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Are Air Mattresses Recyclable? (All You Need to Know)

Air mattresses are a handy piece of furniture that is useful whenever you need an emergency mattress for one reason or the other. As we are focusing on having greener earth and make conscious choices around us, the question of whether these mattresses are good for the environment and how they can be safely disposed of arises.

Are air mattresses recyclable?

Since air mattresses are made of a mixture of metal, plastic, wood, and textile they are difficult to recycle, despite each of these materials being individually recyclable. Technically these mattresses can be recycled, but they have to be dismantled first and the recyclable parts separated second.

While millions of mattresses accumulate themselves in a landfill, a huge portion (85%) of them could be recycled if they were handled properly. 

It should be noted that these mattresses make terrible landfill material since they are lightweight with their low density and yet they take up so much space. The springs in them also mess up the landfill and transfer station equipment by potentially disabling them.

Air mattresses should be dealt with properly since illegal dumping puts pressure on the environment and contributes to the financial tolls of the municipalities. Different states have different laws regarding air mattress disposal so make sure whatever you plan to do is legal and allowed.

Inflatable mattresses like these are difficult to recycle since they are mostly made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which releases phthalates. This can be absorbed by the body, but also, they leak dioxins as they break down. They also cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to recycling plants.

It is absolutely recommended that you do your research into how to recycle or dispose of them since not all centers accept them.

What to do with old air mattresses, dispose or recycle?

Dealing with old air mattresses is always a hassle since they are huge and lanky to handle. Now that we know recycling them needs to be done properly, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.

If you have recycling centers that accept old air mattresses you should most definitely get them recycled. They will help to preserve the earth and you will feel better about yourself as well.

If you do not have the option to recycle, you can choose to dispose of the mattress. It is suggested that you do not just place the unwanted mattress in the recycling bin since they can damage the machine and plants.

Usually, it is recommended that you should schedule a large item pick up and deflate the mattress before placing it for pick up. If it was contaminated with bed bugs, you must wrap it in plastic to secure contamination.

Sometimes pickups need to be booked a few days before the regularly scheduled collection day, so keep that in mind as well.

You can also sell it, put it up for donation as well as find other ways to reuse it.

How to recycle air mattresses?

Let’s say you found a place nearby that allows you to recycle your air mattress, now you must know the proper way to do it. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

Clean it up:

Clean up the old air mattress of all dirt and mildew it can have. This is crucial. You can use your garden hose to put it in an acceptable condition.

Figure out the requirements:

Since you are bringing it to a recycling center, look up on the requirements they might ask of you. Some places take only specific materials so you could need to know how to separate them from the whole material.

They can also have separate dates when they accept PVC plastics so make sure you know the correct schedule.


Now all that is left to do is deliver once you know when the material is going to be collected. Package it properly and let the professionals take it off of your hand.

Now that you know how to properly recycle your air mattress, do the research, ask professionals for help if doubtful and be glad you are doing your part to make the earth a better place.

How to dispose of air mattresses?

If you can’t recycle the air mattress for some reason, you can always dispose of it. There are also certain steps you still have to take when doing so, in order to minimize problems for all parties involved.

Clean it:

Before doing anything else, you have to clean the mattress. Remove all bedding and wash off the dirt and possible mildew.

Contact the manufacturer:

While it doesn’t work with all manufacturers, some places (or outdoor companies) can take your old mattress and reuse it for something else.

Evaporate before dumping:

If step 2 doesn’t work out, you can still get rid of it via other methods. To do so, you now have to make sure all gas has escaped the mattress and you can now flatten it.

You have to now remove the valve, fill it up with water and place it in a trash bag. Leave it in the sun for 4-5 days so plastic and harmful chemicals have fully evaporated.

Package it properly: 

Before disposing of it, you should package the mattress in a manner so that it’s protected against punctures, tears, and rips. Position it upright when storing and transporting to ensure full safety.

Now that you know how to dispose of your unused and/or old inflatable mattresses, make sure you are doing your part to keep them as environmentally healthy as possible. You might need to separate the parts if your state laws decree it. 

Can you recycle Intex air mattresses?

Intex air mattresses are supposedly PVC-free, so it makes them easier to be recycled. Since PVC makes it hard to recycle, as Intex is PVC-free (the kind that does not release phthalates) they can be accepted in a plastic recycling center.

What are air mattresses made of? 

Air mattresses are made of compounds that make inflatable materials. The common materials include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber, rubber composites, or even thermoplastic polyurethane (also known as TPU).

PVC is currently under the spotlight for releasing chemicals that are toxic which is why TPU is becoming popular these days.

Are air mattresses made of latex?

Latex is a type of rubber that is available in latex mattresses. The types of latex you can see in mattresses are synthetic, blended, and natural.

They are made from the sap of rubber trees though synthetic ones are clearly lab-made. Latex mattresses are known to provide top-tier support and firmness.

Are air mattresses vinyl?

The PVC found in air mattresses stands for polyvinyl chloride which certainly contains vinyl. This is a kind of plastic that can be found on the top with a velvet-like quality.

Most air mattresses around are made of PVC, and so is vinyl.

Are all air mattresses made of PVC? 

As mentioned previously, most air mattresses are made of PVC. But as PVC is under the heat for being toxic, some alternatives are paving the way.

Several companies now make PVC-free air mattresses for those wanting to go the safe, eco-friendly way. TPU is one of the biggest competitors, which is a mixture of hard plastic and soft silicone (a form of rubber).

The industry is doing its best to make its products as eco-friendly and safe as possible.

Are air mattresses toxic? 

Now that we know air mattresses are mostly made of PVC that is a form of vinyl plastic, we also know this material can expel toxic particles into the very air you breathe.

This can happen for a long time after purchased, especially if they contain Phthalates. This chemical can harm the human body by disrupting the hormone functions and mess up the reproductive system of both humans and animals.

Phthalates are also known to cause liver issues and even cancer. This is why air mattresses are known to be toxic and PVC-free mattresses are becoming all the rage.

How long can an air mattress last? 

Air mattresses can last a long period of time, and even longer if it is looked after and maintained appropriately. If it is occasionally used, it will last a long, long time, even a lifetime.

If contrastingly they are used as a daily bed, the lifespan will be shortened understandably. Latex mattresses, by the way, are known to last the longest.

On average, air mattresses are known to last 8+ years. Replace it if it can’t stay inflated all night and the leaks can’t be found or fixed.

Air mattresses will last as long as you let them since they are dependent on the quality of the materials, how it is used and so on. When their time does come, you can choose to recycle them or dispose of them completely. It is only requested that whichever you do, you do it smartly and suitably.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Air Mattresses Waterproof?

Do Air Mattresses Come with Pumps?

Do Air Mattresses Have Weight Limits?

Do Air Mattresses Make You Cold?

Can You Put Water in An Air Mattress?

Can You Leave an Air Bed Inflated?