Bean bag chairs came into style during the 1960s and 1970s, but today, they are more popular than ever. These trendy pieces of furniture are available in stores and online. And they come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes. They can serve essential functions, even replacing more traditional types of furniture. There is no end to their usefulness. And most importantly, bean bags are incredibly comfortable. Keep reading to learn how to dispose of a bean bag chair.
Some manufacturers and retailers purport that their bean bags will last a lifetime. However, even the best bean bag chairs will have a finite lifespan. According to experts, you can expect bean bag furniture to last an average of four years. Bean bag chair covers may last much longer than this. But eventually, you will have to replace the filling. How frequently will depend on the level of care the bean bag has received. Or, if you have drastically altered your décor, you may want to replace the bean bag entirely. However, this may cause a dilemma. How to dispose of it properly?
Bean Bag Covers
Bean bag covers use a variety of materials. The most durable covers use heavy-duty polyester or nylon. But other types of fabric are not uncommon. These include cotton, linen, canvas, denim, leather and faux fur. If one should develop scratches or holes, it is usually a simple matter to mend. They can be sewn or patched like any other textile. But if the damage is too excessive or the mending will be too unsightly, you may want to dispose of the cover altogether.
Getting rid of a bean bag chair cover doesn’t have to be a chore. Once you remove the beans from the bean bag, the covers can be tightly folded and tossed into a rubbish bin. However, larger types of bean bag furniture may not fit into a bin in one piece. In cases such as this, you can take it directly to your local landfill. Or you can cut it into manageable pieces with a sturdy pair of scissors or a box cutter. Then put the segments into the bin for pickup a few at a time.
Recycle or repurpose?
Alternately, it is possible to recycle or repurpose bean bag covers in a variety of ways. The most convenient solution is to find someone else who can put the entire bean bag or just the cover to good use. People love free stuff! So advertising a free bean bag through an online classified ad can often get it out of your home quickly. Some people may have more time on their hands for mending or be more highly skilled at doing the necessary work. Others may not care as much about aesthetics. Yet others may use bean bag covers in unique ways that are too numerous to list here, such as art installations.
Some bean bag covers consist of textiles that are not recyclable. Very few, if any, recycling centres will accept bean bags. However, if it is still in good condition, you could donate a cover or a whole bean bag to Lifeline or the Salvation Army.
A final way to dispose of a bean bag chair cover is to cut it carefully into lengths of fabric for repurposing. Some bean bags are large enough to make clothing from the material. Or, if it is not suitable for clothing, it can be cut into smaller sizes to make rags for your home or shop.
Bean Bag Filling
While disposing of a bean bag cover is a relatively easy task, disposing of the filling is more complicated. Bean bags can contain a variety of different materials. Some may be filled with foam or memory foam chunks, while others may use a natural fill, such as dried beans, buckwheat husks or rice.
Getting rid of foam chunks will prove problematic because you cannot recycle most types of memory foam. You may find it easier to throw these out in your rubbish a bit at a time. Or reuse the filling for stuffing other bean bags or pillows. However, the natural filling should not give you any problems. Most natural fillers can be composted or used in landscaping and gardening. Some of the softer natural fillings, like beans or rice, can be put down the Insinkerator in your kitchen sink a little at a time until it is gone.
Fortunately, the fillers mentioned above are not very common. By far, the best bean bag chairs use filler that is made from small beads of expanded polystyrene (EPS). These beads are lightweight, plentiful and subject to static cling, which can make disposal a challenge. The good news is that EPS beads can be recycled or reused in numerous ways. You can also find out how to remove static from bean bag filling. Learn more about recycling polystyrene.
EPS Filling Disposal
Tossing EPS filling in your refuse bin is a simple solution that many consumers take advantage of. The first and toughest step in this processing is removing the beads from the bean bag cover. Removing the beans can be accomplished by using a medium-sized vessel, preferably with a handle. A large measuring cup or a pitcher will work well. If you try to use your hands, you may find that the beads will cling to your skin and clothing, creating quite a mess.
When using a container of some sort, all you have to do is scoop the beads into a separate bag until the cover is empty. On the other hand, some people have found vacuum cleaners to come in handy for picking up EPS beads. If your vacuum uses disposable bags, you can vacuum beads with no mess. Once the bag is full, you can drop it into your bin. If your vacuum has a refillable canister, you will have to empty it when it is full into another bag placed in your refuse bin.
