If you are planning to buy a new mattress, the first thing you would need to consider is what to do with your old one. Most people usually think of disposing it off. In recent years, however, disposal of old mattresses has become a critical issue. When people discard their old mattresses it creates a huge problem for landfills. A single mattress can take up to 23 cubic feet of space. There needs to be a better solution than taking your old mattress to your local community waste centre or contacting your local council refuse department to have it removed.
Reusing and recycling are the two most desirable alternatives to the disposal of your old mattress into a landfill. If you want, you could break down your old mattress and use its parts in a number of ways. For instance, the springs could be used as a trellis frame to support climbing plants in your garden. Sometimes the local authorities take an initiative to distribute used/old mattresses to poor families who are unable to afford to buy a new mattress.
Recycling is the best way of disposing off your old mattress. Unfortunately, not much initiative has been taken in this direction. This is really unfortunate, as mattresses have a lot of recyclable materials. Each mattress usually contains 6-8 pounds of polyurethane which could be easily recycled. On recycling, an old mattress also produces foam flakes which could be reused in many ways. Foam powder, produced from recycling mattresses, could be used in high end industrial applications. It is important to address recycling of old mattresses adequately.
If you want to get your old mattress recycled, you could either approach the local authority or your mattress retail store. You could request them to collect your old mattress and send it for recycling. In fact, over the past few years, a few UK companies have come up that offer recycling and waste management services. One such company is Matt:UK. Based at the Landmann Way industrial estate, adjacent to the South East London Combined Heat Power (SELCHP) plant, the company is into recycling 97% of metal, cotton, polyester and felt from mattresses. They procure mattresses from both local authorities and commercial sources.
Matt:UK follows an effective process for recycling mattresses. Each mattress is hand shred on a bespoke table. A specialised cutting tool is used to open them whilst they spun. Polyester, foam, felt and cotton are then separated from the metal produced during the recycling process. The fabric materials are then put into an industrial washing machine and washed at a temperature of 40 degrees. While the metal is usually sold for reprocessing and reuse, fabric materials such as polyester, felt and cotton are used in textile applications and the foam for insulation purposes.
You would need to ask your mattress retailer whether they could take your old mattress and send it for recycling. Currently, there are a few outlets for recycling mattresses in the UK. If there isn’t any mattress recycling facility in your area, then make sure you dispose it in a responsible manner.