When it comes to living sustainably, there are few things more important than disposing of our waste in an ethical and environmentally-friendly way. This includes the items we use in and around our homes, such as pillows – but are pillows recyclable or should they be thrown away as garbage? In this blog post, we'll explore the topic of pillow recycling as well as provide readers with information on how to dispose of their pillows sustainably.
Are pillows recyclable?
Pillows are usually made from a combination of materials, including foam, fiberfill, fabric, feathers and down. Unfortunately, these materials are difficult to separate from each other during the recycling process so pillows cannot be recycled as a whole. This means that most recycling centers won't accept them - even if they have the right recycling symbols printed on them.
It's important to note that textile recycling rates in Canada and the USA are very low - meaning that there are very few companies willing to take used textiles such as pillows for reuse or upcycling. Donation stores also don’t accept pillows due to hygiene risks posed by bed bugs and other pests.
Natural fillings can be composted
That said, there are still ways that you can give your old pillows a new life without sending them straight into landfill. If your pillow has natural stuffing like wool or bamboo, organic cotton or down feathers then these can be composted – provided that you have access to a composting facility near you. You could also shred any fabrics for use in other household items like carpet padding, insulation or industrial cleaning rags.
Read also: Can bamboo pillows be washed?
Foam pillows are garbage
The one caveat is foam pillows which contain harmful chemicals and are really hard to recycle. Sadly landfill is usually the best option here but if possible try using other materials instead when buying pillows in future – such as those filled with buckwheat hulls or kapok fiber for example.
The harmful chemicals used in pillows is also one of the reasons why you can't burn pillows.
Alternative uses for old pillows
Although standard donation centers won't welcome your old pillows due to hygiene reasons, most animal charities and animal shelters will be pleased to receive your worn pillows and other bedding to use in the care of their animals.
Also, you may choose to use the fillings from your pillows for your own crafts, such as making door stops, and insulated covers, or simply just re-cover them and use them to sit on.
Read also: Why do pillows turn yellow?
Conclusion: Are pillows recyclable or garbage?
In summary, while some types of pillows can be recycled or reused there aren’t always many options available and landfill remains an unfortunately common final destination for many old pillows. So if you do plan on replacing yours anytime soon make sure to buy responsibly sourced ones that will last longer before they need replacing – preferably ones with natural stuffing rather than foam!