Hotels could benefit from a best practice framework to help inform decisions about the manufacture, acquisition and disposal of mattresses, says Nick Oettinger, MD at The Furniture Recycling Group.
An estimated 5.9 million end of life (EoL) mattresses were disposed of in 2014, with a recycling rate of just 16 per cent, which begs the question: How can it be that there is no regulatory framework in existence to encourage the manufacture of environmentally friendly mattresses and the acquisition of these mattresses by hotels across the UK?
With over 700,000 hotel rooms in the UK and hotel owners being advised to replace mattresses every 2-7 years, the burden on recyclers is mounting. This indicates that the need for a mattress recycling association to provide a best practice framework for manufacturers, and hoteliers is greater than ever.
We would want part of this association’s remit to provide thorough insight into the industry and facilitate the availability of much-needed data. For example, data on the environmental impact of different types of mattresses is not currently available, yet access to this data would allow manufacturers to build this knowledge into product design and prevent difficulties in recycling further down the line. Hoteliers would also then be in a position to make informed choices when selecting mattresses for their rooms, hopefully opting for the most sustainable products and thereby facilitating the circular economy.
By setting out the use of reusable and recycled components from the UK market as best practice for the industry, a mattress recycling association would be the driver for meaningful change and regulation in both the UK mattress sector and the hotel industry.