening around the U.S., but they are still few and far between. You can do a web search for local mattress recycling centers, but you may find that there are none in your city or even in your county. if your local recycling centers won't take your old mattress, here are a couple of alternative ideas that you can consider in order to responsibly dispose of your old mattress:

  • Visit MattressDonation.com to find out the rules for donating your old mattress to a charity or non-profit organization. If you can refurbish your old mattress, you may be able to donate it to a good cause.
  • You can also donate your old mattress to a mattress outlet or home-furnishing store. These stores often reuse parts of your mattress, but often they will simply dump them on a garbage heap. Make sure that the outlet or furnishings store will properly use or dispose of the mattress before you donate it.
  • Craiglist.org is an online website where you can post a classified ad to try to sell your mattress. You may find that any number of people are looking for a cheap mattress that is still in decent condition, and you may even make a few bucks off of your old mattress if someone is interested in purchasing it.
  • The government in your town or city may offer the service of recycling your old mattresses, but you should be sure that they aren't simply carting it off to a garbage dump instead of disposing of it properly.
  • Freecycle.org is an online network of people around the world who offer advice on how to exchange or recycle items in order to keep them from being tossed into landfills.
  • Ecohaul.com is a company that will cart away your mattress and dispose of it in a manner that is environmentally friendly.

--

Hasic M is the editor of MattressDetective.com, a consumer focused site where he writes honest mattress reviews and ratings aimed to help you make the right choice when buying a mattress.