How to Recycle...Mattresses
If you’re treating yourself to a new bed before Christmas, or you’re investing in one for guests coming to stay for the holidays, you will likely be left with a dilemma; what should you do with the old mattress?
Some companies will remove your old bed and mattress as part of their delivery agreement, but many won’t, which leaves you with a few choices:
- Dump it (which is illegal and a complete blot on the landscape)
- Send it to landfill, which will make your mattress 1 of around 20 million that end up in landfill every year, where it may or may not decompose. Either way, it’s bad for the environment.
- Recycle it, via your local authority, who may collect it, or you may be able to take it to a designated site.
Where can you recycle mattresses?
Many charities accept old mattresses that are in decent condition, and they often offer a collection service too.
Recycle the parts
Maybe the mattress itself isn’t in good enough condition to be donated, well, all is not lost. The springs for example, can be sold for scrap metal.
Ask the council to take it
Many councils offer collection services or have designated rubbish tips for bulky items, as this tends to cut down on incidences of fly-tipping, but the service is not often free.
Use a private collection company
There are an increasing number of companies which run waste collection services, often at a cheaper price than the council, but always make sure that they have a licence to collect and dispose of waste, or you could land yourself with a court appearance, a fine, and even jail time for serious offences if unscrupulous individuals simply take your money and dump your rubbish.
What can recycled mattresses be turned into?
When mattresses are recycled, they are either shredded or stripped manually, with tools. The different materials used, like polyester, foam, cotton, and steel, are extracted, then put in bundles and are sent for further recycling, or to manufacturers, to be made into new products. Here’s what the different materials can become:
- Cotton and foam: can be used for pillow or cushion stuffing, carpet form, or padding for underlay.
- The wood from box springs: can be recycled as animal bedding or as biomass fuel.
Next time you’re on the lookout for a new mattress, be sure to donate or recycle your old one, and buy your new one from an eco-brand.