Dow Polyurethanes, a business division of Dow, Orrion Chemicals Orgaform and Eco-mobilier - responsible for the collection of the mattresses - together with H&S Anlagentechnik and The Vita Group have inaugurated a pilot mattress recycling plant as part of the Renuva programme. The new plant will chemically recycle old and discarded mattresses made of polyurethane foam, a process that will yield a new polyol - a key starting material to produce polyurethane. The pilot plant represents a major step forward for the recovery and recycling of polyurethane foam and a significant advance for closing the loop for end-of-life mattresses. At full capacity the plant will process up to 200,000 mattresses per year to tackle the growing mattress waste problem.
“We are immensely proud to have unveiled this plant. By doing so we are answering the question of what can be done with recycled polyurethane foam. It is part of Dow’s strong commitment to delivering solutions that help close the loop and protect our environment,” said Marie Buy, Sustainability Leader EMEAI, Dow Polyurethanes.
The plant uses a chemical recycling process in which the polyurethane foam is decomposed and converted into a novel single product, Christian Siest, President, Orrion Chemicals Orgaform, explained. “The great thing about this is versatility; we can process foam from any mattress and the Renuva polyol recipe itself can be tailored for different applications.”
The Vita Group will use the Renuva polyol to create its Orbis flexible foam, providing a more sustainable offering to the bedding market.
“Consumer attitudes have changed significantly, and people are becoming a lot more focused on making sustainable choices. We have already seen strong interest from customers across Europe for Orbis foam," said Mark Lewis, Operations and Projects Director at The Vita Group,
“For over 50 years, Vita has recycled or re-bonded pre-consumer foam trim into material suitable for a range of products such as underlays for flooring. Our collaboration with Dow allows us to take our sustainability vision to the next level and we are extremely proud and excited to play our part in driving this ground-breaking innovation forward.”