Giving mattresses a second life

by: Mirjam Visser, 2014-01-20 12:30:32 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: To close the loop better recycling processes are necessary. 96% of the material in the mattresses in this process are re-used in new products

The Story

the process

Recyclers usually are not keen to recycle low density materials like mattresses. However about one quarter of the disposed mattresses in the Netherlands are now, fully mechanically, recycled and 96% of their material re-used. So far the only material not re-used is the kapok around the springs in boxspring mattresses, they are still looking for a client for this material, so at this point in time it is incinerated to get at least energy out of it.

What is produced with the recovered material?

  • Foam is recycled into carpets and building insulation material as a, non-allergic material with a higher energy insulation rate, alternative to glasswool
  • Cocos is mixed with sand and sold as a flooring in horse riding schools
  • Felt is re-used in blankets for horses, moving companies etc
  • Latex is uses in gym mats
  • Metal springs are cut and sold to a steel plant for recycling in many different products

When RetourMatras started to develop their business plan, incineration with energy re-covery cost about 120-140 euro per ton. At this moment contracts are closed at about 35 euro per ton due to over capacity. Still they recycle about a quarter because environmental legislation is supporting recycling and the customers in the Netherlands are getting more environmentally aware and demand mattress producers and large retailers to take back old mattresses for recycling. Nearly all bigger suppliers have a recycling contract with them now. RetourMatras collects the mattresses for 10 euro a piece at supplier locations, with a minimum of 10 pieces. Many municipalities now have separated mattresses collection boxes.

RetourMatras started a joint venture in Australia with the TIC group to start recycling mattresses in Asia.

Product: RetourMatras
Designer: Nanne Fioole
Manufacturer: RetourMatras
Category: Recycling


the process
recycling machine
the process

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