May 20, 2021 (updated Nov 22)

How To Dispose of Pillows in Australia

eco friendly gifts australia

Recently, we've been on a tear helping you better understand and decipher how to recycle and dispose of certain things, but up until now one critical item has evaded us...used pillows!

According to the Sleep Foundation, you should be replacing your pillows every 1 to 2 years, as over time, they can wear down and accumulate dead skin cells which for hygienic reasons is a big no no.

So, by what means should we dispose of pillows, Australia? Continue reading for more information and some helpful tips for correctly disposing of your old pillows.

Table of contents

Can you put old pillows in the recycling bin?

Repurpose your old pillows

What about memory foam pillows?

And what of other unwanted household items?

Repurposing is recycling


Can you put old pillows in the recycling bin?

Unfortunately, unlike many unwanted items made from cardboard, certain plastics, aluminium and paper, you technically cannot recycle your old pillows.


Well, many pillow fillings and coverings house flame retardants and potentially harmful synthetic materials and chemicals including polyester fibres and polyurethane.

Much like e-waste and whitegoods, you need to be a bit more proactive to avoid any unnecessary pillow waste ending up in landfill.

And that also goes for other textiles and bedding items in your house which we'll get to a little later.

So, if you can't recycle them, and you don't want them ending up as landfill, what can you do to still create a positive impact for the environment?

Repurpose or donate your old pillows

Just because chucking your pillow in the yellow bin is out the window, it doesn't mean you can't get creative and give your old pillows new life.

First, you need to figure out if it's time to change your pillow or not.

If it is, here are six ways to 'recycle' without technically 'recycling'.

1. Use them to keep you comfy

Just because they're no longer suitable for your noggin, it doesn't mean your old pillows can't still provide some comfort.

Try repurposing them as:

  • Gardening Cushions - If you're like us and have a bit of green thumb than why not leverage an old pillow to keep your knees comfortable while weeding and pruning?
  • Floor Cushions - Creating a floor cushion from your unwanted bed pillows is fantastic because they don't need to be incredibly plush. By simply purchasing some new covers or crocheting your own you've got floor cushions for days.

2. Turn them into a pet bed

You know how those expensive pet beds never seem to be appreciated by your pets? One key reason is because they prefer to sleep closer to you so they can smell you.

Well, ding ding! You can repurpose an unwanted pillow and turn it into a source of rest and solitude. All you need is some sturdy fabric covering or old clothes repurposed as covering to accommodate your pets habits!

You could also turn them into a cool pillow fortress for kids. We wrote a guide on how to do just this!

3. Donate them to charity stores or a local animal shelter

Have a look around your local area for organisations and entities that may have a use for your old head pillows.

Many charities, shelters for the homeless, animal shelters and other rehabilitation centres for at-risk wildlife need used bed pillows if they're in reasonably good condition of course.A quick tip: make sure to clean them before donating, and if you're wondering where you can donate,

EcoOrganiser has a detailed list of potential locations for easy disposal of your bedding.

4. Leverage them as moving materials

We'll be quick here because we know no one likes moving house. In saying that though, how infuriating is it when you do move and lose something incredibly valuable due to a lack of cushioning and support?

Well, guess what?! Your age wearied pillows are free packing material perfect for protecting your valuables during transit.

So, the next time you've got to pack up the good crystal and cutlery or protect some furniture from damage, you can kill two birds with one stone and purchase new bedding too!

5. Repurpose them as draught stoppers

During the colder months of the year it can be a real battle to stop cold air seeping inside and warm air from escaping.

Instead of acting as the prison guard for warm air however, repurpose an unwanted pillow or two and put them on guard duty instead!

6. Use the stuffing to fill up your bean bag

Bean bag chairs are one of those household textiles that can be the most popular seat in the house, or the ugly duckling that gets no love.

It's all dependent on how full and plush they are!

Old pillow stuffing is a great alternative to traditional beans so if you've got a bean bag getting no love, unzip the side and reinvigorate it with some new stuffing.

What about memory foam pillows?

As a rule of thumb, treat your memory foam pillows the same as any other pillow.

Unfortunately, they can be made from polyurethane which can pose a risk to the environment and sea life in particular.

So, when buying a bamboo pillow from Ecoy, although it's made from eco-friendly material, remember to repurpose the pillow when the time is right.

And what of other unwanted household items?

If you're sitting there thinking there may be other textile-like items that aren't built for recycling, you're on the money.

There's a host of other bedding items and textile products in your home such as quilt covers, old sheets, old clothing, blankets and towels that if turned into waste, pose the same environmental risks that pillows do.

So when such items reach their use by date, call off the executioner and consider the below:

  • Quilt covers - Sheridan has a recycling program and will accept your pre-loved sheets and towels regardless of the brand at any of their locations.
  • Old bed sheets - Same as above, or you could use them as canvasses for painting, ghost outfits, or re-covering an old pillow for your pet's new bed!
  • Old clothing - This is pretty straightforward but many charity stores will take your unwanted clothing. If you have unwanted corporate or industrial clothing you can contact Total Uniform Solutions for ways to correctly dispose of such clothing.
  • Towels - Try talking to your local towels retailer as many will take them off your hands. Otherwise, get creative and see if you can repurpose them or try your local animal shelter.
  • Toppers - Depending on the material, you can dispose of mattress toppers through speciality recycling companies like Soft Landing, who will take the memory foam and turn it into carpet underlay.

Repurposing is recycling

So there you have it, all the goss when it comes to what to do with your unwanted pillows.

At Ecoy, we're all about living more sustainably, and leaving behind a beautiful, vibrant, and flourishing planet for future generations.

The next time you need to purchase new bedding, whether it be mattress toppers, mattress protectors, pillowcases, quilts, quilt covers or sheets, remember not to simply throw out your old bedding.

Because repurposing is just as good as recycling, perhaps even better!


  • Sleep Foundation, "How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows?", April 30 2021


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