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 in stores and online in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes, and 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.
While some manufacturers and retailers purport that their bean bags will last a lifetime, 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. Depending 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 as to what to do to dispose of it properly.
Bean Bag Covers
Bean bag covers can be made out of a variety of materials. The most durable covers are created from heavy-duty polyester or nylon, but other types of fabric are not uncommon, including cotton, linen, canvas, denim, leather and faux fur. If one should develop scratches or holes, it is usually a simple matter to mend the bean bag chair cover. 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 just want to dispose of the cover altogether.
Getting rid of a bean bag chair cover doesn’t have to be a chore. Once emptied of the filler, 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 other garbage disposal site, or you can cut it into manageable pieces with a sturdy pair of scissors or a box cutter and put the segments into the bin for pickup a few at a time.
Alternately, it is possible to recycle or repurpose bean bag covers in a variety of ways. The easiest 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 in art installations.
The bad news about bean bag covers is that they are textiles, which are not normally recyclable. Very few, if any, recycling centres will accept bean bags. However, if it is still in good condition a cover or a whole bean bag could be accepted by one of several donation organizations, such as Lifeline or 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 so large that clothing can be sewn from the material, or if it is not suitable for clothing, it can be cut into smaller sizes that can be used for rags for your home or shop.
Bean Bag Filling
While disposing of a bean bag cover is a relatively easy task, it can be much more difficult to get rid of the filling. Bean bags can be filled with several different materials. Some may be filled with chunks of foam or memory foam while others may use a natural fill, such as dried beans, buckwheat husks or rice.
Getting rid of foam chunks will prove to be problematic because most types of foam cannot be recycled. You may find it easiest 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 filling, like beans or rice, can be put down the disposal in your kitchen sink a little at a time until it is gone.
Fortunately, the above-mentioned fillers 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.
EPS Filling Disposal
Tossing EPS filling in your refuse bin is a simple solution that is taken advantage of by many consumers. The first, and toughest, step in this processing is removing the beads from the bean bag cover. This 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, which can create 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. Some people, on the other hand, have found vacuum cleaners to come in handy for collecting EPS beads. If your vacuum uses disposable bags, the beads can be quickly sucked into it with no mess, and once the bag is full, you can just 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 that can be placed in your refuse bin.
Recycling EPS Beads
If you are environmentally conscious and do not just throw anything into the rubbish bin, then 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 in the sake of recycling.
For most of the time, 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 once you do, you will be happy that you are not contributing to environmental contamination.
EPS has several applications in the real world, and the EPS beads found in bean bags can be recycled at any point in their lifespan. The material is 98 per cent air, but the physical compounds can be transformed into a liquid that can then be used 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, they can be added 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 they can be used 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 type of 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 that will not be eaten. The filling will aerate the soil and allow it to drain properly. This also prevents elements in the soil from rotting, and it saves you money that would otherwise be spent 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 highly resistant to thermal conductivity, so 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, they can also be used whole. They work great in attics and behind drywall, and you will experience a notable difference in temperature changes.
Another great idea when it comes to the insulating properties of EPS 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, and cans or bottles can be slipped inside of them. All you have to do is glue the beads to the inside of the tube and decorate the outside as you see fit. Once the glue has dried, just insert your favourite canned or bottled beverage. It will stay cold for hours.
If you have tried giving away the EPS filling through classified advertisements, but no one is getting back to you, there are certain groups that use the material in manufacturing yard and garden ornaments. While this is a difficult process for most people, legitimate manufacturers have the right equipment and tools to get the job done. If you can 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 out, 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.
While the best bean bag chairs are durable and last a number of years, situations may arise when they become irreparably damaged, or you may simply 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.