Blackburn-based The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) has revealed its pioneering work behind the scenes that aims to divert the 167,000 tonnes of mattresses still sent to landfill each year in the UK.
In a bid to help tackle the landfill crisis, TFR Group, one of the UK’s largest mattress recyclers, is continuing to invest heavily in ground-breaking systems that make the recycling of mattresses more viable and much more efficient. Already able to recycle up to 7000 mattresses a week, by mid-2018, TFR Group expects this capacity to grow to 20,000 mattresses a week thanks to its ongoing research and development into new and effective technologies.
As part of this work, TFR Group has designed and prototyped a revolutionary system that will allow a standard 40ft trailer, that ordinarily carries 90 mattresses, to carry 600 mattresses, meaning a significant reduction in transportation costs, and vastly increasing the viability of mattress recycling throughout the country. One of the current barriers to recycling mattresses is the cost of transportation to a mattress recycling facility.
Nick Oettinger, MD at The Furniture Recycling Group, says: “While Recycling Week is an important date in the industry calendar as it brings the issues facing our planet front of mind, it’s critical for us to remain as engaged as possible to the topic throughout the year.
“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.”
In recent years, UK retailers have run advertising campaigns advising consumers to 'MOT' their mattress after just seven years and to replace them after just eight. However, the recycling rate hasn’t been able to grow in line with this, despite increasing by an estimated 20% from 2012 to 2014. This became more prominent as a number of recyclers stopped accepting mattresses in 2014-15, and only two of the approximate 20 members of the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers who were sending mattresses for recycling 6-12 months previously, were still doing so at the start of 2016.
As the UK’s largest mattress recycler, TFR Group provides mattress recycling services for hotels, local authorities, waste management companies and retailers such as John Lewis. Through these efforts, it has helped significantly reduce the number of end of life mattresses being sent to landfill, and has successfully recycled over a million mattresses since the firm was launched in 2012.
The company recently launched a patented automated pocket spring mattress recycling machine, which dismantles and separates the components in pocket springs within mattresses, reducing the process from taking over half a day per full pocket spring to just 2.5 minutes. The traditionally time-consuming process of breaking down mattresses is one of the main reasons why many recycling companies become overwhelmed by the task at hand, and resort to dumping mattresses instead.
With TFR Group’s pocket spring mattress recycling machine and its new development recycling systems, the problem of mattress recycling could be eliminated across the UK, preventing more mattress mountains from appearing and more fines from being issued.
Any retailers, hoteliers and local authorities with questions about mattress recycling services or issues can get in touch with Nick Oettinger at The Furniture Recycling Group by calling 0800 050 9867.