Can You Recycle an Air Mattress? (And Donate it Too?)

Air mattresses are fast becoming essential household items for several reasons. They are pretty portable and come in handy when you have many guests in the house. Air mattresses can also serve as your bed if you like bouncy mattresses.

How about camping? Since an air mattress is inflatable, it is the most suitable option if you want to go camping and prioritize comfort. They certainly are preferable to sleeping bags.

Well, air mattresses are susceptible to numerous damages. They can get punctured, torn or become weak. They sure are strong but also fragile because they rely on air. So what do you do when your air mattress has run its course and needs to be replaced?

This blog post will show you the most environmentally positive ways to dispose of your old air mattresses. Please, enjoy!

Is an Air Mattress Recyclable?

Environmentally positive individuals always know to recycle their waste that can be recycled instead of throwing it in the bin. So, of course, you may naturally assume that you can recycle your old air mattress too. However, you can’t, and we will let you know why pretty soon.

Well, items that can be recycled are determined by the materials they are made from. For example, air mattresses are made from a #3 plastic known as PVC. Polyvinyl chloride is a type of plastic that releases harmful toxins while it is being recycled or broken down.

It also requires special treatment when it is being recycled. Recycling PVC entails grinding it into small particles and melting those particles to create a new product. So, you can recycle air mattresses, but there it is subject to numerous conditions.

The process of recycling PVC can be carried out in two ways; mechanically and feedstock recycling. Mechanical recycling is by far the more common one, and it entails grinding the mattresses into tiny particles, melting them and using them to make new air mattresses.

It seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, it isn’t, which explains why most recycling centers do not accept air mattresses.

The mechanical method of recycling an air mattress is quite unpredictable. It means that most times, recycling companies do not know what the outcome will be. Post #3 plastics all have a polyvinyl chloride basis and contain various additives that give them unique characteristics. For instance, some additives make #3 products flexible, and some make them rigid.

Now, when all these plastics are recycled in the same machine, they can produce useless materials that will have to be thrown away. PVC is only useful at a particular percentage, and once it exceeds that percentage, a problem arises.

Recycling centers now accept PVC items, but most refrain from taking on air mattresses containing PVC. You may inquire at your local recycling center if they accept air mattresses with PVC. If they don’t, you can use a recycling locator to find the closest recycling center that will.

It would be best not to place your old air mattress in the recycling bin unless you are confident that your recycling center accepts it. If you do, it may damage the recycling machines if the recycling center workers sort through the materials in the recycling bin. They can get tangled in the recycling machine and destroy it.

An air mattress that contains PVC may be dangerous for your health because it releases phthalates which your body can absorb. So, when you are in the market for a new air mattress, you may want to go for one that does not contain PVC. Air mattress manufacturers now produce mattresses that do not contain PVC.

Can You Donate an Air Mattress?

Since most recycling centers do not accept air mattresses, you may be looking into other ways to dispose of your old ones. However, it may have crossed your mind to donate it, and you may be wondering if you can.

Well, you can donate your old air mattress, but it is subject to some conditions. First, of course, the mattress has to be in good condition. Air mattresses are subject to punctures and rips, and for obvious reasons, you cannot donate ripped or punctured ones.

Aside from punctures and rips, you also have to ensure that it does not have an odor. It will be wrong on many levels to donate a mattress that has a noticeable, permanent odor. You may also want to look out for stains on your mattress. Stains that you cannot wash off automatically disqualify your mattress from being presentable, so you may want to look into that.

An air mattress has an average lifespan of 5 years. Once your own has surpassed that, then it is likely that it will begin to deteriorate. Of course, if you have hardly used it, it may still be in good condition, which means you can donate it. However, if you have used it regularly, you may not want to donate it once it has exceeded its lifespan.

Donating your old air mattress is a great way to dispose of it since recycling may not be an option. First, however, you have to ensure that it is presentable. Wash it with a potent disinfectant and dry it properly before you donate it.

