Mattress recycling rate fell in 2015

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Mattress recycling rates in the UK fell from 16% in 2014 to just 13% in 2015, according to latest figures published by the National Bed Federation (NBF).

In an update to its second End of Life Mattress Report to include figures from local authorities for 2015, the report puts the decline down to a combination of rising new mattress sales and reduced mattress recycling capacity nationwide.

"In the full report we identified four recycling companies which had either closed or stopped accepting mattresses in 2014 and 2015," says Nia Bell of consultants Oakdene Hollins which produced the report on behalf of the NBF.

In detail, the report estimates that 879,000 mattresses were recycled compared with 924,000 in 2014 (this figure has been slightly amended from the previous report, from 939,000); while new mattress sales in 2015 are estimated to have risen to 6.8 million units. The 5% overall decrease is driven by an 11% decrease in mattress recycling reported by local authorities.

According to the the report, contributing factors may include financial pressures on local councils, who are often obliged to take the lowest cost option for mattress disposal, be it to landfill or energy from waste treatment; coupled with difficulties assuring that recyclers comply with all the necessary regulations.

Conversely, recycling in the commercial sector by retailers, manufacturers and prisons grew 39% in 2015, from 118,000-164,000 units, with retailers responsible for 70% of this growth, as increasingly they offer EoL (end of life) mattress take back with the sale of new mattresses. However, local authorities are still reported to be the largest source of mattresses being recycled - 81%.

Reporting further on mattress recycling by local authorities, large regional variations can be seen, with Wales reporting the highest recycling rate per head of population; and East Anglia the lowest. Scotland, the North West, Yorkshire & Humberside, the South East (excluding London) Wales, West Midlands and the South West have all seen rates drop; while Northern Ireland, London, the North East, Eastern and the East Midlands have seen rates improve.

The report can be accessed online at www.bedfed.org.uk/trade/nbf-recycle/


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