The Mattress Landfill Crisis
In today’s mattress race, there is one thing that we are seeing a major issue with… mattress recycling! The US alone throws away 18.2 MILLION mattresses a YEAR, but there are only 56 facilities available to recycle them. This means that a majority of those mattresses end up in landfills. With many mattress companies offering 100-day and in some cases 365-day return policies theoretically a consumer can cycle between different mattresses at no or low cost, and there are definitely consumers gaming the system. Some online retailers are seeing 20% return rates or more… the most concerning part of this are those same consumers don’t even realize that their returned mattress would potentially simply be thrown out.
Why are so many of those mattresses ending up in a landfill? Mainly because the materials used to make traditional mattresses just aren’t worth much on the secondary market. There may be someone looking for springs, but finding a buyer for used/dirty foam and fiber is much more difficult. In some cases, companies have an arrangement with charities, care homes or hospitals to collect very lightly used mattresses, re-cover them, and put them back to use… but very few mattresses will pass inspection to make it there. With the lack of options and not a lot of information from some companies in terms of what happens to these returned mattresses, it’s up to the consumer to make informed decisions for our planet.
The Mattress Recycling Council is one of the only councils put together by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in states that have enacted mattress recycling laws, namely California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The goal is to educate, assist retailers and work closely with local governments, waste management professionals and recyclers to create an accessible and efficient mattress collection and recycling network.
This also leads to a big reason why choosing an environmentally conscious manufacturer is extremely important. Did you know that an Essentia mattress left exposed to all the elements will completely biodegrade in 3 years! So in the event that someone has thrown out one of our mattresses rather than taking the proper recycling steps, we know that we are not harming planet earth.