When it comes to throwing out your trash, it’s pretty simple. There are items like glass, cardboard, and cans that go in the recycle and other things like food wastage and plastic that go in the normal bin.
But what about those harder to get rid of items like pillows?
Disposing of your pillows can be quite tricky. Whilst you can throw them in the bin, they can take up a bit of room and they’ll end up in the landfill like so many other items. That’s not the best way to end the life of your pillow, is it?
If you want to be more eco-friendly, there are actually many things you can do to reuse and repurpose your old pillows.
What Do You Do With Your Old Pillows?
First of all, determine if it’s time to get rid of some of your old pillows. While experts recommend changing your pillows every 1-2 years, we’d recommend checking out our guide for a quick checklist on the things you should look out for.
If you’ve decided to give the green light, here’s what you can do.
1) Throw Them In The Trash
The most obvious thing to do is simply throwing them in the trash. Make sure to throw them in the garbage and not recycle. This is an easy solution but it’s not always the best option, especially for the environment.
There are many different materials in pillows – memory foam (commonly used in the cooling pillows that we reviewed), feathers, microbeads, and buckwheat to name a few.
Many of these contain synthetic elements that don’t decompose easily, such as polyester fibers and polyurethane. It will end up in a landfill or worse, the ocean, and pose a threat to marine life.
2) Donate Them
Depending on the condition of the pillows, you can actually donate them to a charity or shelter. You can try calling local homeless or vet shelters to see if they’ll accept them.
On top of this, you can try simply listing them for free on online marketplaces to see if someone is willing to take them off your hands.
Yep, there are services that exist that will love to take your old pillows and recycle them. The American Textile Recycling Service is one such organization. You can use their website to track down collection bins or centers and give your old pillows a new lease of life in the form of other textiles like carpet.
Another useful tool is the Earth911 locator which can help you track down the nearest facility that will accept your pillows.
4) Floor Cushions
The larger size of pillows makes great companions when it comes to sitting on or around the floor. Think video gaming, playing board games, or simply sprucing up your living room. You may decide to buy additional covers to give your old pillows a new fresh look and match the décor of whatever room they reside in. For something bigger, put two pillows together in the same case.
5) Packing Material
Pretty much all pillows are soft and can easily be used to cushion items when you are on the move. Transporting some delicate glassware? Be sure to put a pillow in the box, or use the pillow stuffing. You can even use the pillowcase to wrap up fragile items.
6) A Pet Bed
Have a dog or any other pet that would appreciate a comfy place to lay? Your old pillows provide a perfect solution for them to lay and snuggle on. Even better is that they likely have your scent on them, making your pets more than happy to use them as their new bed.
7) A Draft Stopper
Pillowcases and their stuffing make for great stoppers of cold air (or warm) from getting into your home. Simply fill the pillowcase with some polyester, sand, rice, or use some of the pillow fillings. Stitch it down to the required size and your good to go!
8) Make Knee Pillows/Pads!
Perhaps we’ve been thinking about pillows in the wrong way. They are not just good for your head! Other body parts will benefit as well. Specifically, your knees. If you’re doing any handyman work around the house and you find yourself on your knees, slip an old pillow below. Your joints will thank you for it!
This uses the same logic as a draft stopper. Pillows are great at insulation so if you have anything that needs insulation, a pillow can come in handy. Your attic or bathtub are great uses for this. You can also use them to line your pet’s cage or bed which is especially handy in those colder winter months.
10) Double Up
Perhaps your pillows are getting a bit flat. It happens to the best of them. What you can do is take two old flat pillows and put them into a fresh new case. Alternatively, use the old stuffing of one pillow to fill out another one. Voila!
Not all pillow stuffing is great for composting, but if your old pillows have feathers inside them (or something that will decompose), you can use that as compost. Why not spread the love of your pillows to your garden as well?
12) A Road Trip Pillow
Get your old pillows on the move and add some style to your car! This is especially handy for long road trips where your passengers will likely be sleeping. You can stuff the pillows between seat belts or next to the doors to provide some comfort.
13) Cleaning Rags
Yep, you can cut your pillowcases into appropriate sizes to use as durable rags around the house. You might even have some luck with the stuffing – depending on what kind it is.
14) Throw Pillows
Spruce up your living spaces with some throw pillows. You can fold and stitch your old pillows to the desired size and then pop them into a fresh new case to match your lounge, kitchen, or wherever else you’d like to use them. And it shouldn’t stop at throw pillows. Perhaps you want a larger body or leg pillow? Sew two pillows together and stuff them into a larger pillowcase. You may even transform your old pillows into pads for your chair or a footstool cushion.
15) Stuffing for Toys, Costumes, and Decorations
Is your teddy bear looking a bit deflated these days? Stuff it with the fillings of your old pillows to give it a plump look. On top of this, many DIY costumes and decorations, especially for Halloween, require some sort of stuffing. What about snow decorations for Christmas time? White pillow stuffing is a great choice!
16) Fill up your Beanbag
Just like your pillows, your beanbags can start looking pretty deflated with use over time. Stuff them with your old pillows or the stuffing itself. Your beanbag will be comfortable once more and will save you money on having to buy new beans.
17) Oven Mitts
With the insulating properties of pillows, you can actually use the stuffing to pad up oven mitts. A bit tricky to do, so we won’t blame you if you ‘stuff’ this one up.
18) DIY Crafts
Old pillows are a great source of material for any DIY crafts.
19) Floor Lounger
This is a great idea if you want to fill up an otherwise sparse looking lounge with several old pillows. You can sew the pillowcases together and then insert the pillows inside.
20) Nesting Material
Perhaps you are a bird lover? You can actually place the stuffing of the pillows outside for the birds to use for their nests.