Mattresses are one of the most common items sent to landfill. But most components of a mattress can be recycled which diverts these large waste items from landfill. Mattresses in good condition can also be cleaned and donated to charities to help them provide low-cost bedding.
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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 in landfill. By recycling mattresses these large waste items can be diverted from landfill and their components, such as wood, foam and springs recycled into a number of products. It can also help reduce waste handling and landfill costs. Additionally mattresses in good condition can be cleaned and donated to charitable organisations helping them to provide affordable bedding.
A number of mattress recyclers operate in Australia who offer both collection and drop-off services. Generally a small fee is associated with these services in order to cover the costs of recycling and or cleaning of the mattresses for reuse.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
Spring, foam and ensemble mattresses can all be recycled effectively. The mattresses are sorted into reusable and recyclable, with the condemned units manually stripped. Components are separated and the timber, foam, wadding, springs and some fabrics and other materials can be recycled.
- Timber: Recovered timber is processed into woodchips and used in the manufacture of particleboard, as animal bedding and mulch.
- Springs: Steel springs are sent to scrap metal merchants where they are melted down and used in buildings and infrastructure, vehicles and appliances.
- Foam: Foam, wadding and latex from inside the mattress is recycled into carpet underlay.