Recycling EPS Beads
If you are environmentally conscious and do not just throw anything into the rubbish bin, you will be happy to know that EPS beads are now fully recyclable. EPS takes approximately 1,000 years to break down in a landfill, and studies have shown that they leach harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater throughout the process, providing a decent argument for the sake of recycling.
Since it was invented, EPS was not considered to be recyclable, so tons of the material went into landfills. Modern advances in technology have changed all that, allowing for EPS to be cost-effectively recycled. It may take some time to find a recycling centre that accepts EPS, but you will be happy that you are not contributing to environmental contamination once you do.
EPS has several applications in the real world. You can recycle the EPS beads found in bean bags at any point in their lifespan. The material is 98 per cent air, but the physical compounds can be transformed into a liquid that you can use to create new EPS or a range of hard plastics.
If you cannot find an EPS recycling facility near you and still wish to avoid throwing them away as garbage, then you can reuse the filling in your bean bags in several inventive ways. In so doing, the lifespan of the beads will increase; they will serve specific purposes and, perhaps, save you some money in the long run.
The most obvious way to reuse your EPS bean bag filling is to purchase a replacement cover and use it in the new bean bag. Since many bean bags sold online only include the cover, you will save money by reusing your existing beads rather than buying new ones. Some bean bag users claim that the beads flatten and become worthless for use in furniture over time, but this is a myth. The stretched fabric is the most likely culprit for the deflation of bean bags. So, even if you will not be buying a replacement, you can add them to existing bean bags to keep them full.
One of the most ubiquitous uses of Styrofoam and other EPS materials is for packaging. Whenever you have to send a parcel of a delicate nature, the beads will cushion any blows received during shipping. While you can use them loosely in a box, this can create a messy endeavour for the recipient, so it is suggested to put the beads in several smaller bags before packaging.
Another great use for EPS beads is for arts and crafts. If you or someone you know is a creative person, the beads make great material for creating new masterpieces. All you need is a backing board, a little glue and some paint to make three-dimensional art that will attract attention and get you recognized for your imagination. One interesting trick is to use the filling on the back of existing works of art instead of using traditional frames. You can then push the art directly into a nail in the wall to create the illusion that it is floating.
Although harmful chemicals can leach out of EPS filling, the beads can still be used safely to treat the soil for container plants. The filling will aerate the soil and allow it to drain properly. Doing this also prevents elements in the soil from rotting. And it saves you money that you would otherwise spend on perlite or other soil conditioners. As a bonus, beaded soil is much lighter in weight than untreated soil. So it makes transporting your plants easier.
EPS is a Great Insulator
EPS is highly resistant to thermal conductivity. It can be used in a few different applications to prevent the loss of heat or cold. If there are uninsulated spaces in your home, the beads can be used to fill the gaps. While some prefer to break the balls into even smaller particles, you can also use them whole. They work great in attics and behind drywall, and you will experience a notable difference in temperature changes.
Another great idea is to use the beads to craft custom drink cozies. Mailing tubes work well in this application because they can easily be held in the hands. You can slip cans or bottles inside them. All you have to do is glue the beads to the inside of the tube. Then decorate the outside as you see fit. Once the glue has dried, insert your favourite canned or bottled beverage. It will stay cold for hours.
Try giving away the EPS filling through classified advertisements. Certain groups use the material in manufacturing yard and garden ornaments. However, this is a complex process for most people. Legitimate manufacturers have the right equipment and tools to get the job done. Find a local business that produces Styrofoam or plastic statues. They will be happy to take the beads off your hands.
Few people realize that it is possible to use EPS to create plastic in your own home. All you need is some acetone nail polish remover. Put the bean bag filling in a large bowl and cover it with the nail polish remover. The acetone will dissolve the beads into a liquid. After that, just let it sit, and the liquid will harden into a plastic. Of course, not many people have a use for a piece of bowl-shaped plastic. So you can use a metal or silicone baking mould to create a virtually unlimited number of different shapes and sizes.
The best bean bag chairs are durable and last many years. However, situations may arise when they become irreparably damaged. Or you may have changed your décor, and the bean bag chairs no longer fit into your vision. Whatever the case may be, it is good to know that you have several options for disposal.