Our work: Rebound mattress recycling
Aim: Work with industry, councils and landfill operators to provide a simple and accessible solution to divert mattresses from landfill, reduce illegal dumping and recover recyclable materials
It is estimated nearly 300,000 mattresses and bases are sent to landfill every year in New Zealand. When stacked one on top of another, they would reach the edge of space! We’re working with industry to change that.
International recycling programmes and our own recycling trials show that we could potentially recycle approximately 90% of mattress materials. An average mattress is made of steel springs and wood (both 100% recyclable), polyurethane foam which can be recycled into foam carpet underlay, coir – a natural product from coconut fibre with various reuse options – and textiles (currently non-recyclable).
A mattress recycling programme could divert up to 7 million kilograms of material from landfill.
Explore the opportunity of creating an industry-led, best practice design voluntary product stewardship scheme.
What did we do?
- We Brought together diverse industry and other stakeholders to discuss the issues and possible solutions
- We Designed a product stewardship model to collect unwanted mattresses and recover recyclable material from them
- We secured funding to run a trial
- We completed a trial as proof of concept
How did we do it?
- We Researched overseas experiences and added New Zealand specific insights to inform an action plan
- We Collaborated with manufacturers, importers and retailers on how a system could work
- We Consulted with stakeholders such as the waste industry and local councils to gain insight of the problem from their perspective
Where to next
In many places globally mattress producers have been targeted with regulation to reduce the end-of-life burden on local authorities and landfills. The New Zealand government has recently consulted on a new waste strategy that will mean producers must take more responsibility for the end-of-life of their products, including strengthening provisions for product stewardship.
The New Zealand industry has the opportunity to proactively create a world-class voluntary product stewardship scheme. If you’re an importer, manufacturer, retailer or large scale user of mattresses, we invite you to get involved.