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By John Broetje | Blog | Dec 20, 2013
During the excitement of having your new mattress delivered, you might not care what happens to that old, back-pain-inducing one once that’s hauled away.
However, each year in the U.S., 40 million mattresses are disposed of, and a mattress can take up as much as 40 cubic feet in a landfill – making it that much more important to recycle your old one.
Not only that, they also create a dangerous environment for workers in landfills, because their bulky shapes can create flammable air pockets and damage equipment. Additionally, most recycling centers won’t accept mattresses, because they lack the technology to disassemble them.
So what is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your old mattress? Although it’s a bit difficult to do, recycling is the best option since at least 85 percent of a mattress can be recycled.
Mattress designs have been perfected over the years, but they all contain several main components. Although the intricate assembly of a mattress makes it more difficult to recycle, once disassembled, mattresses are made up of materials that are very easy and lucrative to recycle.
Steel springs, a wood frame, stuffing and fabric with buttons — all of these things can be recycled or reused. Steel in particular is a great material for recycling. The cost of recycling steel has decreased so much you could actually make money from melting down the steel springs and selling the resulting steel supply. Mattresses have anywhere from 300 to 600 steel coils depending on the size of mattress you have. The higher quality the mattress, the more coils it will have. If you own a high-quality king-size mattress, it would be a shame not to recycle it.
Additionally, the stuffing of a mattress, which is made up of cotton and foam, can be recycled or reused for stuffing pillows, reupholstering furniture, or even recycled and used in carpet padding. The wood frame can either be shredded and used as lawn mulch or disassembled and used for firewood or in carpentry word. Even the fabric and buttons can be reused, as long as the fabric has been cleaned. Specialty mattresses like the Tempur-pedic and memory foam can be recycled because they’re made up of the same basic materials.
Box springs can also be recycled at recycling facilities where these bulky items are accepted. They are fed into a special machine where a specifically designed saw rips away the soft materials on the top and bottom, separating the mattress and box springs into its components. The springs are pulled away with magnets and the foam and cotton stuffing are grouped together and shredded for another use. With the right technology, a mattress can be recycled in just four minutes.
Although recycling mattresses is a necessary and worthwhile task, it is not the easiest one to accomplish. While sustainability and green thinking have spread like wildfire, and recycling centers have popped up across the globe, there is still a shortage of centers that can recycle mattresses. Most recycling centers do not have the technology to recycle mattresses. Those that do generally charge a fee to accept your mattress and the majority of mattress recycling centers only deal with corporations, and don’t allow the general public to donate their mattresses for recycling because the cost of receiving them one at a time is too high.
So what is a tree hugger with an extra mattress to do?
First, search the Internet to see if there is a recycling center in your area that will allow you to drop off your mattress. Resources like Earth911.com and the International Sleep Products Associate can help you locate one in your area. Just make sure you call them to ensure they accept mattresses from the general public.
If a mattress recycling center in your area is not an option, there’s always do-it-yourself recycling. If you’re crafty, a carpenter, or know someone who is, you could disassemble a mattress and reuse the materials on your own. If you’re looking for some extra cash, you might even try to sell the steel coils from your mattress to a junk yard or as scrap metal. You could also donate the stuffing and foam to a school’s home economics class for a project. Additionally, check for second hand shops in your area that might buy old mattresses.
Finally, if you want to recycle your mattress with the least amount of effort, ask the retailer selling you your new mattress if they have a recycling program. They may already have a relationship with a mattress recycling center that disposes all of the old mattresses they haul away. Since everyone seems to be jumping on the green bandwagon, it’s very likely that a retailer near you already has an established recycling program. Just call around and find out the details before your purchase your new mattress.
At Mattress Depot USA, we are the only mattress retailer in the state who has a special partnership with mattress recycling facilities. Therefore, when you buy from us we will remove your old mattress with the delivery of your new one and recycle it for you.* So you can rest assured that your old mattress is not clogging up our landfills. Some of our mattress manufacturers even make their mattresses out of those recycled materials, helping to utilize those materials and keeping the mattress life cycle thriving.
For more information about local mattress recycling programs you can visit your local county website. If you are in King County here is the link:
* A recycle fee applies and is collected at time of purchase
Article source: http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/green/environmentally-friendly-dispose-old-mattresses2.htm