When people think of waste recycling, mattresses are among the last things that come to mind. However, mattresses are among the biggest contributors to environmental degradation. Every year, UAE residents and businesses dispose of thousands of old and/or damaged mattresses that end up in landfills.
Many of these mattresses are perfectly reusable or have parts and contents that can easily be savaged, including springs, stuffing (cotton, wool, latex, etc.), covers, and other scraps. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand why mattress recycling matters or how to recycle mattresses.
Therefore, RECAPP, one of the leading recycling services in the UAE, aims to educate residents and businesses about the different ways they can contribute to saving the environment and adopting more sustainable practices.
In this post, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of mattress recycling and share four ways to recycle old and/or damaged mattresses.
Importance of Mattress Recycling
Below are three reasons why you should recycle old or damaged mattresses instead of tossing them in the trash:
1. Mattresses Take Up More Landfill Space
Disposing of mattresses in a landfill or recycling facility is more challenging compared to other waste types. Mattresses are heavier and occupy around four times more space. Therefore, they can easily take up the space dedicated to other wastes and cause overcapacity issues, prompting landfill teams to reject tons of waste every year.
2. Mattresses Take Decades to Decompose
Most modern mattresses are designed to be extremely durable and last for over a decade if used properly. Therefore, when they’re dumped in a landfill, they don’t decompose too easily and can retain their structural integrity for 50-100 years, depending on the materials used. Therefore, if you visit a landfill in UAE and come across a mattress, chances are it’s been there for decades.
3. Decomposing Mattresses Leach Dangerous Chemicals
Mattresses contain several chemicals that can harm humans and wildlife when released into the environment from landfills. Examples include flame retardants, benzene, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polyols, and more. Moreover, exposed metal springs can easily develop rust and prompt sludge buildup in the soil.
4 Ways to Recycle Old or Damaged Mattresses
Now that you’re well-versed in the environmental impact of mattresses disposed of improperly, here are four ways to recycle old or damaged mattresses:
1. Sell It
The United Arab Emirates has one of the largest online thrift markets where residents can sell anything from electronic devices to clothing, furniture, books, and more. So, if you have an old mattress that’s in good shape and condition, you can easily sell it for cash instead of discarding it. Some of the most popular options include:
2. Donate It
Donating an old or damaged mattress is one of the best ways to prolong its life and help others in need. By opting for donation programs, you can safely dispose of your mattress sustainably. Today, there are several stores, companies, and programs in the UAE where you can pass along mattresses and other furniture items, as well as clothes, books, etc.
Below is a list of the most popular ones:
- Bait Al Khair
- Expat Woman
- Emirates Red Crescent
- Dubai Junk Removal
- 800 Junk Collection
- Dubai Cares
- Holy Trinity Thrift Center
- Maria Christina Foundation, etc.
3. Repurpose Old Mattresses
Just because you’re getting a new mattress doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your old one. Extra mattresses come in handy when you have friends or family staying over. Moreover, if you have decent DIY skills, you can transform your old mattress into a couch, use its springs for decorations, and reuse the stuffing for pillows or cushions. The options are only limited to your imagination.
4. Break Down the Mattress and Recycle the Parts Individually
Finally, if your old mattress is beyond repair and has no salvageable contents, then you should consider breaking it down and recycling the materials individually. For this, you’ll need basic handyman tools, like a saw, wire cutter, utility knife, and boxes for the contents.
Once you have everything ready, start by removing the cord from your mattress’s edge using a knife to get access to the panels. Next, remove the top and bottom layers of fabric until the padding and springs are visible. Finally, cut the springs and remove them safely.
Once you’ve followed these steps, you can segregate the waste into metal, fabric, foam, and other components and look for recycling companies specializing in disposing of these materials. Depending on their services, you can request a pickup or drop the waste off at their facility.
Even if the waste ends up in a landfill, you can rest better knowing you’ve done your due diligence to reduce the mattress’s surface area to simplify the recycling process and reduce waste rejection.
At RECAPP, we do much more than simply collect plastic, paper, aluminum, and other recyclables from households and businesses in the United Arab Emirates. Our team strives to share awareness related to other recycling solutions and services in the region you can take advantage of to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
By learning how to recycle mattresses, you can prevent them from ending up in landfills and increase their overall lifecycle. Landfilling impacts everyone, from residents to businesses and wildlife. So, keeping mattresses and other related products out of them is the right thing to do.