Image Credit: congerdesign
For many years it was recommended that you change your mattress every 10 years, however in recent years the Sleep Council and the mattress industry have started to suggest changing your mattress after only 7 or 8 years of use.
Well, they would say that wouldn’t they?
The Sleep Council, who describe themselves as “an impartial organisation that looks at how you can adopt healthier sleep habits and focuses on raising awareness of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing” are the consumer education arm of the National Bed Federation, the trade association for British bed manufacturers.
Mattress manufacturers, naturally enough, want you to buy more mattresses.
So before you get rid of that mattress, the most environmentally friendly thing to do is ask yourself if you really need a new one. Yes, if the springs are sticking in your back or your bed is uncomfortable you absolutely do need to replace your mattress, but don’t feel you have to just because an advertisement from a mattress retailer told you to!
If your mattress is still usable you could give it to someone who could use it:-
So what if your mattress is not in good enough condition to reuse? What is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of your old one?
The good news is that a mattress is 100% recyclable, yet sadly only around 16% are actually recycled in the UK. The rest are incinerated or sent to landfill.
If you are buying a mattress from a large retailer, they probably will offer to take your old mattress away, either for free or for a small charge. Large retailers such as Dreams, Marks and Spencer, Mattress Online and John Lewis amongst others will take away your old mattress for recycling when you buy a new one from them, for a small charge. You will need to book this when you order your mattress.
Other retailers may take away your mattress, but that doesn’t mean it will be recycled; it will probably go to landfill unless they state that the mattress is recycled.
If you just need to get rid of a mattress without buying a new one there are a number of commercial companies that will take a mattress away for a fee. Some of these are specialists in mattress disposal who will state whether they send mattresses for recycling.
You can ask your local council if they will collect your old mattress. You will normally be charged for this, you will probably have to leave the mattress outside your property and your mattress will probably go to landfill.
You can also take your mattress to your local household recycling centre; again it will probably go to landfill.
The mattress is taken apart, usually by hand in an extremely labour intensive procedure, hence the higher cost of sending your mattress for recycling. The springs have to be removed to be sent for metal recycling. The foam can be recycled to make carpet underlay.
At present the textile material is difficult to recycle and will generally be used as a fuel in an energy-to-waste facility.
However an innovative new machine, the first of its type, has been developed by The Furniture Recycling Group which automates the removal of springs from old pocket spring mattresses.