A NEW facility has opened in Bolton that will seemingly recycle up to a quarter of a million mattresses thrown away in Greater Manchester every year.
The initiative will further reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, preserve a wide range of materials that can be recycled into products as diverse as pet bedding, carpet underlay, and even stab-proof vests, and has also created 25 new local jobs.
The new mattress recycling facility launches as part of the waste management contract between Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK, and will recycle the hundreds of thousands of mattresses disposed of by residents at the city-region’s Household Waste Recycling Centres every year.
According to the announcement, skilled mattress dismantlers at the facility will manually extract up to 19 different materials used in the manufacture of mattresses, including steel, latex, foam, polyester, denim, cotton, and even horsehair and coconut fibres. These materials will then be sorted, sanitised and checked for quality, before being transported to a range of re-processing facilities to be used in the manufacture of new products. Each trained operative can process more than 65 mattresses per day, and depending on the condition of the mattresses, up to 85% of the material can be recycled.
The raw materials extracted from the mattresses will then go to re-processors and manufacturers, mostly within 40 miles of the facility, helping support the regional economy and reduce the carbon footprint involved in the process. The recycled materials will be used to create a range of new products, including new mattress felts and mattress fillings, carpet underlay, automotive felt and pet bedding. Some fibres are even mixed with Kevlar to make stab-proof vests.
New mattress recycling containers have been installed across Greater Manchester’s recycling centre network to take unwanted mattresses destined for the new plant in Bolton. Containers at Every Street in Bury and Ash Road in Tameside will be installed in the coming weeks.
Councillor Andrew Western, GMCA Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “This is a really significant step towards achieving our ambitions for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Greater Manchester. The majority of mattresses disposed of in our city-region previously went to landfill or to generate electricity at energy from waste plants, and so I am delighted that we now have the capability to recycle these materials and see them put to good use by businesses here in Greater Manchester.”
“With this facility we can help residents to do even more for our environment and further reduce the cost and impact associated with landfill.”
The facility has been developed and will be operated by specialist recycling contractor The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR) on behalf of SUEZ, and is situated within SUEZ’s waste management facility at Salford Road, Over Hulton, near Bolton.
TFR Group will employ around 30 staff at the Salford Road site, with 25 new permanent jobs being created through the new facility.
Anna Bell, Contract Director for SUEZ said: “The number of mattresses being thrown away is increasing across the UK and is now estimated at 8.5 million a year nationally. Through our partnership with TFR Group we will recycle over 1.5 million mattresses in Greater Manchester over the course of our contract with GMCA, making a significant contribution to our collective efforts to increase recycling rates. SUEZ has been working with TFR Group for over two years to develop the most effective solution to meet Greater Manchester’s mattress recycling needs, and we’re delighted to see the fruits of that collaboration in this new service and facility.”
Nick Oettinger, Managing Director at TFR Group said: “It’s great to be part of this collaboration between GMCA, SUEZ and TFR Group, offering long-term and large-scale mattress recycling to residents across Greater Manchester for the first time, not to mention the added benefit of creating 20 new sustainable jobs during a challenging economic time. Mattresses are a notoriously difficult waste stream to recycle, and so we’re really pleased to operate our new processing facility in Greater Manchester and return tonnes of pristine recycled materials back into the economy.”
Residents are being urged to keep mattresses as clean and dry as possible when they are ready to be thrown away. If a mattress becomes wet and dirty – if temporarily left outside for example – it can significantly reduce the amount of the material that can be extracted and recycled.