Dow targets industrial-scale mattress recycling initiative

Dow Polyurethanes, a business division of chemical giant Dow has announced plans to create an industrial-scale recycling facility in France to treat discarded mattress foam to be used in a range of applications.

Dow targets industrial-scale mattress recycling initiative

Dow Polyurethanes expects its first batch of Renuva polyols to be delivered in early 2021

Dow’s Renuva Mattress Recycling programme will see the creation of a pioneering industrial-scale production facility at Orrion Chemicals Orgaform in Semoy, France.

The facility, which is expected to be worked on in later in the year, takes discarded mattress foam and turn it back into raw material (polyol) through chemical recycling. New raw materials generated from the process can then be used in foam products, be used for building insulation, or used in new mattresses.

“Through Renuva our ambition is to address some of the circular economy goals set out in the EU’s Green Deal and in national waste management strategies of countries like France,” Marcel Moeller, global marketing and sustainability director, Dow Polyurethanes, said.

Dow Polyurethanes expects its first batch of Renuva polyols to be delivered in early 2021.

 Every year, around 30 million mattresses are thrown away in Europe. Dow believes its solution will assist with the EU’s goal of having 65% of municipal waste recycled by 2030.

In the UK, efforts are also underway to improve the circular economy of materials, not just plastics. Campaigners, Changing Markets Foundation and Zero Waste Europe have called for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation in the UK, which has since been issued in its Resources and Waste Strategy.

The Government has launched a string of consultations on changing EPR regimes for products including textiles, mattresses, carpets and furniture in 2020 and to introduce such frameworks by the end of 2025.

Around 7.5 million mattresses are being sent to landfill or incineration in the UK every year. However, an early success story in this space comes from Bensons for Beds, which last July revealed that it has recycled almost 40,000 beds since the launch a take-back scheme 10 months prior. It has diverted more than 1,800 tonnes of mattresses from landfill in that time period.

Matt Mace

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