How To Dispose Of Your Old Pillows In Australia

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how to dispose pillows in Australia

Has your pillow seen better days? Are you waking up with a twinge of pain in your neck? How about tossing and turning because you can’t adjust your pillow perfectly? If so, it might be time to dispose of your pillow and trade it in for something new.

Over time, our pillows start to develop lumps, turn colours, or get squashed to the point we can fold them in half. To put it simply, your pillows must be replaced. Not only is swapping them out crucial to prevent allergens and bacteria from building up, but also to promote positive, healthful sleep.

So, when it’s time to get rid of your pillow, the common question is, “How?”

Let’s take a look.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Whether it’s for hygiene, improved sleep, or both, you typically know when it’s time to ditch your old pillow. But before you do so, make sure you dispose of your old pillow properly. How often you should replace pillows and how you go about doing it depends on a few factors.

Generally speaking, pillows have a one to two-year lifespan. Material and brand can significantly impact how long pillows last, so knowing their expected longevity before purchasing is essential.

  • Polyester: 6 months to 2 years
  • Down Alternative/Synthetic: 18 months to 2 years
  • Feather: 18 months to 3 years
  • Memory Foam: 3 to 4 years
  • Latex: 3 to 4 years
  • Down: 3 to 4 years

If your pillow’s time has come, first check out the steps you should take to dispose of them, and then hop on over to our Australian pillow guide to find your next perfect pillow match.

Can You Put Pillows in the Bin?

More often than not, duvets, pillows, clothing, and textiles aren’t recyclable. These items are considered general waste and should be placed in your rubbish bin. Additionally, animal shelters cannot accept old pillows for health and safety reasons.

The only pillows eligible for bin recycling are feather or down pillows because they are organic. You can place any organic pillow in the green bin. Feather, down, and latex pillows are also compostable.

When placed in your red, general waste bin, it means your old, used pillows travel off to the landfill, where 6000 kg of clothing is dumped every 10 minutes. Alongside that alarming statistic come other findings from the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI):

  • Overwhelmed Charities: 1% of collected garments are recycled
  • Escalated Waste: 8% carbon emissions & 20% of wastewater is from the textile industry
  • Over Production: 33% of 100 billion garments end up in the landfill within the first year

The textile industry is a top contributor to waste. Every piece matters, from socks to pillows, and we make a difference in every action we take.

When it’s time to get rid of a pillow, we must do so with careful intent and thoughtfulness.

Otherwise, our planet will pay a devastating price.

Can You Donate Pillows?

More often than not, duvets, pillows, clothing, and textiles aren’t recyclable. These items are considered general waste and should be placed in your rubbish bin. Additionally, animal shelters cannot accept old pillows for health and safety reasons.

The only pillows eligible for bin recycling are feather or down pillows because they are organic. You can place any organic pillow in the green bin. Feather, down, and latex pillows are also compostable.

When placed in your red, general waste bin, it means your old, used pillows travel off to the landfill, where 6000 kg of clothing is dumped every 10 minutes. Alongside that alarming statistic come other findings from the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI):

  • Overwhelmed Charities: 1% of collected garments are recycled
  • Escalated Waste: 8% carbon emissions & 20% of wastewater is from the textile industry
  • Over Production: 33% of 100 billion garments end up in the landfill within the first year

The textile industry is a top contributor to waste. Every piece matters, from socks to pillows, and we make a difference in every action we take.

When it’s time to get rid of a pillow, we must do so with careful intent and thoughtfulness.

Otherwise, our planet will pay a devastating price.

How to Repurpose Old Pillows

Repurposing the pillows you used to sleep on into something else is genuinely the best way to recycle them. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Outdoor Cushions: Just because a pillow is no longer serving you while you sleep doesn’t mean its use has fully come to an end. If you’re a gardener, use it outdoors to protect your knees. They can also act as comfy sitting cushions when camping or sitting around a fire.
  • Packing Material: If your old pillows have some squish left, throw them into a box for an added layer of protection when moving or shipping fragile items.
  • Crafts & Hobbies: Do you have a creative edge? Remove the stuffing from the inside of a pillow and reuse it in your next project. If the outer layer of fabric is clean and spot-free, you can use that too!
  • Pet beds: While most animal shelters will no longer accept pillow donations, that doesn’t mean you can’t put them to use for your own furry friends. Be sure to give your pillow a good wash, cover them in a durable layer of fabric or old clothing, and lay it down for a peaceful pet haven.
  • Textile Recycling: Okay, this isn’t necessarily a “repurposing” option, but as long as we aren’t adding to the devastating impact of landfills, it deserves a spot on the list. Textile Recyclers is an available option for those looking to dispose of their old pillows in Melbourne or Sydney. However, there is a starting cost of approximately $20 to use the recycling service.

Get creative! Always defer to repurposing when it’s time to dispose of old pillows. Making intentional decisions about our waste is vital to the world around us.

Bottom Line of Disposing Old Pillows in Australia

It can be a bit confusing when trying to get rid of a pillow while also ensuring you’re doing the right thing. Seeking answers, like you’re doing now, is a great step!

Learn the signs of an old pillow, study the best pillow and bedding options for you, seek a mattress you love, and get the restful sleep of your dreams.

We need to replace pillows to maintain our own physical and mental health, but we must also not add to the environmental crisis we face. It can feel much more overwhelming than one would expect when looking to throw something out. But the additional effort you take now will pay off in the future.

The planet (and your neck) will thank you!

James Lee

James Lee

James is the content director at WhatASleep, a certified sleep science coach from Spencer Institute and our in-house sleep product expert. Over three years, he's personally tested hundreds of mattresses. He likes to keep his reviews simple, objective, and straightforward so that the readers don't have to go through decision fatigue which is often the case while shopping for sleep products.

He hails from Sydney and has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.

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