How to Recycle Your Mattress and Other Awkward Items

How to Recycle Your Mattress and Other Awkward Items
Overture Films

Hello, hack fans! I’m not sure if you’re aware, but this week is National Recycling Week, so I thought I’d load you up with as much recycling info as humanly possible.

A little earlier on we looked at how to dispose of batteries the correct way, and before that, we looked at how to properly get rid of oil and grease (not down the drain).

Today, we’re talking about a few household items you may not have known you could recycle. In particular, your mattress.

Being a tad on the ignorant end when it comes to recycling myself, I wanted to learn as much on this as possible. So I did some research, and chatted with someone much more clued up than I am. I sought out the advice of Maree Lowes, Aussie actress and eco-warrior (she’s currently studying her Masters in Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development – niceeee).

Here’s what I learnt:

How To Recycle A Mattress

According to Planet Ark, mattresses are one of the biggest contributors to landfill in Australia. Once it’s time to bring in a new one, a lot of people assume they have no choice but to send old mattresses to the tip.

“Each year in Australia around 1.6 to 1.8 million mattresses are sent to landfill and each mattress takes up 0.75 cubic metres of space,” Planet Ark writes.

On this, Lowes said:

“A number of mattress recyclers operate in Australia for our old mattress. The bits in our mattresses are resources, too – like wood, springs and foam. They can be recycled into lots of different products and kept out landfill.”

Soft Landing is one example. They take old mattresses out from landfill and recycle those useful bits. From here, the timber, springs and foam in your old bed will be turned into things like woodchips, scrap metal (used in building infrastructure and appliances) and carpet underlay. Pretty cool, hey?

It’s also useful to know that when you want to recycle your mattress, there are services (like Soft Landing) that will collect or drop off items for you.

Additionally, if the mattress is in great condition, you can enquire with local charities to see if they might want to accept it as a donation.

What Else Are We Getting Wrong?

Other items we’re not disposing of correctly include soft plastics and coffee pods, Lowes shared.

“New research commissioned by the folks at Kellogg’s Australia revealed 85 per cent of the nation aren’t aware that soft plastics, like cereal liners, can be recycled,” she said.

“Other soft plastics we may not realise can be recycled include grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, plastic wrappers of products such as biscuits, or chips.”

To dispose of these, Lowes suggests waiting until you’ve built up a bit of a collection, then tossing them in the REDcycle drop-off bin at your local supermarket.

Lastly, coffee pods. Many of us don’t realise but “there are actually more than 22,000 collection points throughout Australia in shopping centres, and you can also get a Bulk Recycling Box for your workplace,” Lowes shared.

Small changes like these have a big impact if they’re adopted by all of us. So, let’s keep learning about responsible recycling and look after our environment a little better.

Log in to comment on this story!