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Industry Talk

Mattress recycling scheme in Germany

Original polyols recovered to produce high-quality flexible foam blocks.

2nd March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Berlin

Sustainable, Interiors

Chemicals leader BASF and Austrian-headquartered foam specialist Neveon are working together to further develop the recycling of mattresses.

The aim is to establish a closed product loop for mattresses which are currently mainly thermally recycled or disposed of in landfills. During 2022 the two companies produce the first pilot quantities of recycled mattress foams made from collected used mattresses with the objective of scaling up in the future.

BASF is developing a wet chemical recycling process for used mattresses made of flexible polyurethane and initial small-scale trials have been very promising.

The original polyols can be recovered from the used mattress foams and used again to produce high-quality flexible foam blocks. The quality of these flexible foam blocks made from recycled polyurethane is equivalent to those made from conventional materials from fossil raw material sources.

“For the recycling of mattresses, cooperation between all stages along the value chain is crucial,” said Sven Crone, who is responsible for the European business for isocyanates and precursors at BASF. “Together with Neveon, we want to build a partner network and close the loop step by step.”

“We as an industry need to drive the transformation to a circular system where products at the end of their life cycle are not waste, but valuable raw material and feedstock for new products,” added Neveon CEO Oliver Bruns.

One building block towards a closed cycle – which begins with the product and eco-design of mattresses – is the systematic collection and return of old mattresses. To simplify this, Neveon is launching Remattress, a mattress take-back pilot in Berlin, which will be extended in the coming months to further states in Germany. On the online reservation platform, citizens of Berlin can easily book the collection of their old mattresses which will be dismantled professionally and made available for reprocessing.

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