Can Goose Down be Recycled?

I have two old down sleeping bags – one a double. The nylon on both is cracking, so they can’t be used any longer. The two bags probably contain around four pounds of down in total.

Some time ago I was told that goose down lasts a long time, can be reused, and there is a market for used down. Rather than just throwing away the bags, I’d like to find a way to recycle them.

Googling does not turn up any down recyclers. Does anyone know if down can be recycled and if so how?

I cannot help you with finding a place to recycle the down, but I am going to offer you my reservations about doing so: a good goose down pillow can last up to ten years, but the down does eventually disintegrate, and after it does, the pillow is not much good–it gets flat and packs down hard. My grandmother recently opened up one of her 30-year-old down pillows, and said the contents was basically dust. Speaking of dust, old down will be dirty. It is likely to have a high content of dust mites and dust mite particles, not to mention mold, mildew, and who knows what else. Maybe the nylon would keep mites out, I’m not sure–but if it did, then it would also keep allergens in, which would mean that the down was not rigorously cleaned before being put in, and is probably not appropriate to use in bed pillows. Even if you have no allergic sensitivities, it would smell bad. One even has to be careful when buying a brand-new down pillow, to make sure it doesn’t smell.

I have several friends who recycle down. However, they make their own equipment, so that doesn’t help you much. I’ve never seen any company that recycles down…too many health codes to worry about, and not too cost-effective would be my guess. If you want to make a vest using the down you have, there are kits on the market that will let you do that.