Mattress Recycling: Repolyol from Polyurethane Foam

German-based H&S Anlagentechnik GmbH has realized an industrial-scale reactor plant for RetourMatras, a Dutch recycling company specialized in dismantling of mattresses and their transformation into circular resources.

The plant uses an advanced depolymerization recycling technology to produce high-quality recycled polyol (Repolyol) from polyurethane foam (PU) from end-of-life mattresses, the plant manufacturer explained. Polyol is one of the key building blocks of polyurethane foam, the main cushioning material in mattresses. “Its recovery without compromising on its quality enables its reuse as a circular raw material for the production of new PU foam and thus for new mattresses and other upholstered furniture – a significant step to circularity.” Commissioning of the facility took place in May 2023 in Lelystad (NL) allowing it to convert PU foam from 200,000 mattresses into repolyols annually using the recycling technology of H&S. Recently, RetourMatras also collaborated with IKEA Retail to find a circular solution for the end-of-life of their mattresses in line with the company’s approach to products made from recycled or renewable materials.

As underlined by the provider of the Dutch recycling plant, H&S is continuously working on advancing its technologies and equipment for end-of-life PU recycling. The reactor plant in the Netherlands is not the company’s first industrial-scale PU recycling project. As part of the RENUVA mattress recycling program of Dow, the H&S team, for example, supported Orrion Chemicals Orgaform from France with their system concept. “Besides, one of the biggest Polish PU slabstock foam manufacturers Ikano Industry (previously Dendro Poland) has been using H&S technology since 2013, also recovering valuable polyols from production waste,” the German company informed.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 1/2024, Page 41, Photo: H & S Anlagentechnik)