How can I reuse or recycle feathers and down?

down_feather1We’ve had an email from Arlyn:

I have two feather and down duvets which are a smaller size than the normal single, which I have had for years but not used much. I have moved house and even brought them with me but have to get rid of them. Surely there is some use for the feathers and down. It feels still in good condition inside.

Using it as stuffing for other things – craft projects or adding more bulk to cushions or pillows – is the first idea that springs to mind. Anyone go any other suggestions?

Also, anyone got any thoughts on how they would compost? They’re organic in origin, obviously, so would probably break down quite easily – but I suspect they are treated with nasty, undesirable chemicals before being used as stuffing – anyone know for sure?

(Photo by zumbari)

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle feathers and down?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    If you have pets this would be wonderful bedding for them.

  2. isma says:

    1.Put them into this “door-dogs”, that keep the draft from doors away.

    2.Make special window pillows for cats.

    3. Make food hats .( this old fashion food hats that keeps the food warm.

    4. Foot warmer.

  3. Delusion says:

    Padded cushions for hard plastic garden chairs

  4. AJ Cann says:

    Feathers are made of protein and will compost well.

    • Angela Ireland says:

      Thanks for that . That is what I was looking for as I have a pillow which has got mouldy in storage and I put it in another case and washed it but it still smells. I wondered if it would compost.

  5. Frannie says:

    How about donating the duvets intact to a women’s shelter (they sound small enough for children’s bedding)?

    • Janet Kaiser says:

      Shelters, charity shops, inc animal charities do not take duvets here. Even the collections for sending to refugee camps don’t take used bedding, I’m afraid. May be different in your area so YMMV.

  6. Lucy says:

    I’ve recently read that feathers are a great source of nitrogen and are good for use in the garden, especially for soft fruit like raspberries and strawberries. You’re supposed to put a layer of thim in the hole when planting. I was also wondering if they had been treated with any chemicals but so far haven’t been able to find out. As far as I could gather from the article I read though, it seems that they’re perfectly safe to use for this purpose.

  7. Feathers compost, adding nitrogen and minerals. Just do not add a lot at one time. Along with feathers, hamster bedding, bird poop, among other non-meat eating pets poop, dry dog or cat food can also be added. So, before throwing it out, consider putting it back into the land and improve nutrients. BTW, if you don’t compost because your just getting started, just bury it, at least several inches below the surface, and space the burials several inches apart. Recycle the nutrients.

  8. Andy says:

    Donate the bedding to a dog or cat sancturay, there always in need of fresh bedding

  9. Katie Doll says:

    I’ve met a lot of indians that make crafts and such from feathers. If you don’t want to make crafts yourself, you could donate them to people who would. You could donate them to schools or girlscouts for craft projects.

  10. Gulia says:

    Decorate a hat.

  11. jan says:

    I always give my unwanted duvets to horse and donkey rescue centres, they put them under the rug for extra warmth for the elerly occupants :)

  12. Kathleen Thro says:

    What factors determine whether the down and feathers can be reused to make another pillow or blanket for people rather than animals?

  13. Sammii says:

    You could buy a hair clip and hot gluse them to it with a cute white bow or fake white flower to make an adorable hair accessory, or if you have enough you could make a cute little evening out dress. Just get a white dress and sow them on facing up on the dress. I hope this gives you some creative ideas for your feathers.

  14. Ally McMaster says:

    I don’t think reusing is an option. They’ll be full of dust mites. Composting is the only option if you don’t want to just dump them.

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