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Old mattresses create recycling problems

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 09:38:34

More than a quarter of a million mattresses which were sent to be recycled by households across the country are thought to be gathering dust in warehouses as they await a far from sustainable alternative form of disposal, according to a report in The Sun.

The firms tasked with recycling the old mattresses admit that they are being snowed under by the sheer number which are being sent to them, meaning that the vast majority either end up in landfill sites or get burnt rather than being processed in an eco-friendly manner.

The main issue at hand here is similar to the one which dogs many parts of the recycling industry; mattresses are difficult to dispose of sustainably because they are made up of many different types of material, which makes the whole process costly and time-consuming.

Mobile phone manufacturers have been criticised in recent years for making their handsets hard to repair and recycle after use, with some companies including Apple responding by upping their efforts to improve designs and address concerns. Now it may be necessary for mattress producers to take similar steps, or else the mountain of used units will continue to accumulate in the UK.

At the moment as few as 16 per cent of the mattresses which are sent for recycling are stripped bare of their foam and material components, leaving just the underlying sprung frame, which can then be refurbished and sold again. This is clearly not good enough and speaks to wider issues within the recycling industry.

People who sell old mobile phones can expect that they will either be resold if possible, or else dismantled and processed, so that valuable minerals and working parts do not go to waste. This sets a good example for the rest of the marketplace to follow.




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