One of the problems with bulky items like beds and mattresses is that they are difficult to recycle. They also usually contain lots of toxic materials – probably far more than we realise.
So items like mattresses for example are often abandoned (as in the picture), at the side of the road, usually ending up in landfill. Where they become a risk to human health and the environment.
The problem is that they are not designed to allow materials to be recovered easily and economically. But they could be.
Enter Auping, a large Dutch mattresses manufacturer, which has developed a modular and fully recyclable mattress, This is how it is explained on the Ellen MacArthur circular economy website:
The mattress is made from six components all of which can be replaced when comfort, hygiene or other factors demand. The components include: a comfort layer, springs, the backing material, zippers. All are designed to be easily separated and replaced through reversible connections like yarn, Velcro and DSM-Niaga’s reversible adhesive.
Auping offers the mattresses to hospitality and consumers via a product sale and lease option. The lease options include a maintenance contract for hospitality. This way, hotels are offered the option to only pay for the mattress when the bed is used, and all components will be washed and/or replaced when needed for quality or hygiene reasons. Consumers pay a fixed fee per month, and Auping will take the mattress back for recycling at the end of life.
The service website explains how the subscription process works, but does not, irritatingly, say if the service is limited geographically. As the website is written in (presumably) Dutch (you can translate it), probably not – although you could ask them.
However if one company can do this – so can another. If the service can supply hotels it could also supply landlords. Is it something you would consider? If it were available?
If we are to move from our current wasteful system to a circular economy, this is the way to go.