Sleep News

Can your Mattress be Zero Waste?

An image of Lois Cuckson
23 Sep 20184 min read

It’s been the hot-button word on every hipster millennial’s lips. The Zero Waste movement stands in opposition to the plastic-reliant, throwaway culture of the late 20th and 21st Century.

Aiming to minimise waste across all aspects of life, followers of this lifestyle embrace a positive, ‘make do and mend’ attitude as well as rejecting items such as disposable cups and single-use cutlery. But there’s so much more to it than bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel water bottles. For instance, have you ever thought about your mattress being zero waste?

If you are a die-hard Zero-Waster, you may balk at the National Bed Federation’s recommendation that your mattress should be replaced every seven years. In fact, the idea of such a large item going to landfill may make you feel faint. And haven’t we all seen a sad-looking mattress, rotting at the side of the road or in someone’s front garden?

Piles of mattresses that have been fly tipped next to a field.

To avoid this happening, you may feel tempted to ignore this advice and hang on to your mattress for as long as possible or accept an old one from a friend. Unfortunately, this well-intended will to reuse old mattresses can lead to harm.

Why shouldn't I re-use an old mattress, or keep the one I have?

Over its recommended lifespan of seven years, your mattress will absorb two full bath-tubs of bodily fluids (and if you’re lucky, that’s just sweat). And the less said about the three kilograms of dead skin, the better!

Mattresses are not intended to be reused for hygiene reasons and after over 2500 nights (or 7 years) of supporting a body, any mattress will begin to show signs of wear or sagging. Continuing to sleep on an old mattress can precipitate or worsen back conditions and joint pain. Find out more about when to replace your mattress.

Some online forums will recommend that you purchase a series of mattress toppers, rather than investing in a new mattress. Although we do recommend mattress toppers to add a little extra comfort or support where needed, they are no substitute for a fresh, supportive mattress. Given we spend almost one-third of our lives asleep, isn’t it worth investing in your body and your health?

How do I take advantage of the recycling scheme?

It’s easy.

  1. When you order a new mattress with us, select the option to have your old mattress recycled.
  2. A small fee of £25 is applied at the checkout, which is still less than what most councils would charge for removal - or your local man-with-a-van!
  3. Our delivery drivers will then take it away for you.

How will my mattress be recycled?

After collection, the mattresses are stripped down to their component parts.

  • 51% of the raw materials contained within most mattresses is steel, which they send straight back to the mill for reprocessing. Simple as that!
  • They take textile-based fabrics such as outer covers, sanitise and recycle them where possible back into the textile industry.
  • Foam mattresses are treated and cleaned and then distributed to be made into underlays for carpet.
  • They then take natural fillings such as wool or cotton and repurpose them into housing insulation.

So you see, there are so many possibilities for your old, used mattress - other than giving you a constant supply of backache!

How many people are recycling their mattresses?

The UK population disposes of 8 million mattresses every year. Despite our best efforts, many of those will end up going to landfill.

Over 20% of our customers opt into our mattress recycling scheme. This is amazing, but we’d like to see even more mattresses being recycled. Just think: you can treat your body to the best support possible while protecting our environment at the same time!

So when it next becomes time for you to change your mattress, bear our recycling scheme in mind. And if that time has already come, don’t worry - you needn't sacrifice your Zero Waste principles to be comfy!

Are you interested in recycling and the surprising ways in which you can help save the planet? Take our online quiz to find out what type of recycler you are and receive more helpful eco-friendly hints!