Getting Rid of Mattresses: A Global Environmental Nightmare

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Getting Rid of Mattresses: A Global Environmental Nightmare

Most landfills are in crisis mode so sending your old, used mattress to “the dump” should be your last resort. It’s generally accepted that mattresses can take 80 to 120 years before they fully decompose. Those “memory foam” mattresses will take much longer with estimates up to 1,000 years! This Earth Day, we focus on the problem of getting rid of old mattresses and offer some real solutions for your consideration.

At SAMINA, we think every day should be Earth Day. Our support of the planet underlies everything we do from sustainability to carbon neutral production. Sadly, not everyone makes mattresses the way we do using natural, renewable and organic materials. Man-made materials used in conventional mattresses are just hazardous garbage.

“Mattresses are a global environmental nightmare.”

This was the conclusion made by The Guardian in their 2020 article called, “The mattress landfill crisis: how the race to bring us better beds led to a recycling nightmare”.[1] Alone in the United States, people throw away about 20 million mattresses every year. The online foam mattress competition has only amplified the mattress waste problem. Yet there are only 56 mattress recycling centers in the USA and they are challenging to find no matter where in the world you live.

F-Waste is highly problematic.

“Known in the industry as “f-waste”, furniture waste is often overlooked by businesses and consumers because it’s generated less frequently than other types of waste. Yet furniture waste disposal is highly problematic,…it often gets dumped illegally, and eight times out of 10 simply ends up in a landfill.”[2]

According to Canadian Mattress Recycling, a “toxic sludge builds up in the landfill’s soil” from the mattresses in landfills releasing toxic chemicals from the fire retardants and various foams. In combination with environmental exposures, “the chemicals from your bed end up in water systems, polluting the environment.”[3]

After learning this, we hope you understand the importance of buying organic, biodegradable mattresses and furniture for your home. Prevention is the best solution once again. But how can you get rid of your old toxic mattress right now?

Mattress recycling and other options.

You can prevent your mattress and other stuffed furniture, tables, and chairs from ending up in landfills by donating to non-profit organizations, reputable recycling centers, or as a last resort, a proper waste disposal service. The states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California all have state laws to make mattress recycling free or very low cost. Every resident in these states should take advantage of their local mattress recycling centers and services.

There really are only four options to get rid of an old, used mattress.

  1. Consider giving your mattress away to friends and family in need.
  2. Donate the mattress to a reputable non-profit organization where your bed could be put to good use.
  3. Recycling mattresses involves giving away to an organization that will tear the mattress apart separating the component materials for repurposing.
  4. Last, consider responsible disposal through the community waste removal service or a professional “junk removal” company in your community.

Finding charities that accept mattress donations and mattress recycling centers can be a challenge anywhere you live. As stated earlier, 56 mattress recycling centers in the USA is far too few for the population and almost 20 million mattresses thrown away each year. That’s why this Earth Day, we’ve put together a resource guide, “How to Get Rid of Old Mattresses: A Resource Guide for Responsible People” so you can get rid of your mattress (and other furniture) responsibly. Please share this free resource. Happy Earth Day!