We spend a third of our lives on our pillows, so it may be hard to part ways with your faithful sleep companion.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, pillows should be replaced every two years. If that's sooner than you expected, you're not alone! But there's good reason behind it.
Like mattresses and other common bedroom items, pillows aren't always as pristine as you might think.
"Sleeping on a pillow night after night causes it to absorb body oils, dead skin cells and hair. Not only does this sound gross - it also makes the pillow smell, and worse, can create the perfect environment for dust mites (a common allergen)."
Unless your pillows are made from 100% natural, sustainably sourced latex, all-natural wool, charcoal or plain bamboo or silk, they are often made with flame retardants to comply with federal fire codes.
If possible, it's best to avoid throwing pillows directly into the trash, as they can end up in landfills, and from the pillow fillings to the coverings themselves, many of which are made of or treated with potentially harmful synthetic materials and chemicals, it's especially important to keep them out of our oceans and away from marine life.
Fortunately, there are many environmentally friendly ways to get rid of pillows by repurposing, donating and recycling them.
The most effective way to get rid of "old pillows" is to reuse them. Just because your old pillows no longer belong on your bed, doesn't mean they need to leave your house altogether.
Here are some new shapes you can adopt for your old pillows.
Floor Seating- Lay some new fabric over your old pillows to create floor seating for your family and guests to sit on the floor around the coffee table.
Pet Beds. Lightly used pillows can provide the perfect extra fill for your pet's bed. If your pet is small enough, an old bed pillow may be the bed itself (and it's adorable). Or, you can always add an old pillow to your pet's new bed, the
Moving and packing materials.Discarded pillows are very durable and long-lasting when used to protect your fragile items during moving or shipping.
Use them again as windbreaks
Throw pillows.Depending on the size and shape of your old pillows, they may be the perfect addition to your living room sofa as a decorative pillow once refreshed and reupholstered.
If your pillows are still in good condition, you may want to consider donating them. Many organizations are in need of pillows, bedding, and even mattresses. If you can make a few calls and see who is currently accepting pillow donations, you will likely find those pillows a happy new home.
Donate them to animal shelters or wildlife sanctuaries
You can also try thrift stores. While many thrift stores do not accept pillows, some do. Be sure to call ahead and ask if they accept pillow donations.
Once you donate your old pillows, you can rest easy knowing that your pillows are out there doing the world a favor.
And if your pillows are too old to repurpose or donate, the next best option is to recycle them.
Find a textile recycling facility. This is one of the best ways to recycle your old pillows instead of throwing them in your home recycling bin. These facilities specialize in keeping pillows from overflowing in landfills by reusing old pillow fillings and materials to make items such as carpet backing, insulation and rags.
American Textile Recycling Service is a company that specializes in textile dismantling. You can find a bin near you by calling their 24-hour hotline at (866) 900-9308.
Composting old pillow stuffing. Most pillowcase packages do not compost, but if the pillow is filled with feathers or down, you can remove it from the inside of the shell and throw it in the compost bin. The shell can then be ripped open and used as a rag.
When to get rid of old pillows?
It's a common belief that pillows last forever - some people take them from their childhood bed to college, into their first apartment, and maybe even into their new home.
So when you get a new set of pillows, what do you do with the old ones?
While we know that some pillows are as comfortable as a child's stuffed animal, at some point, bed pillows should be replaced. But how often should you replace your pillows?