EPR scheme essential to hit mattress recycling targets, says NBF

The Nationwide Mattress Federation’s (NBF’s) fourth report on the speed of mattress recycling within the UK has revealed a +5% enhance within the variety of mattresses being despatched for recycling between 2017-21, to 24% of the estimated 6.4 million mattresses reaching Finish of Life (EoL).

Nevertheless, the ‘actual’ fee of recycling – the destiny of the mattresses or their parts and supplies after sorting and processing – is relatively decrease (an estimated 14%).

And since the most typical technique of managing the 76% of EoL mattresses not going for recycling remains to be landfill, the NBF’s goal of 75% diversion from landfill by 2028 appears set to be missed – with out important intervention within the type of an Prolonged Producer Duty scheme.

Says Simon Spinks, chairman of the Harrison Spinks Group and the NBF’s Round Economic system Committee: “The optimistic take from this new report is that, within the eight years since we’ve been wanting on the knowledge, the proportion of EoL mattresses despatched for recycling has greater than doubled – from simply 10% to round 24%.

“Much less excellent news is that the actual fee of recycling is considerably decrease, and we’re nonetheless a great distance wanting our goal of 75% diversion from landfill within the subsequent six years. It’s clear to us that intervention within the type of an Prolonged Producer Duty Scheme is required.”

The 2022 Finish of Life (EoL) Mattress Report, produced on behalf of the NBF by environmental marketing consultant Oakdene Hollins, units out not solely to report the numbers, but additionally to establish the alternatives and challenges concerned in accelerating the tempo of change to attain the NBF’s 75% diversion from landfill purpose within the subsequent six years.

Primarily based on detailed evaluation of printed knowledge plus surveys and interviews carried out with native authorities, producers, retailers and recyclers, the report identifies key areas for enchancment embrace assortment, reprocessing, creating finish markets for recovered supplies and designing with EoL in thoughts.

The report additionally goals to point out how an Prolonged Producer Duty (EPR) scheme for mattresses would facilitate a extra complete and harmonised strategy to the administration of mattress EoL, offering the income and incentives to develop the gathering and reprocessing infrastructure, obtain a extra environmentally sound therapy of collected merchandise and elevated materials restoration charges for all supplies, and drive product design enhancements.

The NBF has already labored carefully with Zero Waste Scotland on an overview enterprise case for EPR for mattresses, which has really useful a UK-wide, industry-led, necessary scheme as being essentially the most viable possibility. This might assist the ambitions of mattress producers and retailers, the continued operations of recyclers, and bolster assortment and recycling capability. The choice case would possible see the UK mattress {industry} attain a hard bottleneck.

Within the report, assortment of EoL mattresses was deemed probably the most essential areas to be addressed by stakeholders. Though takeback schemes operated by retailers have seen development, and are anticipated to proceed to develop, the majority of EoL mattresses are dealt with by native authorities, both at their HWRC websites or by their very own cumbersome waste collections. The efficiency of those across the nation stays haphazard, states the report, with the shortage of incentives to recycle mattresses ceaselessly cited.

Whereas some mattresses recyclers are reaching excessive charges of ‘actual’ recycling and demonstrating finest follow and the potential capabilities of the sector, others are focusing solely on recovering the metal, with entry to finish markets depending on economies of metal and nonetheless probably extremely unstable.

A 3rd space the report addresses is how producers can enhance EoL fates by designing their new merchandise with elevated circularity in thoughts – for instance, by utilizing extra recycled supplies and designing for ease of meeting.

To encourage this course of, the NBF is within the strategy of rolling out to its members its ecodesign evaluation toolkit. This goals to encourage a extra round strategy to product growth and, finally, a standardised strategy to verifying ecodesign claims based mostly on internationally recognised definitions.

The ecodesign toolkit goes hand in hand with the NBF’s efforts to assist enhance the charges of recycling of mattresses by the introduction of its NBF Pledge for the Planet. It is a voluntary pledge for members that want to enhance the sustainability of their merchandise, from design to EoL. The willingness of members to maneuver in direction of extra sustainable methods of working will assist recycling charges of mattresses to extend sooner or later.

The total report might be downloaded right here.