25 October 2017

IKEA launches a mattress recycling programme

IKEA has launched a national mattress recycling programme in the US, as part of its People and Planet Positive Sustainability strategy, aiming to reduce landfill waste and give more value to natural resources used as raw materials.

In the IKEA Group Sustainability Strategy for 2020 it states that despite the fact that recycling rates have increased around the world, the majority of valuable processed materials are still thrown away rather than reused, leaving room for significant improvements and opportunities.

According to the latest stats from the Mattress Recycling Council, it is estimated that 15 to 20 million mattresses and box strings are disposed to landfill energy year in the US.

The daily rates are more daunting, as it is claimed that approximately 50,000 mattresses end up in landfills or are illegally dumped, taking up valuable landfill space especially due to their difficulty to be compressed.

The Swedish furniture giant will be taking back old mattresses of any brand when it delivers new ones and will also accept mattresses returned to the store.

IKEA will be charging $25 per mattress in all states except in California, where mattress recycling is free to consumers by law.

California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have already imposed recycling laws making it cheaper for companies to recycle mattresses, but work needs to be done in the other states.

Lisa Davis, IKEA’s U.S. Sustainability Manager said: “In keeping with our People and Planet Positive Sustainability strategy, IKEA has decided to take a lead in turning waste into resources”.

“The goal is zero waste to landfill, with as much recycling as possible”.

“We are committed to securing recycled materials while ensuring key parts of our range are easily recycled, - all contributing to a closed-loop society”.

Mattresses are primarily composed of steel, foam, cotton, wood and a topper; materials that can achieve up to 95 percent recycling rate.

Steel springs can be recycled into tools, auto parts, and construction materials; the wood can be repurposed into flooring, biofuels and other wood products; and the fibers can be used to make oil filters, mat, insulation and pillow and furniture stuffing.

As IKEA states in its Sustainability Report, rising energy and raw material costs will not only put pressure on businesses but on families too.

It warns that by 2030, almost half of the world’s population will be living in water-scarce areas making it urgent for businesses to reduce natural resource waste.

It adds: “When it comes to the IKEA business unless we act boldly, price increases for energy, wood, textiles, metals, and plastics will affect our costs and force price increases for our customers”. 

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