A high-quality mattress is one of the most basic furniture in any home and just like any other thing, but they come with an expiry date. Even the best mattress usually lasts for 5 to 10 years, depending on its quality and usage. Now, once you replace your old mattress with a new one, does the older one need to be disposed of?
In recent years, the concept of recycling almost everything has become more prominent, and recycling a mattress is no different in this regard. In fact, in many states, there are laws enacted to ensure that old mattresses end up in the right place. Besides, if you think these large and bulky pieces of furniture are totally ruined after years and years of usage, you are completely wrong. There is still enough life left in them, and thus upcycling them makes complete sense.
By recycling an old mattress, you are not only putting it to some good use, but also doing a huge favor to our environment. After all, the materials used in manufacturing a mattress sometimes take centuries to break down. Looking at this, many online forums and blogs like Newsweek, discuss many creative ideas of recycling a mattress in detail. The thing is, it is an important issue for an average person and thus we need to be educated about it.
What Happens to Mattresses when you don’t upcycle it?
Both organic and inorganic materials are used to make a mattress. When we don’t recycle them, they end up in a landfill. Now, as we all know, trash in landfills break down at its own pace and in reactions independent from air, and this creates a big issue.
It is pretty easy to understand that organic materials like – cotton, wool, natural latex, wood, etc. will break down faster and will not have a bad impact on nature. However, other materials like synthetic fabric, foam, plastic and metals will stick around for years, even centuries.
Now, are you wondering that there are many other waste products too which simply stick around for a long time in landfills then why worry about mattresses? Well, if you are, think of the space that a mattress will occupy compared to any other product.
Some surveys suggest that every year over 20,000,000 mattresses end up in landfills. Now, if each of them occupies up to 23 sq. ft area nearly one-half billion sq. ft of landfills are filled with just mattresses each year. This figure is huge and clearly not sustainable considering the finite amount of space we are left with now.
Upcycling an Old Mattress
Looking at the rate at which old mattresses hit the landfill, the numbers of places where mattresses can be recycled are growing rapidly. Fortunately, there are even such organizations which come to your doorstep and pick up your old mattresses and recycle them in a suitable way.
Generally, mattresses are made using foam, latex, wood, cotton, wool, and metal. All these materials need to be broken down and separated and the good news is, about 90% of an average mattress can be recycled.
Here is what can be done with different materials of a mattress:
- Foam and plastic are usually washed, shredded and processed to be used as carpet padding.
- Cotton and wool are processed to be used as recycled textiles.
- Fabrics are sold for vehicle matting and interior.
- Metals used in frames and springs are melted and reused to create other products.
- Wood is chipped and used as mulch.
Other creative ways of upcycling an old mattress:
Instead of giving your old mattresses to organizations which will recycle them for industrial use, you can also recycle them by yourself and use them creatively, and here we have listed a few creative ideas of doing so –
- Make a couch out of your old mattress – Kids just love to jump on couches and even teens love to cover the whole couch while watching TV or playing games. Use your old mattress as couch cushions and let your kids have all the fun they want without worrying.
- Make garden trellis using the springs – If your mattress is not in a condition to be used as a couch, simply rip it apart. This way you can use its spring and make a nice garden trellis. After all, there are many plants that can use the support and grow better. Next, if the fabric is still nice, just make cushion covers out of it or you can even use it as a cleaning cloth.
- Make paddings – If you are ripping apart your mattress, you can always use its comfort layers as paddings to store and keep both delicate and heavy objects safe. Also, you can pin it to a wooden board and make your own designer pegboard or photo board.
- Make a wine-rack – Since your mattress is stripped completely, you can use its open bonnell coil the way you want. We recommend you simply hang it on the wall and use it as a spacious and sturdy wine rack. This will look amazingly creative and hey it is totally inexpensive.
- Towel Hanger – Just like a wine rack, you can use the old bed frame to hang pretty much anything. You can simply hang the bed frame up and hang items like clothes, towels, pots, pans, gardening or garage tools etc. To use it more creatively, you can even hang photographs on it and decorate it as you please. However, keep in mind to only use the bed frame and not the coil, as coils might hurt kids.
- For gardening purposes – Place your continuous coil base on the ground and let it guide you to plant seeds at equal distances. You can even use the old base of the mattress as a base or stand for the planters to keep them above the ground.
- Bed for pets – Your pets will surely have a more relaxed sleep on a comfortable bedding. If you are planning to get rid of your old mattress, this can be the best way of using it. Simply get it cut and stitched as per the size you want and cover it with a cute and soft cover. Place it in the interior or exterior of the house and let your pets have some calm time.
Other eco-friendly ways of reusing an old mattress:
Usually recycling a mattress seems the only way of using an old mattress instead of dumping it in the landfill. Well, fortunately it isn’t like that. If recycling seems too much work for you, there are many other ways in which you can handle it. For instance, consider the ideas given below:
- Selling the mattress – If the old mattress is still in good shape or you are changing it because you are changing the bed itself, then simply sell it. Yes, you can have a garage sale and make reasonably good money out of an old mattress. People are always trying to get decent furniture at good prices. So, if yours is in good shape, sell it, make some money and ultimately help the planet.
- Donate the mattress – Now, this is one more option of using your old mattress in a good way. You can contact agencies which accept donated mattresses. The best part is that these agencies even pick mattresses up, depending on your location. There are also different websites where you can go and give away your stuff to the needy ones. You can select whom you want to donate and they can come and pick it up.
When it comes to recycling a mattress, there are countless possibilities and ideas. You can reuse it easily by either donating or selling it or can work a little harder and keep it functional.
Usually people tend to forget about things when it comes to retiring them. They don’t give any attention or second thoughts to it and simply let them go as trash. Well, we all need to keep in mind that our planet is getting smaller with each passing day and we need to preserve it as much as possible. This is not a one man’s job, but instead, we all are in it together as a team.
The mattress we used for years and which comforted us for a very long time required plenty of resources to get developed. It is now time that we help in recycling it and thereby keep the cycle going on. So, recycle your old mattress and help humanity instead of creating an expensive burden for future generations.