Recycling Mystery: Memory Foam

Recycling Mystery: Memory Foam

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Few issues can refresh your physique like an excellent night time’s sleep, and few merchandise have aligned themselves extra with sound sleep than reminiscence foam. But what occurs once you improve your mattress and must eliminate a reminiscence foam mattress or pillow?

Unfortunately, the recycling marketplace for reminiscence foam is fairly restricted. You see, probably the most beneficial (and subsequently recyclable) part of sleeping supplies is the metallic springs, and lots of reminiscence foam mattresses don’t comprise metallic.

So what’s in a reminiscence foam mattress? Memory foam is a sort of polyurethane, a polymer of plastic additionally used to make products like hoses. The American Chemistry Council estimates that the U.S. produces 300 million pounds of polyurethane foam per year for mattresses alone. This foam can be used as the liner for soccer helmets and in automotive seating, amongst different purposes.

Foam Recycling Challenges

When it involves plastic recycling, there’s an necessary saying to recollect: “Once it goes foam, it could possibly’t go residence.” The recycling course of includes breaking merchandise right down to uncooked materials to maximise their reuse, however you possibly can’t un-foam plastic. So, you possibly can’t flip a polyurethane foam product right into a polyurethane hose. (The similar is true of expanded polystyrene, which you will know by the model identify Styrofoam.)

So, reminiscence foam can’t be damaged right down to the unique plastic polymer. However, it may be shredded and reused to make one other foam product, equivalent to new reminiscence foam or automobile seat padding. The problem is the quantity of labor concerned in reclaiming reminiscence foam. The course of usually includes tearing open the mattress (or one other merchandise) and eradicating foam by hand. This will increase the time and value however maximizes the quantity of fabric reclaimed. Unfortunately, as a result of virgin polyurethane may be produced relatively cheaply, there may be little marketplace for reclaimed reminiscence foam.

For mattress recycling, laws is commonly the very best reply. The Mattress Recycling Council has labored in three states (California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) that handed mattress recycling laws to create collection programs. But that leaves 47 states fending for themselves, and lots of mattress recyclers will solely acquire in bulk from companies.

If you’re buying a new mattress, be sure you ask the shop if they’ll choose up the outdated mattress for recycling after they ship the brand new one.

Recycling Alternatives

If they’re nonetheless in usable form, your greatest wager for eliminating reminiscence foam merchandise is to donate them for reuse. Contact your native second-hand retailer to see in the event that they settle for this stuff. Or, publish on Craigslist or Nextdoor to see if somebody will choose them up. These merchandise usually final over 10 years, so in case your merchandise is new sufficient, you may even be capable of promote it.

It goes with out saying, however don’t donate a mattress or pillow contaminated with mattress bugs or bloodstains. No one can reuse these supplies, so that you’re simply passing the issue to another person.

There are additionally loads of do-it-yourself projects in your outdated reminiscence foam merchandise. This is a wonderful possibility you probably have a small quantity of reminiscence foam, like a pillow or a mattress cowl.

If you possibly can’t donate or reuse these merchandise, contact a junk hauler like 1-800-Got-Junk or College Hunks Hauling Junk to rearrange pickup. These corporations will try to recycle as a lot materials as doable, and also you’ll seemingly produce other merchandise in the home that they’ll haul on the similar time.

Originally revealed on January 30, 2019, this text was up to date in January 2022.