Are Pillows Recyclable?

by Véronique Raymond
Pillow

If you have an old pillow lying around, you’re probably wondering how it can be reused. It is much better to reuse a pillow rather than let it languish in a landfill for all eternity. No matter which type of pillow you have on hand, there is a way to repurpose it for the better. Whether you want to upcycle it into a new product, find a DIY solution, or donate it to a better cause, there are solutions for every pillow.

 

Can You Recycle Old Pillows?

Unfortunately, pillows cannot be recycled in the typical sense. For hygienic reasons, many thrift stores, charities, and homeless shelters won’t accept pillow donations, but some do, so it’s worth calling to check just in case. Depending on the pillow filling used (take buckwheat hulls or down feathers for example), you may be able to add it to your compost bin and let it be useful in a new way.

One way of recycling your pillow is to search for a textile recycling facility in your area. There may even be a curbside service for you to drop off old pillows quickly. They’ll use your pillow stuffing and cover to make new products like insulation, rags, and carpet padding. Your local goodwill may have a recycling program or drop-off bins that you can use to discard your pillows in a more sustainable fashion. So, even though your pillow shouldn’t end up in your recycling bin, it can be reused and repurposed in many other ways.

How pillows are made

What To Do With Your Old Pillow

If your pillow has changed colours or no longer provides the support you need, there are many ways to get rid of it in a positive way and give that shabby old pillow new life. Before you repurpose the pillow, make sure you run it through a gentle cycle in your washing machine to get rid of dirt, dust and dust mites, sweat, and more that you don’t want hanging around.

Reuse the Pillow

If your pillow is still in relatively good shape, you can reuse it in another way. The most common way people reuse their pillows is to create pet beds out of them. Whether for your own four-legged family members or for animals at animal shelters, old pillows can make perfect pet beds for needy dogs and cats.

Many people also turn their old pillows into floor cushions for guests to use. These come in handy for younger family members as well as for floor seating during game night around the coffee table. Especially if you have a smaller home or limited floor space, these DIY couch cushions can add some necessary extra seating at no expense.

Depending on the size and shape of your old pillows, you may even be able to reuse them as throw pillows for your couch to add a decorative touch to your living room with zero additional cost.

Your old pillow can also be useful for any work that requires you to be on your hands and knees, such as washing the floor or working out in the garden. It will make these tasks much more comfortable.

If you have young kids in your life, they could use the old pillows to build a fort and have a more comfortable place to sit or lie down on.

Make New Use of the Old Pillow Stuffing and Pillow Cover

If your pillows aren’t up to fluff and you can’t reuse them in the above ways, there is still hope. The stuffing of your pillow has many uses beyond helping you get your beauty sleep.

  • Use down feathers as fertilizer and compost
  • Make a DIY draft stopper with new fabric or the pillow’s cover
  • Let birds use wool or feather filling for their nest
  • Fluff up other pillows or a duvet that is looking a little worse for wear

You can also reuse the pillow’s cover in a few ways:

  • Use the cover to dust ceiling fans
  • Cut the cover into squares to be used as cleaning rags
  • Make children’s clothing
  • Turn it into an apron
  • Make a drawstring laundry bag
  • Sew it into a reusable shopping bag
  • Use it as a chair cover to protect from cat claws or dust
  • Use it as packing material to protect valuables in storage or breakable household items when moving

As you can see, there are dozens of ways to make use of pillowcases and pillow stuffing individually. When it’s time to purchase new pillows, there’s no reason your old ones can’t still be useful in some way or another.

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