Some charity organizations may not take on old mattresses, so you may find it a bit challenging to find one that does. When you find one, ensure that you put the mattresses in a great and presentable condition before you send it in.

Can You Use a Hair Dryer to Blow Up an Air Mattress?

Most air mattresses come with built-in pumps that you can use to inflate them. However, you will have to connect it to the power supply as it is dependent on electricity. Therefore, some instances may arise and require you to use a manual method to inflate your air mattress.

Using a hairdryer is a great improvisation. When you go camping in the woods, you may not have a source of electricity. There are cordless hair dryers that are quite portable too. It is a fantastic idea to pack your hairdryer with you, as it will come in really handy when you want to inflate your mattress.

Now, you may be wondering if you can pump your mattress with hot air. Well, most hair dryers come with the option to alternate the air between hot and cold. You can change it to cold air when you need to inflate the mattress. Set it properly, and before you know it, you have yourself an inflated air mattress.

You don’t have to limit this method to just when you go camping. You can also use it even in the comfort of your home.

Can You Patch an Air Mattress With a Duct Tape?

If you have got a punctured or ripped air mattress that is nowhere near the end of its lifespan, do not fret, as it does not necessarily mean the end for it. There are several ways you can fix this problem, and using duct tape is one of them.

First, you will have to locate the puncture. Finding where the leak is coming from is crucial if you intend to fix it. If you have trouble finding it, ensure that it’s inflated and pour some foamy water on it. The punctured part will reflect bubbles within moments, and you will be able to pinpoint it quickly.

Next, you will have to deflate the mattress and scrub it well. The essence is to remove all the grease or materials that will prevent the duct tape from getting properly attached. You can now cut a patch of duct tape large enough to cover the puncture or rip adequately.

To beautify your new modification, you can paint over it with your favorite paint or even the original color of the air mattress. It is a great tip you can resort to instead of throwing out your air mattress.

What Can You Do With an Old Air Mattress?

Since we have established that most air mattresses contain PVC, which most recycling centers avoid, then just how do we dispose of them? Of course, donating is always an option, but they’re also happen to be others.

Please, read on for supper fun and environmentally positive ways to dispose of your old air mattresses.

1. Shopping Bags

You can turn your old air mattress into a couple of shopping bags. You will need a pair of scissors, a tape measure, a sewing machine or hand needles and some paint. Cut the mattress into rectangles of the same size, cut out some straps and sew them together.

Now, splashing it with your favorite paint color is optional. However, it makes it more aesthetically appealing and prevents people from knowing that you fashioned it out of an old air mattress. You can also turn it into an artsy tote bag that you can gist out.

2. Waterproof Covers

Air mattresses are made from PVC, which is a type of plastic that is waterproof. Essentially, you can use your old air mattress as a makeshift waterproof cover. You can cut it into a size large enough to cover what you are looking to protect.

For example, you can use it to protect your car or even that beautiful garden seat you just had installed from getting dirty or wet when it’s raining.

3. Ground Sheet Protector

If you own an air mattress, then chances are you enjoy camping. During your next camping trip, you can take your old mattress with you and lay it on the ground. Then, you can place your sleeping bag or new air mattress on it. It protects you from the harsh ground surface.

4. Painting Tarp

We bet you didn’t know that you can turn your old air mattress into a painting tarp. Well, if you enjoy arts and crafts, we can guarantee that you will like this one. The material that the air mattress is made from is very suitable for protecting your ground and walls from getting stained by paint.

Simply cut up the deflated air mattress into suitable sizes, and you have yourself a painting tarp.


An air mattress is a very portable mattress. When it is deflated, it takes up little space, and as such, can be moved quite easily. It is also perfect for a night when you have many visitors and need an extra mattress. You can take it camping or even use it as your main mattress at home.

However, despite the numerous advantages, it can be a bit of a pickle when you have to dispose of it. Well, this blog post will certainly help you see the various ways you can dispose of it, especially when recycling is no longer an option. So please, read up and stay informed.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.