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What To Do With Old Pillows: 8 Eco-Friendly Options

What to do with old pillows
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / kaboompics

Ever wondered what to do with old pillows? Old pillows cannot usually be thrown away or easily recycled. Here are some eco-friendly ideas for things to do with old pillows.

Do you have some old pillows lying around and are wondering what to do with them? Old pillows cannot simply be thrown into the trash, so it is important to know how to dispose of old pillows properly and sustainably. 

Thankfully, there are a number of eco-friendly options when it comes to getting rid of old pillows. You may choose to repurpose them, recycle them or donate them, for example. Read on to learn how to deal with old pillows the eco-friendly and sustainable way.

What Are Pillows Made Of?

Pillows are generally made using polyester fibers and have been treated with flame retardants.
Pillows are generally made using polyester fibers and have been treated with flame retardants.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Marlon_Delibasic)

There is a reason you cannot simply throw pillows into the trash, or even recycle them yourself. Pillows are typically made from polyester fibers and are treated with synthetic materials and chemicals in order to reach federal fire regulations. This means most pillows must be treated with flame retardants, which are not sourced from biodegradable or sustainable materials. 

Some pillows are made of natural materials such as silk, bamboo, or all-natural wool. If your pillow is made from 100 percent natural materials, it may be possible to recycle it at your local recycling center, but you’ll first want to check with your center. At the same time, it isn’t advised to throw them in the trash.

If the toxins and chemicals that are used in pillows leach into the soil, waterways or oceans, they can have a negative impact on both flora and fauna. It is therefore important to dispose of, recycle or repurpose old pillows in an eco-friendly way. 

Repurposing Old Pillows

One option with old pillows is to repurpose them into pet beds.
One option with old pillows is to repurpose them into pet beds.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / DanyelCarinzia)

There are plenty of ways you can give your old pillows new life without sending them to landfill. Try these options:

  1. Pet bed: You might be done with your old pillow, but your pet most definitely is not. Repurpose your old pillow into a bed for your pet. This is not only good for the planet, but can save you money on a pet bed.
  2. Packing material: Are you or a friend moving? You can keep your precious, fragile pieces safe and cushioned by repurposing your old pillows into packing material. 
  3. Knee pillow: Your old pillow may not be fit to rest your head any longer, but it could still do the trick for your knees. Repurpose your old pillow into a knee pillow for gardening or house chores. 
  4. Draft stopper: Old pillows work really well as draft stoppers. Place your old pillow at the foot of drafty doors or along windowsills to keep the cold out and keep your home warm. This can also help reduce heating costs in the winter months.
  5. Restuff your stuffed toys: Use the stuffing from old pillows to give stuffed toys a new life. Simply cut a small hole in the back of the toy, fill with pillow stuffing to desired fullness, then stitch up again.

Recycling Old Pillows

6. Recycle your old pillows properly: The recycling process for pillows is complex. All the materials must be separated, including buttons, zippers, stuffing, foam, and fabric casing. This means not every local recycling center has the machinery or resources to do so. Thankfully, there are certain recycling organizations that are committed to properly recycling textiles such as pillows. The American Textile Recycling Center has centers across the country, and can safely and responsibly recycle your old pillows. Visit their website to find a location near you. 

Donating Old Pillows

One thing to do with old pillows is donating them to animal shelters or vets.
One thing to do with old pillows is donating them to animal shelters or vets.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Hanai7)

For hygiene reasons, many donation centers may not accept old pillows. However, there are some places that will:

7. Donate them to animal shelters or wildlife rehabilitation centers: If you do not have a pet, but would like your old pillows to be a cozy bed for someone in need, donate them to an animal shelter. Any furry friend would be happy to have your old pillow as a soft spot to sleep. 

8. Donate them to a vet: Visits to the vet can be very stressful for pets. But their stress can be eased with the help of a soft pillow to rest and relax on.

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