BASF and foam specialist NEVEON are working together to further develop the recycling of mattresses. The aim is to establish a closed product loop for mattresses. Currently, discarded mattresses are mainly thermally recycled or disposed of in landfills. BASF and NEVEON want to change this and return mattress foams to the product life cycle. As early as this year, the two companies plan to obtain the first pilot quantities of recycled mattress foams made from collected used mattresses. The next step will then be to transfer the recycling to a larger scale in subsequent years.
BASF is developing a wet chemical recycling process for used mattresses made of flexible polyurethane. 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 are equivalent to those made from conventional materials from fossil raw material sources. Thus, high-quality new mattresses can be produced from alternative polyurethane.
"For the recycling of mattresses, cooperation between all stages along the value chain is crucial. Together with NEVEON, we want to build a partner network and close the loop step by step," explains Dr. Sven Crone, responsible for the European business for isocyanates & precursors at BASF. NEVEON CEO Oliver Bruns adds: "The future bears the name circular economy. 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. I am therefore pleased to make an important contribution here together with BASF and other partners."
One building block towards a closed cycle - which already starts 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 in mid-February. This is to be extended in the coming months successively to further states of the Federal Republic. On the online reservation platform citizens of Berlin can book immediately fast and comfortably by mouse-click the collection of their old mattresses. This is fetched after date agreement, dismantled professionally, and made available for reprocessing. This makes an important contribution to the circular economy, as the recycled materials can be used to manufacture new foam products.