20 July 2024, 14:48
By Furniture News Feb 20, 2022

Bed retailer calls for industry to raise the recycling bar

Retailer Mattress Online saved more than 40,000 mattresses going to landfill in the last year, but, after being recognised nationally for its commitment to sustainability at the Good Retail Awards on 6th February, says the furnishings industry must go further.

“Mattresses have a serious impact on the planet when they’re sent to landfill,” says CEO Steve Adams. “They can release toxic chemicals into their surroundings and contribute to the destruction of natural habitats. Since we introduced a collection and recycling service at Mattress Online, we’ve saved more than 100,000 mattresses going to landfill. This is a +344% increase over five years, and clearly shows that customers want to recycle and make ethical decisions when shopping.

“One of our key corporate goals is to continually improve and promote our not-for-profit recycling service to make recycling mattresses as accessible to customers as possible. But the rest of the industry has to be equally committed.”

Eight million mattresses are thrown away in the UK each year, and it is estimated that only 19% of them are recycled. Mattress Online wants to increase the number of customers who recycle through its innovative scheme from a third to 40%, but says the rest of the industry must also make it easier for customers to recycle.

Catherine Erdly, founder of the Resilient Retail Club and judge at the Good Retail Awards, comments: "From a sheer volume perspective, given the size of a mattress, the amount of space that must have been saved from landfill must be enormous. It is a great example of looking at lots of elements of a process to make the largest difference.”

In tandem with its recycling initiative, Mattress Online promotes sustainable products and gives customers informative content on how to reduce carbon footprint and make ethical choices. The etailer offers a range of environmentally friendly products and is currently investigating the use of reusable hessian packaging (bags) to move away from plastic as much as possible. In the meantime, Mattress Online has been minimising the use of plastic by using 100% recyclable polythene mattress bags made entirely from recycled content.

Steve adds: “Sustainability is on the agenda in everything we do, from providing our staff with new, ethically sourced uniforms, to having 20% of our mattress range being chemical-free. We’ve also recently launched a vegan-friendly section on our website.”

To further drive environmental change in the industry, Steve has also joined the National Bed Federation's newly created sustainability panel.

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