Most mattresses today are discarded after an average use of ten years, leaving Belgium with an annual pile of 900.000 mattresses. It is estimated that 60% end up in landfill and 40% are incinerated. However, it is reported that almost 85% of their mass can be recycled through proper disassembly. Despite the high potential, recycling rate is very low.They are difficult items to transport and therefore most end-of-life mattresses are neither reused nor recycled. Instead, they are collected with furniture and other miscellaneous bulky items and processed for incineration with energy recovery or landfilled. If sent to landfill, mattresses can cover voids in waste piles allowing explosive methane gas to accumulate.
Since january 1st the Extened Producer Responsibility was implemented in Belgium, meaning that producers and sellers have a take-back obligation for discarded matresses.
How can we improve the circularity of mattresses reducing their environmental impact, maximising the potential for resource efficiency through re-use of materials and components and do you see possibilities for a new and innovative product design that generates social and economic capital?