Recycling is a hot topic and over the past few years it has become part of our everyday life.
We separate our rubbish into the relevant bins, we are swapping plastic shampoo bottles for shampoo bars or own bottle refills and packaging is slowly going from the supermarket. We are becoming more concerned about single use plastics with many of us planning to shop more sustainably.
But do you ever wonder where your old mattress ends up?
Did you know?
- More than 7.3 million mattresses are being disposed of in a year
- Currently around 20% of these are recycled – 1.4 million
- That means nearly 6 million mattresses are being sent to landfill or incinerated every year
- Mattresses take up 10 times more landfill space compared to other wastes
(Source: End of Life Mattress Report 2019, Oakdene Hollins)
Many are shocked at the reality and the environmental impact of beds going to landfill. There is a lot of work going on in the background to make mattress recycling more widely available and things are improving – 55% more mattresses are being handled by recyclers in three years (2015-17).
And the population keeps growing which means mattresses numbers won’t go down. In fact our research shows that three-quarters of people replace their bed every 10 years, with the mean replacement being every 6.9 years, so with more mattresses being discarded, ethically recycling is more important than ever.
Mattress recycling is growing though – driven by you and businesses wanting to be ‘greener’, but also the limitations of continuing to send mattresses to landfill.
As part of Recycle Week, we thought we would share with you our recycling policy (launched last year) where we announced an ambitious target of diverting 75% of old mattresses from landfill by 2028. We are working hard with our members to think more about sustainability but also with the UK government to increase mattress recycling rates.
How are mattresses recycled?
Depending on the mattress you may be able to recycle it all. Firstly, the mattress is taken apart. Any springs can be sent for metal recycling, foam may be recycled for carpet underlay or sent to a waste-to-energy plant, along with textile material such as mattress covers.
Visit our Sustainability & Mattress Disposal page to find out how to recycle your mattress.
First published 26.09.19, updated on 03.01.24