Recycling a mattress is an eco-friendly and responsible form of disposal. Local mattress recycling facilities are widely available.
Over time, mattresses can become uncomfortable and unsanitary, which can have negative effects on an individual’s health.
One form of mattress disposal is mattress recycling. This article provides information about mattress recycling and some alternative forms of mattress disposal.
Research has shown that regularly getting a good night’s sleep is important for a person’s mental and physical well-being. Sleeping on an uncomfortable or unsanitary mattress can make this difficult.
Wear and tear over time can make a mattress less supportive. People may experience more aches and pains as a mattress becomes worn with use.
Older and well-used mattresses may also accumulate mold and dust mites, both of which can cause or worsen respiratory symptoms. They can also trigger allergic reactions in some people. As one study notes, about 25% of people in industrialized countries have allergies, such as a dust mite allergy, that cause symptoms in the upper airways.
As older mattresses can have negative health consequences, some people may wish to replace their mattress on a fairly regular basis. Research suggests that using a new mattress can help people get better sleep and experience less back pain.
On average, a mattress will last for about 7 years before it requires replacing.
As mattresses are large and not biodegradable, disposing of them as waste at a landfill site may have a negative effect on the environment. For this reason, many people are interested in eco-friendly mattress disposal.
According to one mattress recycling scheme in the United States, more than 75% of a mattress is recyclable.
Mattresses often consist of several different components, which contain different materials. The first stage of processing a mattress for recycling is to take it apart. After separating the various components, the next step is to transport them to specific recycling destinations.
For example, many mattresses contain a layer of metal springs. As part of the recycling process, it is possible to extract these springs and send them for scrap recycling.
Some mattresses also have a layer of foam, which is recyclable in two ways. Foam that is in good order can undergo cleaning and then play a role in carpet manufacture. Where this is not an option, the foam goes to a plant that uses waste to create energy.
Mattress filling is also recyclable, especially if it contains polyester. However, mattress covers are difficult to recycle because they often become contaminated by sweat, skin, mold, and dust mites.
Mattress recycling can take place at specialized mattress recycling facilities. Anyone interested in recycling their mattress should first check whether they have one of these nearby. If not, some nonspecialized recycling centers can recycle mattresses.
The available facilities and services will vary depending on the U.S. state in which a person lives.
Most mattress recycling centers do not offer a free collection service. For this reason, mattress recycling will often require individuals to transport their own mattress to their local recycling center.
It is important for anyone who is moving a mattress to do so carefully. It may be dangerous to attempt to move a mattress alone, as this can be very strenuous.
Where recycling a mattress is not possible, people can consider other ethical options.
Sometimes, a mattress may only show a few signs of wear and tear. When this happens, it may be worth attempting to reuse the mattress rather than recycling it.
Some thrift stores and charities will accept mattresses in a nearly new condition. A person can contact the organization to find out whether they will accept mattresses or other bedding products and what standards these items must meet.
When a mattress is unsuitable for recycling or donation, a person should dispose of it at a landfill site.
In either case, mattress disposal often involves individuals transporting the mattress to a local facility.
It is important to remember that lifting heavy objects can be harmful. For example, scientists know that this activity can sometimes worsen hernias.
Dumping a mattress is illegal and hazardous to the environment.
Mattress recycling and ethical disposal can benefit the environment, but so can purchasing an eco-friendly mattress as a replacement.
When purchasing a new mattress, it is a good idea to look for brands that offer recycling and safe disposal schemes. Some companies will offer to recycle an old mattress when a person buys a new one from them.
People can also look for brands that support environmental charities and schemes.
In addition, they may wish to consider purchasing a mattress made using sustainable materials and processes. A mattress with the following certifications may be more eco-friendly:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
- Organic Content Standard
- USDA Organic Certification
These independent organizations offer certifications for mattresses and bedding products based on sustainable and safe materials and practices.
Replacing an old mattress can have important positive consequences for a person’s health. However, many people are worried about the environmental impact of mattress disposal.
People can recycle most mattresses at local facilities. Numerous organizations and businesses accept mattresses in various conditions for recycling.
If recycling a mattress is not possible, some charities will accept mattresses in good condition. Otherwise, disposal at a landfill is the last option.