Can You Throw Away Pillows?

The Environmental Impact of Discarding Pillows: Should You Throw Them Away?

Unless you have a biodegradable pillow made of organic materials like Aloe Vera, you cannot simply throw it away. Since most pillows are made of polyester material, they tend to be wasted.

You should not throw away your pillow if at all possible. Check with your local recycling center or the American Textile Recycling Service to see if recycling polyester-filled pillows are possible in your area. They can also be donated to animal shelters.

When To Throw Away Your Pillows

There are several qualities of pillows that you can buy. Scientists say that you should change your pillows every six to ten months. However, if it is a higher quality pillow with memory foam, you can keep using it for up to two to three years. Pillows usually go bad once they get lumpy or can’t retain their shape.

The reason behind throwing away your pillow is not just because you got bored with it. More or less, most people throw away your pillow because they get old and dirty.

Since you spend so many hours of your day against your pillow, it can absorb body oils, dead skin, and other bacteria that your body sheds while sleeping or resting. And since a pillow is made out of fluffy fibers, it can absorb that bacteria and grow fungus or mold within it, which is bad for your health in the long run.

Thus, it would be best to throw away your pillow before any serious damage can be done to your health. This is also why experts recommend that you try and wash your pillow covers at least twice a week so that any germs or bacteria can be washed away.

However, if you think you cannot part with your pillow as soon as six months, you should wash it. Yes, wash the entire pillow and let it dry fully.

On the other hand, some experts have also come up with techniques to tell you when to throw away your pillow. For example, one way to tell is to fold your pillow in half and release it to see whether it bounces back to its shape. If it stays in that folded shape, it means the pillow should be thrown away.

Recycle Your Pillows

If you are environmentally conscious, you should always try to buy biodegradable pillows so that the environment does not hurt. However, suppose you already have an old polyester pillow that you want to throw away.

Dispose of Pillows

You can always give away your pillows to animal shelters. Animal shelters will usually take up any pillow you give them since humans are more prone to catching viruses from other humans, and animals are not. Donating a pillow for a little animal may make for a comfortable bed to sleep in.

Nonetheless, a polyester pillow cannot be put in a recycling bin because it cannot go into a recycling plant. Since polyester is just another form of plastic, it cannot be decomposed through a compost plant. It will need to go in the trash and just be thrown away. So, choose wisely when buying your pillows, and think about how you will dispose of them.

Additionally, since you cannot recycle the pillows yourself, special organizations take care of them. One of these organizations is the American Textile Recycling Service, which accepts all kinds of textile items. From bedding to pillows to carpets, they use old textiles to make new ones.

So, while a traditional recycling company would have to decompose the pillow (which in the case of a polyester pillow is not possible), this organization will repurpose it by using the textile of the pillow to make padding, cushioning, or threading for other items like carpets, rugs and throw covers.

Reuse Your Pillows

Once you have used the pillow to its maximum capacity and you think it is about time to throw it away, but you can’t find a sustainable way to do so, you can always reuse the materials yourself.

For example, you can use pillow stuffing for packing while moving. While old, the stuffing can still be very useful in ensuring that your breakable items don’t break in a box while moving them from one place to the other.

You can always use the pillow’s stuffing to stuff up old teddy bears, beanbags, and cushions. Through all these small ways, you can help save the environment and save up on buying additional items. It will also reduce your carbon footprint and help you live a sustainable life.


So, given that we have discussed the pillow matter to a large extent, it is safe to say that merely throwing away your pillow is not the best idea. Since we live in precarious times, you should always try your best to save the environment by recycling as much as possible, and with pillows, you can recycle to your heart’s desires.

In case you don’t want to keep an old pillow in your house, you should consider giving it away to a shelter, as mentioned above, or to a homeless person who may benefit from it.

Furthermore, you can employ several other tools to make sure that the pillow you dispose of does not end up in a landfill or in the sea, which will harm marine life. My suggestion would be to go out there and get yourself a biodegradable pillow right away.

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