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Earth-Friendly Mattress Buying and Recycling Guide

Updated: October 3, 2023

Written by

Danielle Hayes

earth-friendly mattress buying guide
The first Earth Day was held in 1970, meaning that we're fast approaching its 50 year anniversary. An estimated 1 billion people take part in Earth Day activities across 192 countries each year. Come April 22nd, we're reminded to consider how our actions affect the planet we live on, and what we can do to help keep the Earth going for as long as possible. For many of us, Earth Day activities mean attended awareness events or sharing a meme on Facebook about how we can save the planet by giving up straws. And, while these are all well-intentioned and will make a small difference, there’s so much more we could be doing. In today’s consumer-focused world, one of the main things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and help our little Earth keep healthy is to shop responsibly. This goes beyond ditching single-use plastic (although you definitely should). It means choosing ethically sourced products and recycling whenever possible. And where better to start than with your mattress?

Environmental Impact of Mattresses

As Americans, we throw away 15 to 20 million mattresses every single year. These can take up around 132,000 miles of landfill space. Many of you might think that this is inevitable. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. As with a lot of products nowadays, some mattresses can be recycled, helping to avoid further filling up these already mountainous landfills. Because of the design elements of mattresses, they are really not well-suited to being left in landfills. As machines attempt to compact the trash, the springiness of mattresses hinders this process. Those very springs are likely to fall out and damage the equipment being used.  In some landfill sites, mattresses are even considered specialized trash, meaning they will charge higher amounts simply to take them. reuse reduce recycle

Mattress Recycling - What Can You Do?

If it’s time to upgrade your mattress, this is usually because you’ve got as much use out of your old one as possible. It’s worn out, uncomfortable, and practically unusable. If this isn’t the case, then you should consider who else might benefit from your old mattress. Family or friends that are moving to a new home could benefit from a free mattress, or you could donate it to a homeless shelter to help out those less fortunate. If your mattress really has reached the end of its life, then don’t send it to a landfill unless there is no other option. A wide variety of mattresses can actually be recycled, though this will usually incur a small fee. Sites such as ByeByeMattress have a wealth of information that can help you find out where mattress recycling is available in your state.

Eco-Friendly Mattresses

To make the recycling process even easier on the environment, you should consider looking for an eco-friendly mattress next time you need to refresh your bed. For example, Naturepedic's mattresses are made with the environment in mind. The use of eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, and have numerous certifications including GOTS, GOLS, GreenGuard GOLD, and more. Happsy is another brand that is working hard to make their mattresses as eco-friendly as possible. All of their mattresses are organic (GOTS and GOLS-certified) and they have been awarded various accolades for their green mattresses.

Why Choose an Organic Mattress

Beyond the environmental benefits, organic mattresses have a multitude of additional benefits for you, the user. Organic mattresses are hypoallergenic by nature, so they are ideal for anyone who suffers from allergies as they can help you have a more restful nights sleep. This is because they don’t use any harsh chemicals, there are no pesticide residues, and they use non-toxic materials throughout. Because they are made of such wholesome, organic materials they also help to keep the air within your home cleaner and fresher. Overall, they are ideal for improving your sleep quality as well as reducing your carbon footprint. organic-mattress

4 Ways to Make Your Mattress Last Longer

Once you’ve purchased your eco-friendly mattress, you’ll want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. The longer you keep your mattress in good health, the longer between needing to recycle and buy new mattresses. In other words: the lower the environmental impact. There are a few simple ways that you can do this.

1. Use a Mattress Protector

From the first to the last night you sleep on your green mattress, you should be using a mattress protector. This extra layer helps to keep your mattress in good health. It protects against stains from spills and accidents, while also keeping dirt and debris at bay. This enables the materials making up your mattress last as long as possible.

2. Properly Support Your Mattress

Different mattress sizes and styles need different levels of support. When you purchase your mattress, you should check with the retailer what kind of support you need to maintain your mattress properly. Does it need a particular base or can you just lie your mattress on the floor? Larger mattresses will need more support, and you may need to modify your bedframe if it doesn’t have the necessary elements.

3. Rotate Regularly

The longer you lie in one position, the more your mattress begins to mold to your shape. While this may sound like the perfect comfort situation, it can actually be the total opposite. Every few months, you should rotate your mattress 180 degrees to help avoid these indentations from taking form. While many manufacturers say this is not necessary, it always helps to keep things in top condition.

4. Let Your Mattress Breathe

Every now and then, when you have a bright and sunny day, strip all your bedding from your mattress and give it some time to breathe in the sunlight. This helps to prevent moisture build-up from sweat or humidity while giving the material a literal breath of fresh air.

A Final Word

As Earth Day approaches, make this year count. Enjoy the day, but remember what it’s all about. Make your mattress as eco-friendly as possible, and your action will have benefits for many years. Your sleep will improve, your carbon footprint will decrease, and you’ll help to reduce the amount of trash that we, as a nation, send to landfill sites.

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Danielle Hayes

Danielle is a professional writer and full-time nerd with experience building websites and reviewing lifestyle brands. When she's not writing furiously, she enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons.