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4 Ways to Recycle or Reuse Memory Foam Mattresses and Bedding

Do you need to get rid of your memory foam mattress, pillows, or topper?

Then you might be wondering if memory foam mattresses or other memory foam bedding products are recyclable or not.

Memory foam mattresses, toppers, and pillows can be recycled. The most convenient way to recycle your memory foam mattress, topper, or pillow is to find a recycling center and have them pick up your bedding products (for a fee).

But what if you can’t find a recycling centre near you?

Then the next best way to dispose of your memory foam bedding products is to donate them – providing that they are in good enough condition.

Failing that, you can repurpose your memory foam bedding for other uses around your home.

See below to find out the exact steps to take.

Custom Infographic Showing 4 Ways to Recycle or Reuse Memory Foam Bedding.

4 Ways to Recycle Memory Foam Mattresses and Bedding

Memory foam can be recycled [1].

However, memory foam is made from polyurethane; a polymer of plastic that once manufactured into a foam cannot be broken down to make a non-foam, polyurethane product – it can only be shredded to make new memory foam or other foam-based products like the padding for car seats [2].

For example, a memory foam mattress can’t be recycled to make a non-foam product like a watchband, and must instead be cut up using a machine to be repurposed – as shown in the video below.

Foam, latex, memory foam and viscoelastic mattress and mat recycling (Lidem Machines)

Furthermore, a large amount of manual work is required to actually get the memory foam out of the mattress – pushing up time and costs to the point where manufacturers of memory foam products typically find it cheaper to create them from scratch using fresh polyurethane.

This means that whilst memory foam toppers and pillows are easier to recycle than a memory foam mattress because you don’t have to cut through several deeper layers to get to the memory foam, there’s typically not much demand for reclaimed memory foam.

This can make it difficult to find a recycling center near you that will take your memory foam mattress, topper, or pillows.

But it is possible.

And in the rest of this article, I’m going to show you 4 ways to recycle or otherwise dispose of your memory foam mattress, pillows, or topper in a way that’s more eco friendly than just dumping them in the trash.

1: Recycle Your Memory Foam Bedding Via a Center

Throwing a memory foam mattress, topper, or pillow into the garbage or dumping them in a landfill site can often be harmful to the environment because some memory foam mattresses contain harmful chemicals like PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) which are used as flame retardants [3].

So the most eco-friendly way to dispose of your memory foam products is by finding a nearby recycling center.

If you’re specifically trying to get rid of a memory foam mattress in California, Connecticut, or Rhode Island in the US then search for the nearest Bye Bye Mattress facility here.

Or you can also use the Earth911 search solution here anywhere in North America to find a recycling center using your zip code, whilst also specifying exactly what you need recycling – such as mattresses, latex foam pillows, and other non-memory foam related items like asbestos, cell phones, acids, and much more.

Once you’ve found a location, you’ll typically be able to take the items yourself or have them picked up for a fee.

If you live in the UK, check out Collect Your Old Bed here – they specialise in collecting mattresses, bases, headboards, and frames, and recycling them.

It’s really easy to use – just enter your postcode, specify what you need removing, and then finalise your order.

A single mattress costs just £32.99 to remove, and you can get rid of a mattress, divan base, and headboard starting from £58.99.

2: See if the Manufacturer Offers a Recycling Program

It may be worth contacting the manufacturer of your current memory foam mattress, topper, or pillow and asking them if they offer a recycling program.

If they do, then they may be able to recycle your memory foam products through a buy-back or disposal agreement.

A good place to start is the manufacturer’s warranty, although you may find it easier to pull up their website and talk to them directly through live chat or a contact form.

Alternatively, if you’re buying a new mattress then ask the retailer if they offer old mattress disposal as part of the delivery arrangement – which could save you a lot of hassle.

If you’re ordering online, Casper and Emma will remove your old mattress for you and in the UK, Argos offer mattress recycling [4].

Similarly, when making a new purchase in-store (online doesn’t count), Ikea will remove your old mattress, bed, or sofa, for £20 [5].

3: Donate Your Memory Foam Bedding

If your memory foam bedding is in fairly decent condition then donating it may be an option.

For example, good quality memory foam mattresses tend to last around 6-8 years (latex mattresses can last up to 8-12 years).

And if yours isn’t sagging, heavily indented, stained, or infested with bed bugs, then you may be able to give it away – along with your topper or pillows if you have them and they are also in good nick.

The best thing to do is contact a local charity and ask them FIRST if they would be interested in taking your old memory foam mattress or bedding items (don’t just turn up with them because they’ll have to throw your stuff out and it will be a big hassle – plus it’s pretty rude).

You’ll typically find that lightly used mattresses in good condition will be accepted by the Salvation Army (scheduled pick up), Goodwill Industries (drop off locations), Habitat for Humanity, and Furniture Bank Association (pick up in a 15 – 20 mile radius).

In the UK, the British Heart Foundation will accept mattresses and upholstered bed bases with fire labels – click here to book a free collection.

4: Repurpose Your Memory Foam Bedding

If you can’t get rid of your memory foam bedding then another option is to reuse it for something else.

For example, if you have pets then one of the best ways to repurpose your old memory foam mattress is to cut it up and put a blanket over it to create a dog/cat bed.

You can see exactly how to do this by watching the video below.

Reusing A Memory Foam Mattress As An Inexpensive DIY Dog Bed (Elana Rose)

If you don’t have pets then another way to reuse your old memory foam mattress is to use it as a trundle bed if you have a trundle frame.

Or you could cut the foam into small pieces and use them as the padding for a beanbag chair.

Also, traditional memory foam tends to retain heat – which makes memory foam bedding potentially useful as a cushion or support when camping in cooler climates (although a memory foam mattress can freeze or become very hard if the temperature drops below 32°F (0°C)).

If you have a chair that’s becoming a bit worn or uncomfortable, memory foam pillows can make excellent lumbar support items and you can cut sections out of your old memory foam mattress or topper for the same purpose.

Conclusion: Plenty of Options For Memory Foam Disposal

As tempting as it may be to just chuck your old memory foam bedding away – there are plenty of more eco-friendly ways to either recycle or reuse your old memory foam mattresses, pillows, or toppers.

Here’s a summary of your options:

  • Find a recycling centre that takes memory foam bedding.
  • Find a disposal service.
  • Ask your current bedding/mattress manufacturer if they offer a recycling program.
  • When buying a new mattress, ask the retailer if they will remove your old mattress.
  • Donate your mattress or bedding to a charity.
  • Repurpose your old memory foam bedding into a pet bed, trundle mattress, or lumbar support item.

If you have any additional suggestions for recycling or reusing memory foam bedding then feel free to leave them in the comments section below to help others.


Sources and References

[1] Wikipedia – List of polyurethane applications. Accessed 29/5/20.

[2] Earth911 – Recycling Mystery: Memory Foam. Accessed 29/5/20.

[3] Tree Hugger – Ask Pablo: How Bad Is Memory Foam? Accessed 29/5/20.

[4] Argos – Which Products do You Install or Recycle and How Much Does it Cost? Accessed 29/5/20.

[5] Ikea – Removal & Recycling. Accessed 29/5/20.

[6] BHF – What to Donate. Accessed 29/5/20.

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