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How to Responsibly Dispose of Pillows

4 April 2024
dirty pillows on the bed

When your pillows are no longer as soft and fluffy as they used to be, it may be time to dispose of them and get a replacement. However, many Australians often make the mistake of putting their unwanted pillows in the wrong bin, resulting in potentially dangerous environmental contamination.

So, what’s the responsible way to dispose of your old pillows, and how can you go about doing it? We’ve got some helpful tips on how to deal with your old pillows the right way.

Are pillows recyclable?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. While pillows may seem simple enough to recycle, the truth is that they are filled with flame retardant materials like polyurethane foam and other synthetic materials that can’t be recycled.

how to responsibly dispose of pillows infographics

Polyurethane, or PUR, is the main component of pillows that makes them unrecyclable. In its base form, it is a complex plastic that is considered a form of hazardous waste by The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

What this means is that old pillows cannot be placed into the yellow-lid household recyclables bin. Doing so can cause them to mix the rest of the recyclable materials at a waste processing centre and result in potential environmental contamination.

How to get rid of pillows

Thankfully, the right way for disposing old pillows is not difficult, it just takes a little more intentional effort. Here are four simple ways you can get rid of your pillows in a responsible manner.

1. Put your pillows in the red bin

If you don’t have much of a choice, the red-lid general waste bin is the right way to dispose of your pillows for your local bin collection. However, this method of disposal is not the best as it will eventually cause the old pillows to take up valuable space at a landfill.

Not to mention, disposed pillows also take up quite a bit of space in the bin, making it a problem if you have a lot of household waste to get rid of too.

infographics for how to responsibly dispose of pillows

2. Wait for council clean up

If you’ve got a council clean up coming up, you can make use of it to dispose of your pillows. But considering that there are only a limited number of council clean ups each year for your household, you may have to end up storing the old pillows in your home until the clean-up service becomes available, which can add to the clutter in your home.

3. Book a rubbish removal service

Booking a rubbish removal service is the most effective way to get rid of your old pillows. With a same-day service, your pillows can be collected and disposed of responsibly without much fuss.

Some rubbish removal services also work with community initiatives to ensure that disposed pillows don’t end up in a landfill and are instead taken apart to be sustainably reused in other bedding products.

4. Repurpose or donate your old pillows

Disposing your old pillows doesn’t always means that they have to go to waste. If the material inside your pillows is not dirty and free from pests, you can consider repurposing it by using it as stuffing for a craft project or a pet bed.

Similarly, if your pillows are still in relatively good condition, you can consider donating them to a community initiative or op-shop that can distribute it to the less fortunate, giving it a new lease of life instead of adding to a landfill.

How often should you replace pillows?

Data from the Sleep Foundation shows that pillows last an average of 2-3 years before needing to be replaced. This period is dependent on how often the pillows are washed and cleaned to prevent the build-up of grime and allergens.

There are two practical ways to tell if a pillow needs replacing: by checking if it is sagging or by monitoring your quality of sleep. Sagging is usually a sign that the pillow can no longer provide sufficient support for your head and neck. If you wake up with neck pain or strains, there’s a good chance that your pillow is in need of a replacement.

The value of repurposing old pillows

Repurposing old pillows instead of disposing them at a landfill can help greatly with global sustainability efforts to reduce the amount of waste produced. According to the ABS, over 501,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste was sent to landfills in 2009 to 2010, of which disposed pillows contributed to. Even with Australia ramping up recycling efforts, pillows are still difficult to deal with sustainably, which is why repurposing their unrecyclable filling for other bedding and cushion products is essential in reducing its contribution to waste.

Get rid of old pillows, textiles & bedding with Ridly

Disposing of pillows and other difficult to recycle textile material requires intentional action from all of us. At Ridly, we’re doing our best to help residents across Sydney dispose of their old pillows responsibly by offering affordable and reliable rubbish removal services.

We can collect and responsibly dispose of all types of household rubbish, including old pillows and furniture removal. With round the clock availability across all days of the week, we are the best choice to get rid of your pillows quickly without adding to the problem of dumping in landfills. Contact us today to find out just how cheap and convenient it is to dispose of your pillows in Sydney!

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