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Germany's Covestro & Eco-mobilier to recycle PU mattress foam

28 Dec '21
3 min read
Pic: Covestro
Pic: Covestro

German firm, Covestro and Eco-mobilier, have joined hands for the collection and recycling of used furniture, aspire to generate enhanced value aiming at mattresses and upholsteries. Both parties want to develop waste markets for foam used in such applications, to enable its use in chemical recycling processes with high efficiency at an industrial level.

Furthermore, the parties underline their commitment through an agreement, which sets out a common understanding of strategic goals, projects and activities, forming the basis for a long-term cooperation between them. Year after year, large quantities of used furniture are generated worldwide that have to be disposed of. Covestro and Eco-mobilier want to keep it out of landfill and minimise incineration, thus reduce its environmental impact and give it a new life. For this purpose, they want to combine their expertise and jointly develop a new solution and a business model for the chemical recycling of polyurethane foam from post-consumer mattresses and upholsteries, Covestro said in a press release.

Eco-mobilier has extensive experience in the collection, logistics and processing of used furniture, such as mattresses and upholsteries. This mainly concerns the dismantling of used furniture and presorting materials in order to obtain pure foam parts as raw materials for recycling. A key topic of the collaboration is to further develop the decentralised dismantling process of mattresses to avoid ecologically unfavourable transport of the foam parts to the chemical recycling plant. At a later stage, the partners also plan to evaluate possibilities and develop a corresponding process for recycling upholstered furniture with polyurethane foams.

As part of its new collaboration with Eco-mobilier, Covestro intends to make use of a novel process compared to other chemical recycling approaches, which it has developed for recycling the foam chemically. The technology has competitive advantages as it allows the recovery of both core raw materials originally used. To this end, the company also operates a pilot plant for flexible foam recycling at its site in Leverkusen, Germany, which is used for test purposes.

“For ten years, Eco-mobilier has been acting to set up and improve a specific scheme for End-of-Life PU foam collecting and recycling. The partnership between Eco-mobilier and Covestro will allow to increase and to diversify the existing solutions for the chemical recycling of PU foam and to extend the perspectives for a material which had been considered, yet recently, as non-recyclable. Especially, by experiencing padded furniture recycling with Covestro, Eco-mobilier is delighted to start a new stage of development of its strategy targeting of ´zero landfilling´ for furniture,” Dominique Mignon, president of the French organisation said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to complement Eco-mobilier´s unique expertise in furniture recycling with our chemical recycling technology in this powerful partnership. The strategic intent of our collaboration is to design and validate a joint pilot model to encourage and make real an accelerated adoption of recycling and reusing polyurethane foams from used furniture in Europe and beyond,” Christine Mendoza-Frohn, executive vice president and head of sales EMLA for performance materials at Covestro said.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (GK)

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