The Best Way To Recycle Old Pillows And Cushions

PET CHECK BLOG Dog and cat sleeping on a cushion

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\\\ updated 19 November 2021

Recycling Pillows And Cushions

You may not be a dog, cat, or a pet owner and have never realised that pets and, particularly strays, need your help and this can be one of the best ways to recycle your old clean re-usable pillows and cushions, donating to your local pet shelter or pet charity shop.

After purchasing new pillows for our bedrooms, we didn’t know what to do with 12 old pillows!

Jack Russell dog in his bed

Many pillows are now not environmentally friendly being made of synthetic fibres. WRAP the UK recycling organisation report that both duvet and pillow recycling is “challenging” and encourages the public to recycle clean usable pillows to local charities and not dispose of them textile recycling banks.

Recycle Now responsible for directing the public to their local recycling plant, provide this statement –

Duvets and pillows are not recyclable; however some animal charities may be able to use them for bedding. Otherwise, they should be put in the general waste.

Recycle Now does not list any specific details about cushions.

It seems a real waste that clean, usable pillows and cushions have to be trashed so here are some alternatives to recycle.


Not Damaged

Clean usable pillows and cushions

May have their contents label still attached/not attached



Damaged pillows and cushions with holes, inner fibres visible and falling out

\\\ Reusable Pillows and Cushions

1 – Not Damaged Pillows And Cushions

Donating – Animal Charities and Shelters

Pet charity shops have a presence in most local towns and cities. They can sell duvets, blankets, pillows, and towel donations as long as they are in good condition, clean and re-usable, preferably with their contents and washing instruction label intact.

Animal shelters need duvets and blankets, sometimes pillows and cushions for smaller pets, to give their dogs and cats some soft and warm comfort in their pens when waiting to be rehomed and towels for everyday needs when caring for the animals.

Pet charity shops and shelters do have limited space and may only take these donated items infrequently, so it’s best to call ahead and find out what their current space allocation is like, rather than turning up at their premises with a huge bundle and being rejected. Something they do not like doing but need to from time to time.

The items do need to be freshly washed and aired and the charities may ask you to pack them in a certain way, so calling ahead is essential.

Pillows are most suited to being donated to dog and cat charities and shouldn’t be used, for example in rabbit hutches where rabbits like to nibble through anything in sight! When it’s cold, there are other ways to provide outside pet rabbits with better protection.

To find your nearest pet charity that may be able to take your pillows, and cushions in the UK, ‘google’ with the appropriate search terms and search whom often has the nearest pet charities to your location listed.

Some charities may be able to pick up from you if you have substantial bundles of donations, but you will need to call them and find out.

*Covid-19 has placed other restrictions on these donations to Animal shops and shelters. Charity shops have had to close in line with government restrictions from time to time and animal shelters may not be permitting the public.

Donating To Pet Owners

Dog beds get thrashed with some dogs jumping in and out of their beds at least 50 times a day when playing and resting and sleeping. The inner cushion or pad takes a lot of wear.

Cats can snooze up to 15 hours a day and will be using their bed to lie in, which in time, the cushion or pad will become less effective, limp, and less supportive.

Most dog and cat beds are sold with a removable cushion or pad and have a zip opening with a removable inner which generally can be washed. The inners do get worn out, similar to a human bed mattress, with constant almost hourly, 365 days wear, each year. They lose their thickness and start failing to support your pet fully when resting.

Numerous pet owners use good quality, washable old pillows, cushions, and even thinner or smaller duvets as fillings for their pet pads or cushions, either as extra filling or all the filling, and save the need to buy a new pet pad or cushion inner.

Cushions and pillows are particularly suited to use as inners in the small dog and cat bed pads and cushions.

We’ve known a thrifty pet owner to use an old camping sleeping bag with a broken zip that saved buying a new dog’s pad cushion for another five years!

Dog lying on comfortable bed mattress
Dog mattress available from Not In The Dog House

Dog oblong-shaped mattresses are very versatile and have become very popular, and these too may need their inners replaced or have some additional support added for their pet’s sleep.

Tip for dog and cat owners – always look when buying a pet bed for quality and removable cushion pad inner that provides lots of support for your pet sleeping. Generally, the main bed doesn’t wear out as fast as the cushion pad and may save you money over the years by only having to replace the cushion.

Donating To The Homeless

Reuse-Network works with a range of volunteers and charities across the UK to help people in poverty. They also need good quality pillows and cushions.

Check also with your local food bank where many have turned to help those who additionally need home items such as duvets and pillows. the online search directory, will list your local food bank.


You may also be a keen gardener and use a garden knee pad that also has seen better days and needs a new inner if it has a zip fastening opening. Another great way to prolong its life and recycle with additional ‘stuffing.’ Another way is to use old cushions and cover with a plastic bag. It will provide an instant knee pad.

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Advertising Your Donation

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association has informed us that there’s an estimated 24% of UK adults own a cat with an estimated population of more than 12 million pet cats and 26% of the UK adult population own a dog with an estimated population of more than 12 million pet dogs. (2021 figures).

Given these mighty large statistics, there are FREE online platforms where the public may be grateful for your good-quality pillows and cushions for their pets. Advertise for free on –

1 Olio now widely used across the UK for sharing free food also allows other forms of free exchanges. A great way to locally off-load you’re good quality pillows with more than 3.5 million members.

2 Freecycle is a similar online platform as the name suggests, a worldwide partnership with local groups.

3 ilovefreegle is a free recycling website with local groups dotted all around the UK.

4 Gumtree offers a famous free listing platform for local collection.

5 Facebook ‘local’also can offer you quick disposal advertising for free on your local neighbourhood Facebook page.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t charge for your good quality items if you prefer, and the usual websites such as eBay, Gumtree, Facebook local are ideal online platforms.

\\\ Damaged Pillows and Cushions


Damaged Pillows And Cushions

What to do with old unusable and damaged pillows and cushions

The bad news – recycling centres don’t encourage the public to deposit at their depots.

Damaged pillows and cushions are best given to a charity shop where they sort through old textiles and send them to ‘the rag man’. This incredibly important work that charity shops do provides them with a tiny amount of payment but the goods get recycled to dedicated bulk textile recyclers who sort through and re-use where they can. If you are planning to donate damaged goods in large quantities then it’s important to label bags and follow the instructions above in this article contacting shops prior to your attendance.

Charity shops often have small sorting areas for new goods donated and can only take large bulkier items at certain times and when less busy.

We are sure that someone, somewhere will need your recycled goods.

You may like to read more about ways to recycle your home items

#Reuse #Recycle



3 thoughts on “The Best Way To Recycle Old Pillows And Cushions

  1. Hi I have about 10 cushions that I would like to donate to a pet charity.
    I do not drive so they would need to be collected.


    1. We suggest you call your local charities (you can check these on or google local search) and ask if they have a collection service. We do know that some local charities will pick up. The alternative is to give them away to pet owners using the olio free food app, advertising them for free. This is information is on our blog. There are more contact addresses on our blog


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