Giving new life to old mattresses
Every year, 1.5 million mattresses are thrown away in the Netherlands. At Holland2Stay, we replace approximately 1,000 mattresses each year. But what do we do with the old mattresses?
Most mattresses contain steel, cotton, and polyurethane foam. These materials provide different strengths and comfort but are often interconnected in such a way that they can no longer be separated. Given this wide range of materials, mattresses have typically been difficult to recycle and cheaper to burn. However, about 90% of the components of the mattresses can be recycled into raw materials for other products.
To take a step towards a circular economy, Holland2Stay is working together with Retour Matras to recycle old mattresses. Retour Matras is a Dutch company that was founded in 2009 and processes over 40% of all discarded mattresses in The Netherlands. Retour Matras aims to reuse 100% of discarded mattresses.
First, the fabric exterior of the mattresses is removed. This textile is compressed into large bales and sent to a textile factory in Marocco. In this factory, the textile is processed into thread, which is used to weave new textile products, such as clothing, blankets, and mattress covers.
After removing the exterior, the metal is removed from the mattresses with a large magnet. This metal is recycled into metal springs, that can be used to produce new iron products. What remains after removing the metal is the foam of the mattress, which consists of latex, polyether, or a mix of these materials. The foam is shredded and pressed into bales. The shredded latex is used as an end product. For example, in the furniture industry, latex is used as a filling material. The polyether can be recycled in a new type of foam, which is used in carpet underlay, foam for acoustics, or insulation boards.
By working together with Retour Matras, most elements of our old mattresses are reused into new products.