Dow has recruited another partner to its Renuva mattress recycling programme. The company announced that it will collaborate with Eco-mobilier, the French mattress and furniture EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) organisation, on the collection and supply of post-consumer polyurethane foam for the programme.
The Renuva project aims to take discarded mattress foam and turn it back into raw material through chemical recycling, the process of converting waste into feedstock. The new raw material can then be used in flexible or rigid foam products to go into applications such as building insulation boards and even back into new mattresses.
This collaboration is a demonstration of a completely new eco-system being built to create a circular economy for polyurethanes, according to Neil Carr, president of Dow Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.
Eco-mobilier has been collecting used mattresses since 2013, reaching a volume of 66,000 tons in 2019. The organisation will employ its used mattress collection and dismantling capabilities to supply post-consumer polyurethane foam to Orrion Chemicals Orgaform, which is building an industrial scale chemical recycling unit in Semoy, France. Here, the recovered foam will be converted into polyols. Dow aims to validate and work towards creating a market for these recycled polyols.
The Renuva project aims to recycle up to 200,000 mattresses a year in France. Initial production of Renuva polyols is anticipated in the first half of 2021.
“At Dow, we are addressing the challenge of discarded mattresses head on. We have been actively reviewing centrally organized waste collection, dismantling, and recycling systems for end-of-life material for years. France has set an example by creating the EPR scheme and Eco-mobilier is leading the way in mattress and furniture waste collection,” said Carr.
Nonetheless, the markets for such materials remain limited, says Eco-mobilier, whose executive board is composed of 12 manufacturers and 12 retailers who work in the mattress and furniture industry in France.
“Thanks to this pioneering project with Dow, we are closing the loop by opening a new era for mattress recycling,” said Dominique Mignon, president of Eco-mobilier.