It’s World Recycling Day – What happens to old mattresses?

It’s World Recycling Day – What happens to old mattresses?

Mattresses, like anything else, eventually become waste products. When you’re set to replace your mattress, hopefully after a long life of ten years or more, your old mattress needs to go somewhere. In these eco-friendly times, we presume you’ll be hoping your mattress goes somewhere it won’t damage the environment for decades to come. Now more than ever, people are worried about tossing their old mattresses, concerned that they’ll end up rotting in landfill until the end of time. We can see why; most of us are concerned about the impact we’re having on the planet and want to cause as little harm as possible.

Today is Global Recycling Day. Every year, we take billions of natural resources from the Earth and turn them into products, like mattresses. The planet can only sustain this for so long. It’s really important that we recycle as much as we can, firstly to curb the amount of natural resource we’re pillaging by reusing stuff we have already taken, secondly to, where possible, give something back to the planet.

How does mattress recycling work?

If your mattress goes off to the land of recycling, it won’t be recycled in its full form. Instead it will be stripped. Its component will be separated and these will be sent away to be used as other things. It’s highly possible that you already have recycled materials in your home, making up other things you use every day.

Innerspring mattresses contain thick steel wire, which is very useful. It is stripped away, baled, and sent to a metal recycling plant, where it is cast into new steel and used to make new products.

Any foam in your mattress will be sent away to be cleaned and redistributed into new products, such as padding and cladding. It might even become another mattress.

Will landfill automatically recycle my mattress?

No, landfill will not automatically recycle your mattress. This is bad, because mattresses in their full form will take a long time to biodegrade and require the energy of the environment to do so.

Mattresses take on average 80 to 120 years to decompose. That means almost every mattress you’ve ever slept on is likely to outlive you if it’s thrown into landfill.

Some mattress facts

In the UK, we throw away seven million mattresses every year. The United States tosses 18.2 million mattresses a year into landfill.

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that if they stack the 600,000 mattresses they dispose of each year on top of each other, the pile would be more than 100 times taller than Ben Nevis. That’s tall!

It’s getting worse

If you’re eco-conscious, it is more important than ever that you recycle your mattress. Despite a growing number of ways you can do this, the mattress situation is getting worse. The growth of online companies means organisations are now offering buyers the opportunity to send back mattresses within 100 days if they don’t find them satisfactory. These mattresses cannot be resold – lots of them end up in landfill.

For this reason, it is more important than ever that those who care make extra effort to protect our planet by recycling.

How to recycle your mattress

If you Google ‘recycle my mattress’ you’ll get lots of suggestions and be advertised lots of companies who will offer to do it for you for a fee. You should tread carefully when looking for someone to recycle your mattress. You might trust a company, but there’s nothing to stop them from dropping your mattress off at landfill, or worse – fly tipping it somewhere to avoid paying charges and pocket the fee.

If your mattress is not old or in too bad condition, you should consider donating it to a charity with a furniture warehouse. You could also contact local organisations, such as women’s shelter, and ask them if they want it.

If you’re buying a new mattress from a reputable company, many of them will offer to take and recycle your old mattress for you. You should bear this in mind when you are hunting for new mattresses. Companies that do this have an eco-conscience and these are the types of companies we need to lean towards if we want to save the planet. We know it’s cheaper, but try to avoid ordering mattresses from online companies, who’ll offer you your money back after 100 days of use if you are not happy, or have other disposable policies like these.

Some retailers will take away your mattress, or you can contact your local council, but they’re likely to take them to landfill, so do your research and look for an organisation who will actually take your mattress to be recycled.

Mattresses are 100% recyclable, but only 16% are actually recycled in the UK.

What else can I do this recycling day?

If you’re conscious about the impact your bed-buying habits are having on the environment, look for organisations who boast about their recycling practices.

At Ely Mattresses, we’ll take away your old mattress for recycling, and we’re very proud to declare that our mattresses are made from recyclable materials. We take our impact on the environment extremely seriously and love to declare it.

For more information, please contact us.

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