Towards a circularity in recycling of mattresses
After an average of ten years most mattresses today are thrown away, thus squandering resources and creating high quantities of waste. At the same time, valuable raw materials are needed to manufacture new soft foam mattresses - above all crude oil. A circular economy solution for mattresses can therefore both reduce waste and save fossil resources.
At BASF, we are continuously looking at ways to reuse and re-enter waste into product lifecycles and to foster circular economy solutions. With the circular economy concept, BASF aims to decouple economic growth from the use of finite resources and is accelerating the adoption of these principles into our day-to-day operations. BASF is developing a process to chemically recycle polyurethane soft foam from old mattresses to virgin-quality raw materials our partners to create new foams and mattresses thereof.
Polyols and isocyanates are needed to produce polyurethane foam mattresses. BASF has now succeeded in producing high-quality polyols from used mattresses, instead of fossil raw materials. NEVEON further processes these recycled polyols into high-quality mattress foam, whose polyol component has an unprecedentedly high recycled content of 80 percent. These are now being used for the first time at BASF’s Business-Hotel René Bohn. “We are proud of the progress we are making in our partnership with NEVEON,” said Christopher Metz, Vice President for BASF’s European Isocyanates & Intermediates business. “However, the broad commercial availability of recycled polyols still lies ahead. We need to get all stakeholders along the value chain on board to be able to close the mattress loop in a targeted way.”
Benefits of mattress recycling:
- Used mattresses do not end up in landfills or incineration
- The used foams from mattresses are instead recycled
- On their basis new mattresses can be manufactured
- Their quality is as high as that of a new mattress
The circular economy (CE) concept aims to decouple economic growth from the use of finite resources. New recycling technologies will be required that can recover those materials which are not being recycled today. We look at solutions for customers along the value chain to re-enter waste back into product lifecycles. BASF is investing in cutting-edge technologies and already applying the circular economy concept in a number of ways to speed up the transition.
We are taking a fresh look at chemical recycling where fossil feedstock for chemical production can be replaced with recycled material broken down from plastic waste e.g. in a pyrolysis process or by wet-chemical recycling.