How To Reuse And Recycle An Old Air Mattress

Air mattresses are a convenient, practical item to have at home for hosting guests or to take out on camping trips. However, air mattresses are relatively fragile and can be easily torn, punctured, or damaged. So what should you do if yours is nearing its end? Can you recycle an air mattress?

Certain conditions need to be fulfilled to recycle an air mattress, because the material used in producing air mattresses is a #3 plastic called Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). PVC needs to be specially prepared for recycling.

Unfortunately, recycling PVC isn’t the easiest task, which partly explains why just a few facilities accept it. Let’s look at how you can use your old air mattresses and ways to properly get rid of an air mattress that has run its course.

What Can You Do With an Old Air Mattress?

Matress isolated on white

First of all, try to fix your air mattress before looking for where to dispose of it properly. If it’s leaking air, you can try to patch it. And if you’re unsure of where it’s leaking, take the following steps:

  1. Pour soapy water into a spray bottle.
  2. Inflate your mattress as quickly as possible.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture slowly over the air mattress until bubbles appear — you’ll see them on the leaky spot or spots.
  4. Mark every leaky spot and leave the mattress to dry.
  5. Patch the leaky holes with an air mattress repair kit (on Amazon).

Although the above steps may seem tedious, fixing any problematic spots is more cost-effective than disposing of your air mattress and buying a new one.

How to Repurpose an Old Air Mattress

If your air mattress is beyond repair, you can repurpose it into another useful item. Here are some of your options:

Shopping Bags

Turning your old mattress into shopping bags is a great way to find a new purpose for your air mattress. To do this, get a pair of scissors, hand needles, a sewing machine, and some paint.

Use the scissors to cut the mattress into rectangles of equal size. Then cut out some straps to sew them together.

You can now spray the bags with your preferred paint to improve the aesthetics and make them look like new material. Otherwise, you can embrace the look like an artsy tote bag.

Waterproof Covers

The PVC plastic used to make air mattresses is waterproof, so using your old air mattress as a makeshift waterproof cover is another alternative. You can do this by cutting it into a large size to cover whatever you are protecting.

You can use the cover to protect your car or a lovely garden seat from dirt or rain.

Ground Sheet Protector

As an owner of an air mattress, you’re probably also a camping lover. You can take along your old air mattress on your next camping trip to use as a groundsheet protector.

Just spread the old mattress on the ground and put your new air mattress or sleeping bag on top. It makes your relaxation more comfortable and protects you from the rough ground surface.

Painting Tarp

Did you know that it’s possible to repurpose your old air mattress into a painting tarp? If you’re a lover of arts and crafts, you’ll enjoy this option.

Thanks to the materials air mattresses are made from. They’re great for protecting your walls and grounds from paint. To turn the deflated air mattress into a painting tarp, cut it into the appropriate size.

Can You Recycle an Air Mattress?

A Matress isolated on white

You can recycle air mattresses using the two methods known as mechanical and feedstock recycling.

For mechanical recycling — which is the more common option — the air mattress is ground into very tiny particles and melted for use in new air mattresses.

Note that an air mattress containing PVC can harm your health as it emits phthalates that your body is unlikely to absorb. As a result, whenever you want to buy a new air mattress, it is advisable to choose one without PVC.

Nowadays, air mattress producers manufacture mattresses that don’t comprise PVC.