Memory foam pillows are some of the most common options that you’ll find today. Pillows made out of this material are both comfortable and convenient, but you might not know that much about memory foam. Is this material recyclable? Read on to learn about recycling memory foam so you’ll know what to do if you need to throw out some old pillows.
What Is Memory Foam?
With the popularity of memory foam being so high, you’re likely wondering about its origins. What is memory foam anyway? Memory foam is a polyurethane foam material that is used in many products, such as pillows, cushions, and mattresses. It was first designed for use in NASA spaceships back in the 1960s, but it has become more popular as a commercial material.
You should know that memory foam is a special type of polyurethane that is created by adding different compounds and additives. There are several different types of memory foam, and the exact process for creating it will differ depending on which type you’re trying to make. Each type of memory foam is known to mold to the contours of your body. It makes it very useful as a material for pillows and mattresses.
The different types of memory foam are:
Memory Foam Cannot Be Recycled
Sadly, memory foam is a material that cannot be easily recycled. It can’t be recycled in a traditional sense. Plastic is recyclable, but memory foam is different. To make memory foam, a type of plastic is put through a process that turns it into foam.
You can’t reverse the process and make it become a normal plastic material again. It’s forever going to be memory foam after the process is finished. So your memory foam pillow cannot be broken down and sent to a recycling center. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw old memory foam pillows out, but it does mean that your options are quite limited.
If you’re concerned about not being able to recycle memory foam pillows, you can always go with other options. In the future, you could choose recyclable options such as latex pillows. Your current latex pillows might be able to be re-used in certain ways. You just won’t be able to recycle them.
Making Other Foam Products
It is possible to use memory foam to create other foam products. A memory foam pillow can be shredded and used to make car seat padding or some other type of memory foam pillow. However, there’s a lot of work that goes into doing this, and it’s not economically viable. Thus, you’re unlikely to find local businesses that offer any type of memory foam recycling.
You Can Try to Reuse Memory Foam
The best option that you have available to you is to reuse the memory foam. You can break down the old memory foam pillows and use the materials to make new pillows. Or you could try to use the memory foam for other things. You could make cushions or you could use memory foam pillows for your pets.
Finding uses for memory foam probably won’t be too difficult. The memory foam can easily be used as stuffing in cushions or bean bag chairs. You could even use the memory foam to prop up couch cushions if they’re beginning to sag. There are options to reuse memory foam that will make sense in your household.
Check out: Washing Foam Pillows
Donation Is an Option
Donating memory foam is a good option to consider. You can look into local businesses that take donations. Many second-hand stores, charity organizations, and shelters will take memory foam pillows off your hands. This gives you a convenient way to get rid of old pillows while knowing that they will make a difference in many lives.
It’s not uncommon for people to give old pillows to animal shelters, either. Many animal shelters need old pillows to help keep pets comfortable in their cages. So you have different donation options available that you can try out. Don’t donate old memory foam pillows if they’re in very bad shape, though.
How Long Does Memory Foam Last?
You’ll find that memory foam products are built to last for a fairly long time. Most memory foam products are advertised to last for up to ten years. A memory foam pillow or mattress can last for longer than this if you take care of everything well. So memory foam pillows can be worth the investment.
If you find that the pillows are old and you want to upgrade, the materials should still be useful. You can reuse the memory foam in some of the ways mentioned earlier. Eventually, the memory foam won’t be good any longer, and you’ll likely want to throw it away. Since it can’t be recycled, it’s, unfortunately, going to wind up in a landfill somewhere.
Now you know that memory foam is a material that cannot be recycled. Memory foam is a convenient type of material that’s used in so many different pillows and mattresses. The different memory foam types help companies to create affordable products for the masses, but they’re not environmentally friendly. You won’t be able to recycle old memory foam pillows, but you can try to reuse them for as long as possible.
Many people choose to reuse memory foam by making new cushions or dog beds. You can also use the memory foam to help prop up old cushions. Donating the memory foam pillows will be a good idea if they’re still nice enough. However, memory foam isn’t going to last forever.
Generally, memory foam pillows will remain in good shape for up to ten years. The pillows will only last that long if taken care of properly, though. When the pillows are in poor shape, it’s best to simply throw them out. This can seem wasteful, but there’s nothing you can do since memory foam isn’t recyclable.
Using recyclable pillows such as latex pillows might be a better choice. If you have memory foam pillows right now, they can be great for comfort. Use them as long as you can, and try to reuse the materials when the pillows get old. That’s truly the best you can do.
- Memory Foam | NASA