The recycle containers most people use at their homes have long been a convenient source to easily recycle manageable items. But what happens when people are reminded that most of the contents in a mattress can also be recycled? For decades, the disposal of a mattress meant dumping it at a local landfill when better care could have been given on recycling the inner materials.
How do those particular mattress materials become recyclable?
Current Pick-Up Methods
Some thrift stores are willing to pick up your mattress to recycle. However, many don’t, so you may have to look for a drop-off site if you can find one in your local area. In some cases, your mattress can simply be given away to be re-used by someone else. Although don’t even think about doing that if your mattress is overly worn or has stains.
Materials That Are Recyclable
The foam, springs and wood inside a mattress can be taken out of a mattress for recycling in various useful ways. According to the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, a mattress has roughly 38% cotton as the most extensive material. The metal part of the mattress generally makes up 30%, and under 10% of the mattress is foam or wool. Overall, the steel inside mattresses can weigh up to 25 pounds.
Where the Steel from the Springs Go
This part of the mattress is considered to be the most valuable. If you can tear the springs out of your mattress on your own, you can make money selling it off to a recycling center. Regardless, it’s very tough to remove mattress springs without professional tools.
Once the steel coils are removed from a mattress, they’re typically sold off to places that melt steel down for other uses. That means the metal you see in other products might have had a prior life as metal springs in a mattress.
Where the Cotton, Foam, and Wood Go
The wood from a mattress can also be sold off to companies that chip wood to use as fuel. As useful as that is, the cotton and foam can also be reused right back in the home: As material in carpet padding or insulation. That ultimately gives your mattress in your abode a sense of full circle.
The Chances of Easier Mattress Recycling
Connecticut recently became the first state in the United States to enact legislation on the proper recycling of mattresses. Will this snowball in the future to other states so the age of recycling a mattress will be made much easier? Eventually, we may see a recycling container on every street corner allowing you to recycle your mattress in a less obtrusive way.Image: http://freedigitalphotos.net