Part of the mission here at Earth911 is to help you create a greener, more sustainable home. We’ve already covered several rooms in your house like the kitchen and bathroom. Today, we’re going to look at 10 things in your bedroom you can reuse or recycle.

However, before we dive in, I do want to mention one thing you can do to reduce your recycling needs. With each of the items listed below, when you buy products made from high-quality materials, they will generally last much longer and will be able to be reused over and over again. By extending the life of the products we use, we can reduce the need to create more, new products from virgin materials.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Mattresses

Mattresses are one of the biggest and bulkiest items to recycle in most homes. Fortunately, mattress recycling options have grown considerably in recent years. The Mattress Recycling Council develops and implements recycling programs in various states across the country. If you are ready to recycle a mattress in your home, there are a few options.

If you’re buying a new mattress, ask if they will haul away your old mattress when they deliver the new one. Even if there is a small fee, it may be worth it.

Check with your city to see if they offer a bulk waste recycling program that accepts mattresses.
Search the Earth911 recycling directory to see if there is a local mattress recycling company in your area.

2. Pillows

Unlike mattresses that are usually replaced every 10 years, pillows typically only last two to three years before it’s time to replace them. Pillows generally can’t be donated for reuse because of sanitary concerns, but there are some fun reuse projects.

One of my favorites is to use old pillows as a doggie bed. Dogs love them and it gives your pillows a bit more time before they’re ready for disposal. If you don’t have any pets, you may have friends or a local animal shelter that would take them off your hands. Want more ideas? Here are six additional ways to reuse your old pillows. If it is time to recycle your old pillows, you can try searching for a local textile recycling center to see if they will accept them.

3. Blankets & Linens

We’ve covered linen and blanket recycling quite extensively here on Earth911. When it comes to blankets, always consider donating clean ones to people who are in need. Many shelters are on the lookout for blankets they can give away. If you love DIY projects, check out this list of 10 reuse projects for sheets.

4. Dressers & Bookshelves

When it comes to dressers and bookshelves, buying quality furniture becomes so important. Solid wood furniture, while a pain to move, will last many, many years. We have furniture that my grandparents bought years ago and it still looks fantastic. Meanwhile, the particleboard shelf in my daughter’s room isn’t going to make it much longer.

Solid wood furniture can be refinished over and over again, giving it a whole new life. If you have furniture that you’re ready to part with, always consider selling it or giving it away to someone else. If it is time to recycle it, visit the Earth911 furniture recycling guide for more help.

5. Bedframes & Other Metal Furniture

Metal bedframes and furniture can last years and years. While metal isn’t quite as easy as wood to refinish, it is possible. If you need to get rid of an old bedframe or any other metal furniture, always look to sell/give it away. Craigslist is a great option for this, along with Freecycle. If it is time to recycle it, however, the process is quite easy. Depending on the type of metal, most scrap metal recycling centers will take bedframes and recycle them. You may even make a little extra money, too. Search for a scrap metal recycling location here.

6. Books & Magazines

Even though we have bookshelves throughout our house, somehow I always end up with a huge stack of books next to my nightstand. As you might expect, books and magazines are rather easy to recycle. Most curbside programs will accept both, with one exception. Hardcover books generally need to have their covers ripped off since these aren’t just paper. Of course, before you start tossing books into the recycling bin, you should consider selling them or donating them to a local library or charity.

7. Toys

When it comes to kids’ toys, I always recommend looking to give them away to another family who will use them. Being the oldest of five kids, I know we had many, many used toys growing up. Most toys can make it through multiple children before they are broken or completely fall apart.

If you have toys your little one no longer uses, search for local donation centers that will take them. You can also sell them on Craigslist, in Facebook garage sale groups, or through a myriad of other venues.

8. Baby Gear

Speaking of kids’ toys, baby gear is another complicated recycling category. Just like toys, if the item still has some life left in it, consider giving it away or selling it. However, when a stroller has made its way through five children, it’s really ready for retirement. In some cases, such as strollers, you can separate the parts and take portions of it to a recycler. Metal and fabric strollers can be manually broken down and taken to scrap metal recyclers and textile recyclers.

If you have some baby gear like bouncers, swings and strollers that are ready to recycle, you may need to use a little elbow grease and break them down on your own before recycling in the appropriate places. And if you have a car seat that needs to be recycled, read this.

9. Picture Frames

Growing up with a photographer in the family, pictures, along with picture frames, were often getting swapped out. If you have old picture frames you no longer want, consider one of these 10 upcycling projects.

If upcycling isn’t your thing, you can always give them away. Metal picture frames can be dropped off at any scrap metal recycler. Unfortunately, plastic picture frames are a bit more difficult to recycle. Often they are made up of a mix of plastics, making recycling nearly impossible. If they do have a number on them, you can search for a location in your area that accepts that plastic number.

10. Light Bulbs

As a green-minded individual, you’ve probably converted most of your home to CFL bulbs. As these burn out, make sure you dispose of them properly. These bulbs contain mercury and need to be recycled in a specific manner. Search for a CFL recycling location in your area when it comes time to dispose of them.

I would recommend replacing those CFL bulbs with LED ones. They burn more efficiently and are supposed to last a very long time. There is one thing to keep in mind about LED bulbs, though. Since these are still relatively new, there really aren’t any recycling options just yet. This should change as more and more people begin using them, but if you do have one go out, you probably won’t have a local recycling option just yet.

What else do you have in your bedroom that you need help recycling? Ask away in the comments below and I’ll see if I can help you out.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

By Brian Brassaw

Brian formerly managed the Earth911 Recycling Search and shared green living tips and tricks on Earth911’s Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts. Brian also shares DIY projects on Little Pilots Lounge.