10th October 2017

Sleep easier when disposing of an old mattress

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The UK’s largest mattress recycler has announced new ways to help it divert many of the 167,000 tonnes of mattresses sent to UK landfills each year.

To coincide with this week’s Recycle Week, The Furniture Recycling Group (TFRG) has designed and prototyped a new system for a standard 40ft trailer to carry 600 mattresses, instead of its usual 90. It will also continue to invest in systems that make mattress recycling more viable and efficient.

The group expects capacity will increase from 7,000 mattresses to 20,000 mattresses a week by mid 2018. Many retailers have started advertising that mattresses should be replaced after eight years, but TFRG says that the recycling rate hasn’t been able to grow in line with this.

Nick Oettinger, managing director at The Furniture Recycling Group, which has recycled more than 1million mattresses, said: “We’re working hard to change the footprint and life cycle of a mattress, so its end of life is merely the start of a new one.

“There have been commitments to mattress recycling from some of the UK’s major retailers, which is definitely a step in the right direction, however, the current level of recycling doesn’t even come close to what is needed to make a dent on the landfill crisis we’re facing. In short, the situation is at crisis point.

“The UK still has a very long way to go to balance the scales and create a truly circular economy, in which the materials that are recovered from end of life mattresses are fed back into the manufacturing process. Thanks to our extensive research and pioneering development programme, we will soon be able to offer unprecedented levels of mattress recycling, that should help Britain work towards its tough sustainability targets.”

All mattresses that are collected or received at TFRG facilities are logged and a Waste Acceptance Note is completed to start the audit trail.

Items are deconstructed manually using specialist cutting tools which allow the materials to be segregated accurately for onward processing.

The recycling process not only puts product back into UK manufacturing with minimal carbon footprint but also generates sustainable employment for a variety of skilled and non-skilled people.