The NBF has responded to the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DER) consultation on its new waste prevention plan for England, broadly welcoming the measures proposed and inviting close co-operation on the intention to consult with the furniture industry on the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme (EPR) for furniture by the end of 2025.

“The Government’s plans aren’t just about recycling more waste, it wants to reduce the waste in the first place through measures such as ecodesign, reuse and remanufacture,” says NBF executive director Jessica Alexander. “It was particularly gratifying to see the report specifically reference as an example of best practice our ecodesign principles guide for mattresses, which we published in the summer of 2020.”

In its response to the consultation, the NBF drew attention to many of the other initiatives it has been working on over the past few years, including: ecodesign 2 – a handbook for the implementation of the ecodesign principles; detailed reports on the fate of end-of-life mattresses; policies on reuse and reconditioned mattresses and components; the Register of Approved Mattress Recyclers (RAMR); a bid for funding for a packaging research project; and its partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, developing an outline business case for an EPR scheme for mattresses.

Jessica adds: “We were able to highlight our view that a UK-wide mandatory, industry-led EPR scheme is the best option – which has also been the conclusion of the ZWS project – and caution the Government about the potential downside of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the furniture sector as a whole.”

The DEFRA consultation closed on 10th June. “We await the outcome and look forward to working closely with the Government on tackling mattress waste,” Jessica concludes.

Meanwhile, members of the NBF board are already working on plans for an industry-led Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) which could potentially run an EPR scheme for mattresses.