Time to decompose
On average a mattress takes 100 years to decompose. It will be foolish to assume it’s not just passively sitting there. That mattress, even without moving an inch, is affecting the environment and the world around it in a variety of negative ways.
The foremost problem of mattresses occupying valuable square footage of land is their sheer size. When this is equated to cubic feet, an average mattress takes 23 cubic feet. Land space is to be shared by people, habitat, wildlife as well as allowing nature to flourish. The avoidance of mattresses being dumped into our valuable earth is vital to allow earth’s landscape to function and flourish naturally the way its always been.
Harming our atmosphere
Mattresses can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, potentially including ozone depleters or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Such substances often form key components of chemical flame retardants and insect repellents used to treat lower-quality mattresses such as those made from polyurethane foam, cotton or synthetic latex. When these mattresses are dumped into landfills, exposure of these chemicals to the outside air takes place for the first time in a mattress’ lifespan. These substances are called “volatile” because they turn from solid or liquid form into a gas at very low temperatures – temperatures easily reached under the heat of the sun. Once “off-gassed” into the atmosphere, these chemicals are free to attack helpful substances such as ozone high above Earth’s surface.
Polluting the soil and water
Part of the lengthy decomposing process, bits of the mattress will eventually be transferred into the surrounding soil and groundwater. This groundwater can eventually make its way into rivers, lakes and even the ocean. With the earth’s water systems already heavily polluted, decomposing mattresses are only compounding the problem.