In my last newsletter, I asked you, my readers, if you had any questions for me and one that really stood out was How To Dispose Of Your Old Pillows.
Can you recycle old pillows?
There are so many things in the home that can’t be recycled and pillows seem to be one of those items that most people just don’t know what to do with. We also need to know what the term recycling actually means. When an item is recycled, it goes through an extensive process where it's broken down and turned into something completely different. For example, tires are typically broken down and turned into patio furniture or outdoor flooring. You can't actually "recycle" an old pillow.
In Canada and the USA, you can't put pillows in the blue bin as textiles can't usually be recycled. Textile recycling rates are very low, especially in Canada. The Recycling Council of Ontario has some great events and info related to disposing of old pillows.
Donation stores don’t typically accept pillows due to hygienic reasons, bed bugs etc. so that leaves us with the garbage. But before you think of tossing them in the trash consider reusing or upcycling them in your home.
How to dispose of your old pillows:
I recommend contacting animal shelters in your area; they always need used pillows and bedding. This is a great way to upcycle your old pillows. You can also make a pet bed for your own pet.
When donating, remove the pillow covers and reuse them. I always like to give mine a good wash. You can also use those pillow cases to DIY gorgeous floor cushions.
I read a few articles that stated you can use the foam inside the pillow to clean the car or other areas outside the home.
I do like this idea, but just want to caution you to first check the type of foam. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, or “PBDEs,” are flame-retardant chemicals used in various household items, including foam. They were banned in Canada a while ago, but DECApbde can still be found.
The levels of PBDEs in polyurethane foam pillows are among the highest in your house and the direct exposure can lead to liver damage and affect thyroid function. By replacing your foam pillow with one made of polyester fiber or feathers, you can reduce your risk of PBDEs-related health problems.
Other ways to use old pillows:
Old pillows can also be used outside to sit on around a campfire (when camping). Once you’ve taken the pillow apart and removed the stuffing you can cut up the left-over fabric into squares and use it as rags to clean the house.
If you have pillows that are filled with down feathers, you can compost those. If your pillow is made from foam and you can’t find another way to use it, then you will have to place them in the garbage. OR you can use the stuffing to give an old toy new life.
Use old pillows as pads for uncomfortable chairs or for your knees in the garden. If you have an outdoor patio, you can buy or make really nice pillow covers and use them to cover your old pillows, giving your patio a little TLC.
You can also keep old pillows to pack up precious things when you are moving. Use them on either side of the box to keep valuables from breaking. Solid memory foam can even be cut to size and used for packaging.
These are some fun ideas. If you don't try them just remember your pillows end up in the garbage.
Have you ever upcycled your pillows?