Are Air Mattresses Recyclable?

Having an air mattress can solve a bunch of your problems. Be it the arrival of unannounced guests or kids’ sleepovers, you need not look for alternative solutions with an air mattress at the knick of the hour.

However, problems arise when your long-lasting confidant finally develops multiple leaks, rendering it useless. Do you just throw away such a mattress, or are air mattresses recyclable?

If you’re looking for a short answer, then yes air mattresses can be recycled. But the process becomes hard if you own a PVC air mattress. In that case you need to contact your nearest recycling center to seek their professional help.

Are Air Mattresses Recyclable?
Are Air Mattresses Recyclable?

Thanks to environmentally aware individuals, the dumping yards these days are gathering less junk as many people have taken to recycling. Instead of throwing the useless products away, they recycle them, thereby reducing the amount of waste produced; unfortunately, you can’t do the same with your air mattress. 

Generally, recyclable items are determined by the materials they use, and some of them can be dangerous when put into the recycling process.

Air mattresses are made from a plastic called PVC or Polyvinyl chloride. When broken down during the recycling process, it releases toxic chemicals. Besides, it requires additional treatment too during the recycling process. 

Multiple problems might arise while recycling the PVC, grinding it into small pieces, and melting those to create a new product. This entire process, if done mechanically, takes roughly two days to complete and is pretty straightforward; however, most recycling centers don’t accept air mattresses. 

Though the process appears straightforward, the result of the process is unpredictable, and most often, the recycling officers cannot determine what possible outcome it will bring. For instance, additives are also used with PVC to give the mattresses their unique characteristics, like rigidity.

When these additives get recycled, they produce materials that must be thrown away. Besides, PVC itself is also suitable up to a certain percentage and becomes dangerous once that percentage increases. 

However, some recycling centers accept PVC items there, but they are not welcoming toward air mattresses containing PVC. It’s advisable to check at the local recycling center nonetheless. Until you determine whether or not the recycling center near you accepts PVC air mattresses, it would not be a good idea to drop them in the bin. 


What can you do with your old air mattresses? 

Now that we know that recycling your air mattress can get tricky, you need to determine what you want to do with your bed. 

There is nothing like it; if your local recycling center accepts PVC mattresses, you can send them in right away. However, if they don’t accept it, you will have to dispose of the mattress. However, it’s not advisable to throw them away in the bin, as it might damage the sorting machine as mentioned above. 

What can you do with your old air mattresses? 
What can you do with your old air mattresses? 

Ideally, you should deflate the mattress properly, pack it and schedule a pickup. If you have bugs or other pest infestation in your mattress, make sure you take measures to stop the contamination from spreading during transit. Putting the bed up for donation is also an option. 

Recycling process

As mentioned earlier, some places take in PVC mattresses for recycling, and you would be lucky to have found such a place. Following are a few tips you might find helpful. 

Cleaning

Before sending your mattress over to the recycling center, clean all the dirt and mildew. This is an important step and must not be skipped. 

Check the requirement

The recycling centers might have specific requirements, and you should check them up before taking your mattress to the center. For instance, some places only recycle specific materials, so you need to know how to separate them from the whole unit. 

Besides, some centers have particular dates on which they accept PVC items; it’s essential to know about such detail in advance.

Delivery

At this stage, you need to know the delivery date of your mattress. It’s advisable to get professionals to pack it and pick it up. 

These are the standard steps that are followed for recycling PVC mattresses, but there can be more additional and specialized steps depending on your mattress type. It’s advisable to do your research or talk to an expert to know more.

Disposing process

While recycling is the ideal option, you have to dispose of the air mattress if that is not available to you. However, there are a few steps that you must take to make the process safe for all parties involved. 

Disposing process

While recycling is the ideal option, you have to dispose of the air mattress if that is not available to you. However, there are a few steps that you must take to make the process safe for all parties involved. 

Cleaning

This is always the first step, and doing a thorough job is essential. 

Getting in touch with the manufacturer

Though it may not always work, some companies do take back their old product and reuse them in some other form. 

Evaporation

If you arrange a pickup for your mattress for disposal, you need to ensure that it’s safe. One way of doing that is by allowing all the harmful gas to escape from the bed before packing. 

Remove the valve, fill water, and then leave it in the trash for 4-5 days. The sunlight will cause the harmful gas to evaporate during the process. 

Proper package

While packaging, ensure the mattress is well protected and does not get punctured or ripped. Additionally, position the mattress in an upright manner and transport it properly. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are air beds toxic? 

Though not air beds (especially the eco-friendly ones) are unsafe, the ones that use PVC are not particularly recommended. PVC can release toxins into the air and must not be breathed. This mainly applies to air mattresses containing Phthalates. This chemical is dangerous for humans as it disrupts the hormone function and messes up the reproductive system. Besides, they also cause liver issues and cancer. 

2. Are most air mattresses made from PVC? 

Unfortunately, yes. Most air mattresses use PVC. However, since PVC is not a very option, a few alternatives are also being developed. Many companies are now also making PVC-free air beds. These beds are not only safe but environmentally friendly. TPU is one of the top competitors, using hard plastic and silicon. 

3. For how long can you use an air bed? 

Air beds are long-lasting, and if they are taken care of, they can last even longer. Those who use their air beds occasionally opine that it has a long shelf life. Of course, if used as everyday beds, the lifespan of air beds will be considerably short, but on average, they last for 8+ years. The lifespan also depends on the quality of the material used. 

Conclusion 

Though air beds have multiple benefits, they are not the easiest to recycle. Even disposing of them must be done with caution lest it might cause environmental issues. This article has covered all that you need to consider if you are looking forward to recycling/disposing of your air bed.

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