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Where do old mattresses go to die? 

Textek grabber.jpg

The answer in four out of five cases is currently to landfill. Paragon SME Lending customer Textek is on a mission to change that, with support from the bank. Find out more...

Amidst the march to become more efficient as a nation and increase the proportion of objects we recycle, one household item has been largely overlooked – the humble mattress.

Industry figures show that of the eight million mattresses disposed of annually, only 19% get recycled. That’s an awful lot of bulky waste simply ending up in the ground, as well as wasted materials that could be recycled.

According to The Furniture Recycling Group, Wembley Stadium could be filled five times with the number of mattresses that are discarded in the UK every year.

Shropshire-based Textek is aiming to change that. Its recycling plant, which is based in Prees, is designed to divert a staggering 1 million mattresses away from landfill each year, accounting for 12.5% of all mattresses that are disposed of annually.

mattress recycling

With the support of a £2 million funding package from Paragon SME Lending, the company has developed a bespoke mattress and bulky waste shredding line that enables the successful separation of the flock from the steel, ensuring 100% of mattresses, sofas or other types of bulky waste product can be recycled. The plant is now able to process a mattress in around 30 seconds.

Elements of the mattress that can be recycled include:

  • Metal: Used within the UK and is melted down and turned into many different items from kettles to planes.
  • Foam: This is broken down and reused as animal bedding and fillers. 
  • Mixed Textile: This is used as a replacement to traditional fossil fuels as a source to power your home.

Steven Birch, Director of Textek, said: “The Textek recycling plant provides a genuine answer to resolve the growing issue of large waste ending up in landfill. The development and design of the plant was incredibly complex, but it’s important to stop the flow of mattresses simply being thrown away as it can take around 100 years for a mattress to decompose. Also, the problems councils have with flytipping is growing.”

Textek works with local authorities across the Midlands to recycle bulky waste, as well as a number of private firms. The Midlands is one of only three regions in the UK that has seen an increase in the number of mattresses being recycled – along with London and Northern Ireland – and Steven wants more to be done.

He says: “The mattress recycling sector is still only small. The process is complex and the equipment is expensive to invest in, so not many operators exist, which limits the country’s mattress recycling capacity. But this is a genuine sustainability issue and we expect the Government will legislate at some point in the future to prohibit mattresses going to landfill, which will then increase the demand of mattress recycling services like those provided by Textek.”

The company is now keen to replicate the process it has developed in Shropshire and open other sites across the UK.

Terry Lloyd, Head of Construction for SME Lending at Paragon Bank, said: “It’s been great to support Steve with the creation of such an innovative product, which addresses a genuine sustainability issue for the long-term and offers a solution that has the potential to transform the way large items are disposed of in landfill.”

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