I’ve lived in six different apartments in New York, and during my several moves, I’m often confronted with what I should leave behind, like old clothing or unused electronics. But what exactly do I do with pillows that have lost their cushioning or that old, ripped comforter that’s gathered dust in my closet?
Both pillows and comforters are considered household textiles, like curtains, drapes, or rugs. You typically can’t recycle these through your curbside recycling program (though, you can consult your own program by doing an online search to be sure).
If you’re interested in recycling a comforter to be made into new products like carpet padding, you can search for linen recycling using Earth911’s locator, or search for a nearby textile recycling facility online. Pillows, however, generally aren’t as easy to recycle. You may be able to find a facility that accepts foam pillows using the locator, but for hygienic reasons, you can’t donate them to most secondhand stores. (Still, giving them away is a viable option if you want to list them on sites like FreeCycle or even Craigslist.)
But if you want to save a little time and even help some dogs and cats in the process, you should contact your local animal shelter and ask if you can drop off your used bedding. Why? Shelters will often accept your spare comforters or pillows as bedding for animals. It’s a perfect trade-off and you can help animals feel a little more comfortable in unknown settings.
If you’re interested, here are some helpful tips from one Reddit thread on the subject:
- Wash them before you donate them.
- Avoid donating any bedding with holes.
- Avoid donating any torn bedding, with strings and stuffing hanging out.
- If you can, cutting up a large comforter into smaller comforters (likely, so more animals can benefit from your donation).
And, because it needs re-iterating, check with your shelter to make sure they accept your donated bedding before you make the drop-off. As Redditor u/KimKimMRW mentioned, you don’t want to inundate a shelter with any unneeded product. The need for comforters and pillows varies from shelter to shelter depending on demand, so a quick call can save both of you time.
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