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  • 2019GoddardMSc

    Final published version, 3.37 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 8/11/24

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Post-consumer waste streams and the reworking/recycling of mattresses

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Publication date8/11/2019
Number of pages174
QualificationMasters by Research
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • Centre for Global Eco-Innovation
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Over 5 million mattresses go straight to landfill or incineration every year at a significant environmental cost. Mattresses have negative net value, meaning the cost of recycling is greater than the recoverable value. This study identified ways of improving mattress recycling, investigated application of mattress wastes, conducted financial appraisal of mattress deconstruction and recommended actions for recycling body the Reuse Network. Insight was obtained through interviews including four manufacturers and seven mattress recyclers to assess mattress recycling issues, potential improvements and gather statistical and financial data on mattress recycling. In parallel, desk-based literature research was conducted to supplement and support primary findings and give insight into mattress recycling internationally. Experimental research was conducted to
determine the properties of building materials incorporated with mattress origin wastes. The research found the value recovered from an average mattress was (£0.5) - £2.8. A manual disassembly plant processing 50,000 mattresses annually, would require a set-up cost of £100,000 based on insight from recyclers and literature, which could save 1400-2200 tCO2-eq. Experimental research found that incorporating mattress origin waste into building materials has the potential to offer a practical re-utilisation of the waste. At present, the mattress industry has invested very limited resources into improving the recyclability of mattresses in terms of design and processing to help reutilise waste streams within mattresses. Actions of regional landfill bans, an immediate
flat rate sales tax on mattress could help fund collection and infrastructure to recycle mattresses effectively. Further, the Reuse Network should invest resources directly to develop mattress recycling and realise a vision of a nationwide recycling model.

Bibliographic note

Thesis contains business sensitive and confidential information from business partner hence the embargo and confidential access restriction.