Talking Point: bringing the right partner to your sustainable bed


Can you have a green bed?

Can you have a green bed?

You can’t have a hotel without beds, and beds need to be kept in good condition which means a fairly regular cycle on updating mattresses. But these vital components are hard to dispose of responsibly for a hotelier that wants to be sustainable. Today’s Talking Point takes tips from The Furniture Recycling Group, a soft furnishing recycling company specialising in bed and mattress recycling.

When the time comes to renew soft furnishings, disposing of existing mattresses, beds and bedding can pose a huge headache for hoteliers. Not only must they consider how to remove them from the property, without disturbing guests, and find transport and somewhere to store them, they must also identify a reputable recycling operator, which can be a challenge too.

A quick search online will return plenty of options for mattress disposal companies but for hoteliers looking to operate responsibly, and possibly reach corporate social responsibility (CSR) targets, more research is required. Companies offering mattress collection and recycling are not always what they seem. Sadly, there have been many cases of cowboy operators who charge businesses, local authorities and individuals for the removal and supposed recycling of their mattresses only to stockpile the mattresses in a rented warehouse, leaving the building owner with a mattress mountain and all of the recycling responsibility.

To avoid this, hoteliers should ask soft furnishing recyclers whether they can provide a full audit trail and chain of custody to demonstrate environmental compliance when selecting an operator. Reputable mattress recyclers will be able to provide details of their recycling methods and processes, including how they break down the products, where the extracted materials are sent to and what they are used for.

With all of this information, hoteliers can then make an informed decision on how best to dispose of soft furnishings. For those looking to improve CSR credentials, a recycler that contributes to the circular economy, where materials are manufactured, used by the consumer, recycled and reused as a new product, will help to reduce the environmental impact of operations.

For example, mattresses can be dismantled into 19 components, with the materials then segregated ready for sanitisation and processing. The pocket springs are put through our patented pocket spring recycling machine, a process that takes just 2.5 minutes. This means these difficult mattress components that would historically end up at landfill, are automatically separated into steel and polypropylene waste streams, leaving the recyclable components. The steel springs are baled up to pass on to scrap metal merchants. Textiles are sanitised, blended and baled ready for transferring onto industry as raw products for further processing. Foams are sanitised and repurposed into new products, such as yoga mats and sun loungers. 

Hoteliers who want to maintain good sustainable practices need to be looking at the mattresses they’re purchasing to see if there’s any components within them that can’t be recycled, and if so, choose a different one that can be recycled. There are many eco-friendly mattresses out there. There are also many suppliers of mattresses who take into account the end of life of the product. Another way is for hotels to work with a provider who has a take-back service and can prove they recycle products at the end of their life. Alternatively, hotels could work with the local community to find worthy recipients of mattresses which still have a lot of life in them; for example homeless shelters, hostels, or projects which supply reduced cost furniture for housing schemes.

But the real challenge is ensuring that the new product that replaces the old, is manufactured using recycled materials sourced from the UK, thereby reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact.

The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) partners with hotels to provide a recycling service for used mattresses, reducing their impact on the planet, avoiding landfill and helping fulfil waste recycling targets.

Having already recycled over one million mattresses since launch, TFR Group has identified both a social and business case for partners in the hotel sector to take notice of their responsibilities regarding mattress disposal. It offers hotels the chance to put in place a policy, ensuring they can respond to any new legislation that comes into force, or perhaps to be seen and credited as trailblazers in the industry – paving the way for responsible business practice and advocates of the circular economy.

The company recycles beds, mattresses, soft furnishings and furniture from retail consumer take-back, commercial disposal and local authority waste streams. They can be collected or received and are then deconstructed manually using specialist cutting tools to allow the materials to be segregated accurately for onward processing.

The aim is that end of life mattresses be turned back into the very products they were – increasing environmental sustainability and tackling the landfill problem.

For more information on recycling mattresses responsibly and efficiently, visit

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