Every year, millions of old mattresses are sent to landfills where they last a long time and take up a lot of space. There are many kinds of mattresses, and some of them are easier to reuse than others. Some mattresses are biodegradable, which means if they’re made of stuff that will slowly go away over time. This kind of mattress is easier to get rid of. But, if old mattresses are recycled or upcycled, they won’t end up in a landfill.
Eco-Friendly Mattress Choices
There are lots of different kinds of mattresses. Some of them are made in ways that help protect people and the environment. The ones that are the most environmentally friendly are made with materials that are natural and/or organic. These materials don’t have chemicals on them that could hurt you. Not all mattresses are made of the same things, but each type of mattress can have parts that are environmentally friendly like:
- Foam made with plant-based oils instead of chemicals
- Cotton or wool covers made with organic fibers that haven’t been treated with chemicals
- Natural latex that is made from the sap of the rubber tree
- Special covers called fire socks that are made from natural materials like wood, cotton, or thistle
Of all the different kinds of mattresses, natural latex mattresses are the most environmentally friendly and biodegradable. The latex used to make these mattresses is made from the sap of a rubber tree. Some of these mattresses are 95 percent organic, making them better for you and the environment.
Recycle Old Mattresses
Mattresses are full of stuff that can be used to make other things. Some of the parts of the mattress that can be recycled are:
- Steel: Some mattresses have steel springs inside. After the mattress has been taken apart, the springs can be melted down to make things like car parts or roof tiles.
- Foam: Foam makes a mattress soft and comfortable. It can be removed from the mattress, cut into tiny pieces, and used to make carpet padding or the padding in car seats.
- Fabric: Fabric covers the whole mattress to keep everything inside and make it feel comfortable. After it’s taken off the mattress, it can be shredded and turned into thread to make fabric for new things.
Upcycle or Repurpose
Sometimes you can upcycle or repurpose a mattress, which means you can use for something other than sleeping. The springs from the inside of a mattress make a grid that some people turn into light fixtures, room dividers, or plant stands. Other people use the foam from the inside of the mattress to make a cushion or bed for their pets. Sometimes all it takes is a little creative thinking to keep something out of the landfill.
About the Author:
Rick Blanchard is an expert on sleep product materials and manufacturing for BestMattressReviews.com. His research covers the entire life cycle of mattresses and bedding, including production, wear over time, and disposal. Rick lives in Tarrytown, New York.