Mattresses waste disposal and recycling

When the time has come to dispose of your mattress, you may find yourself at a loss as to how. As mattresses are rather large, it takes much more than simply putting them into the bin. This is why we’ve put this guide together on all you need to know about mattresses, including where you can dispose of a mattress in a manner that reduces both costs and your carbon footprint.

Mattresses waste disposal and recycling

Who invented the mattress?

The earliest form of mattress was first invented approximately 77,000 years ago in Sibudu, South Africa. Found more recently by archaeologists, it was comprised of earthly materials such as grass and leaves. However, in more modern history the first innerspring mattress was created in 1871 by the German inventor Heinrich Westphal.

What are mattresses made from and how are they made?

There are many different ways in which you can make a mattress. For example, you can use a fastened or quilted sheet and fill it with cotton, foam rubber, straw, hair, air or water.

Mattresses are made up of two sections: the support layer and the comfort layer. The comfort layer is wrapped up in a thick fabric (known as the ticking) and does what it says on the tin.

Mattress disposal

You can dispose of your mattress by getting it collected by the company that is delivering the alternative, but this depends on the vendor. You could also dispose of it by getting it collected by the council, taking it to the tip, or by selling it on. Some choose to have it collected by a specialist disposal company. However, you should never dispose of it in a skip or cut it up and put it in a household bin as this can be environmentally damaging.

What happens next?

When you recycle your mattress, it’s broken down into its recyclable components. This means that the springs are melted down so that they can be remade into new parts, whereas the synthetic materials that are used to create the mattress are stripped and can either be recycled into new carpet underlay, or they’re sent to an energy plant.

What are the problems with mattress waste?

Mattress waste can harm the environment. This is because some of the materials that they’re made from – such as plastics, foams, and synthetics – can take centuries to decompose. As they’re decomposing – if mixed with certain types of garbage – chemical and anaerobic reactions can take place and emit dangerous greenhouse gases. Wasted mattresses can also damage the environment as dyes, flame retardant chemicals and fungicides can seep into the ground.

Alternatives to new mattresses

There are lots of alternatives to purchasing a brand new mattress. You could purchase one second-hand, as this can help the environment and cut down on costs as brand new mattresses can be rather expensive. You can do this online by looking at online markets.

Facts about mattresses

– In the UK, around 7.5 million mattresses that we throw away each year end up in the landfill

– In 2017, 8 million units of mattresses were sold – which is an all-time high

– In the UK, only an estimated 19% of mattresses are being recycled

Where can you take mattresses to recycle/dispose of them for free?

It may boost the numbers of mattresses recycled if people knew where to dispose of them for free. Your first port of call would be to take the mattress to your closest recycling tip. However, if they refuse to take it, you could contact your council and pay a small fee to have them come and pick it up. But if you’re wanting an alternative method that doesn’t charge, you may be best taking the mattress to a charity.

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