The National Bed Federation (NBF) has started work on a comprehensive national survey of the fates of used mattresses in the UK. This is the third report the federation has commissioned, and follows on from two reports in 2014 and 2016 and a study of component recycling in 2017 – all compiled independently for the NBF by environmental consultant Oakdene Hollins.
NBF executive director Jessica Alexander explains: “We are asking as many retailers and manufacturers as we can to participate in the survey so our database can be as comprehensive and accurate as possible. The better the data input, the more rigorous the report’s findings and the better our future policy planning can be.”
Having a good indication of the mattress recycling rates in the UK has been an important step in understanding the scale of the problem of mattress disposal, informing the NBF’s ambition to drive improvement in recycling rates and reduce waste.
The first two surveys indicated a diversion from landfill rate of just 13% of new mattress sales in 2015 – and this was a decline from the 2014 estimate of 16% – largely due to a reduction in the number of mattress recycling facilities. However, the 2017 components survey, while on a smaller scale, indicated that the rates had picked up significantly again.
The new survey is aiming to gather data with which to calculate the percentage of new mattresses collected for recycling and energy recovery by local authorities, commercial and retail sectors for the fiscal years 2016-17 and 2017-18. It also aims to provide a review of takeback schemes, identifying good practice, and a review of end markets of the materials recovered.
Adds Jessica: “Government has made it clear in its waste & resources strategy, published just before Christmas, that it is intent on implementing regulatory and economic initiatives to tackle avoidable waste – and that textiles, mattresses and furniture are firmly on the agenda. The same is true for the other devolved administrations too – with mattresses due to be banned from landfill altogether in Scotland in 2020.
“This work will enable us to engage actively and intelligently with all the administrations on coming up with solutions to reduce and manage waste ever better and promote resource efficiency in future in ways which will work equally well for Government, business and consumers."
To take part in the survey, contact the NBF on firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 1st February.