Recycling firms struggling to cope with mattress mountains

The amount of mattresses being sent to recycling plants across the country is creating a headache for the companies meant to deal with them it has been reported.

Mattress “mountains” are springing up at plants as recycling companies are finding it both too difficult and costly to dispose of the bed support.

According to figures by The Furniture Recycling Group (TFRG), only 16 per cent of them are stripped and reused, with the rest being burnt or buried in landfills.

Nick Oettinger, managing director at TFRG said:

I’m sad to say that there has been a rise in the number of recycling companies failing to disposes of mattresses responsibly; instead abandoning them in large piles on rented land.

“However, these situations are rarely intentional. Most recycling companies enter the industry with all good intentions, but with mattress recycling being so expensive, time-intensive and difficult, many find it impossible to maintain the necessary level of operation to cope with the scale of the task at hand.”

Mr Oettinger urged anyone who wanted to get rid of a mattress via a recycling company to look for testimonials and to make regular visits to the recycling site to make sure that they are satisfied with the dismantling process.

Only in June three organisations, including TFRG, won funding bids to develop sustainable solutions for the recycling of mattresses as part of an ongoing competition run by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the Welsh Government.

The University of South Wales and Commons Vision was also awarded funding to undertake feasibility work and to produce detailed bids for a pilot operation.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf council’s cabinet member for the environment and leisure said:

The council’s recycling record is ever-improving, which was confirmed by the Welsh Government’s recent confirmation that 64% of Rhondda Cynon Taf’s overall waste was recycled in the 2016 calendar year. That puts us above the Welsh average, as we continue to work towards the 70% target by 2024-25.

“The mattress recycling competition has the potential to ensure every component of a mattress is recycled. I am looking forward to finding out more about the innovative solutions put forward for recycling mattress textiles as this unique competition progresses.”

The council’s own mattress recycling scheme was launched in 2012.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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