Blackburn Recycling Boss Invents a Machine to Boost Mattress Recycling Rates
The boss of a furniture recycling firm in Blackburn has invented a machine which he says will divert hundreds of thousands of mattresses from landfill.
Nick Oettinger, the founder of the Furniture Recycling Group, has invented a machine which makes it far easier to strip back mattresses. He estimates that the machine can dismantle a pocket spring mattress in just two-and-a-half minutes, that’s 70% faster than usual. The mattresses are then divided into around 19 separate components which are then reused wherever possible.
Nick is a bit of an eco-warrior to say the least. His invention made him a finalist in last year’s Businessgreen Technology Awards in the research and development category.
Mattress dumping is a global issue
But the issue of mattresses being dumped is far from being a problem that’s just confined to the UK. While around 7.5 million mattresses are dumped in landfill sites in the UK every year, the problem is a global one.
Speaking of the dire situation in other countries, Nick said that around 21 million mattresses end up in landfill in the US every year. Given that the US is on course to run out of landfill space within 18 years, this is potentially a disaster. He added that in Australia, one million mattresses are dumped in landfill each year, which equates to one for every 24 people.
If the issue is not tackled, will we see our green spaces, beaches, and beauty spots being piled high with mattresses and other waste if there’s not landfill space left?
Everyone has to do their bit
The Furniture Recycling Group currently works with big clients like John Lewis and St Andrew’s University in Scotland, and they are looking to get more local authorities and hotel chains on board.
The founder said he hopes that more businesses, local authorities, and governments start working together to tackle the issues around recycling. He added that people need to do their bit too, and recycle their old mattresses.
He urged people to use the mattress collection and recycling services offered by some retailers and independent firms, instead of fly-tipping or taking them to the dump.
One such firm that is making strides with its recycling practices is Silentnight. The company won a sustainability award in 2017 after its factories in East Lancashire and Aspatria achieved 90% recycling. The factories recycle all of their leftover wood, foam quilt, foam-free quilt, paper and card, polythene film, and metal waste.