A new bed can be expensive and an old mattress is often difficult to dispose of.
A million mattresses going to landfill, every year
Dilemmas arise at both ends of the life cycle of a bed. Australian householders usually replace their mattresses every 10-15 years, resulting in over a million mattresses ending up in landfill every year.
Mattresses contain a variety of materials such as: foam, wood, metal, filler, matting, plastics and mixed fibre fabrics. Once separated these materials can be recycled into other products, including: carpet underlay, wood and coconut fibre mulch, and fabric stuffing in a variety of products. All metals removed can be sent to scrap metal recyclers. Some mattresses still in good condition can be cleaned and refurbished ready for reuse.
I have just been through the process of acquiring a ‘new’ bed for my guest room. Brand new off the showroom floor was not an option. I wanted to find the most sustainable option for my pocket, my guests’ comfort and very importantly for the environment.
A ‘second hand’ mattress?
I considered accepting a second hand bed through freecycle (local groups where people give unwanted stuff away to others who can use it rather than send their stuff to landfill), only what I needed was not available within my time limit.
I was also concerned about the issue of hygiene and the condition of the bed when considering a second hand mattress.
A clean, recycled option
I’m an avid op-shopper, and had noticed Vinnies selling new mattresses. A closer look revealed the mattresses and ensemble bases are made with new and recycled materials by Land Saver exclusively for welfare organisations.
The outer covers are made from new materials while the inner sprung mattress contains recycled wadding and foam padding which has been cleaned, sanitised and ozone treated (removing any bacteria and odours).
All three of my original considerations of cost, comfort and environment were met, the bed arrived in time for my guest and they attest to having slept very comfortably.
After this success I did a bit of research for you to find where mattresses and bed bases are being collected for recycling and who in Australia is manufacturing recycled beds.
- I found mattress recycling collections in Sydney, Melbourne & Australia wide.
- Most Australian states have recycled mattress manufacturers, as I found in these locations: Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Perth, and Queensland.
I am always excited when I find useful products made from recycled materials. We are living in a time of change and transition where waste is becoming valued as a resource and innovation is helping to reduce our consumption of the Earth’s finite resources.
- Marta Lett
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