Mattress circular journey A green industry for a green earth. #phenko nahi recycle karo
L et’s start on some hard facts: Earth, the miraculous life-giving planet, is getting close to becoming a giant rock of garbage, one day at a time. It is no secret that our modern lifestyles provide utmost comfort and prosperity but at the cost of hampering the very delicate environmental balance. Yet it is not necessarily the ‘use’ itself, but the way we produce, consume and discard things that provides scope for improvement.
Cut to the chase, mattresses sure are a ‘sizable’ part of the garbage problem. Hard to compress, they take up to 7 to 15 square feet of space in a landfill. The decomposition process is no help either, taking upto 80-120 years depending on the material. Overcrowding of existing landfills means further encroaching of land to create new ones, land that could’ve been used for more sustainable and productive activities.
Unlike other modern lifestyle possessions of our’s, a mattress is indispensable. It adds significant value to our life, be it in the form of a feeling of rejuvenation, immune buildup or avoiding medical bills. A mattress is not something humanity can compromise on. Hence arises the modern dilemma, personal health or the health of mother nature? The most viable solution obviously is recycling and facilitating a circular journey of the mattress in the long run.
ISPF has been the intermediary for the Indian mattress market for almost a decade now. To provide customers with the finest of sleep solutions is one of their prime goals. They also aim to enrich the bedding industry by providing crucial information, training and resources to all the stakeholders of the industry.
Though what is relevant here is the market and environment – sensitive approach at the centre of their operations. The same reason why they have been swift in finding a sustainable solution for the disposing problem of end-of-cycle mattresses. Their Mattress Circular Journey initiative in partnership with IPUA (Indian Polyurethane Association) focusses on mattress recycling to cater to the larger goal of facilitating a circular industry and subsequently furthering the cause of a circular economy for the sake of the planet. They recently launched the #phenkonahirecyclekaro campaign in Ernakulam, Kerala. Let’s have a closer look!
Ernakulam Launch The people:
On 12th April, 2022 ISPF in association with IPUA launched their mattress recycling initiative called #phenkonahirecyclekaro in a third city of Ernakulam in “God’s own country” Kerala. About 60 dealers from all over the city were invited to attend the event which took place at the Pollution Control Board Office. The campaign has previously seen a successful launch in 2 other locations, Bhopal in July and Hyderabad in September of 2021. For the launch event, some of the best veterans from the industry were called upon to share valuable information. Mr. D. Kuppuramu, Chairman, Coir Board, Mr. M. Krishna, Marketing Director, Coir Board, Mr. Baiju, Chief Environmental Engineer as well as Mr. Thomas Varghese, General Manager of MM Rubber Company, and a part of the management committee of ISPF addressed the spirited gathering on the occasion.
Sustainability is no more just an ecologist’s term or a method along the way or a meagre USP. It has become the very lens through which we zoom in on the smallest of our lifestyle choices today. ISPF has been the intermediary for the Indian mattress market for almost a decade now
The discussion ran deep to understand the indispensable importance of recycling in the context of the bedding industry. Mattresses are integral to everyday wellbeing and overall quality of life in the long run. Furthermore, their timely replacement is a necessary step to dodge unwanted medical bills. Hence devising an adequate and sustainable mechanism to deal with end-of-cycle mattresses is a critical measure, not just for the environment but for the persistence of the industry itself. This is where the role of recycling comes in.
Retailers were informed about the procedure of the recycling initiative in the city, from collection of old mattresses to its dismantling. Useful insights were also provided about the service aspect of the campaign, how the retailers can speak with the customers during the home visit and skilfully resolve their queries. The onus was also laid upon making the customers more aware so that they are equipped to make the right choice.
This is not the first time ISPF has worked ardently to spread awareness amongst the retailer. As Mr. Sundaresan Srinivasan, Secretary of ISPF says with much conviction: “The role of retailers is integral to the bedding industry. About 80 percent of sales are made through dealers. It is through them that the brand communicates with their customers”. Hence it is only necessary that they be informed with the latest industry knowledge and trends. Not just that, in case of the recycle campaign, it is of utmost significance that retailers’ curiosity is quenched with maximum satisfaction.
Questions like “why mattress recycling? How to talk to customers about it? How does it benefit them and the mattress industry?” are only natural to arise. At the end of the day, one can sell better when they actually believe in the product/service and the cause behind it. Besides, awareness in retailers translates to awareness in customers. And informed customers are the ones that are willing to make better choices for the sake of their personal health and wellbeing as well as the larger good, a healthy indicator for the industry.
The 3 Ws of Mattress Recycling:
Why recycle mattresses?
Sustainability is no more just an ecologist’s term or a method along the way or a meagre USP. It has become the very lens through which we zoom in on the smallest of our lifestyle choices today. It is the lens through which we are analysing and questioning all domains of life itself. So, in other industries, more than often the discussion of sustainable options starts at the concept of “Refuse” or “Reuse”, recycling comes second.
However, mattress is a different piece of the puzzle altogether. Its indispensable role in healthcare makes it a necessary utilitarian product. Being a long-term investment with a considerable expense, mattresses are mostly thrown out only after extensive use. A disposed mattress, owing to the intimate nature of its use and possible health hazard, is unfit for reuse. Hence both, its quantity and quality, are uncompromisable. This is why recycling poses as the most viable, cost effective and sustainable option. It not only enables existing landfills to last longer but saves various useful materials from being wasted. These materials, when reintroduced to the production chain, help minimise the burden on existing resources and pave the way for a circular economy.
What is the process?
It is rightly said that “To pull apart is as delicate of a task as to put together.” The efficiency with which the materials are extracted is crucial to the recycling process. The outer fabric is removed, washed and shredded to be reprocessed. The foam is recycled and used heavily in carpet padding.
Fibre repurposing is another pivotal aspect, used for stuffing pillows and reupholstering furniture. Box springs are processed in an industrial furnace to be melted and further moulded into alternative products. The scavenged materials are used in other industries, bringing down cost as well as burden on existing resources and thus paving the way for a circular economy.
Who is responsible?
All stakeholders involved in the industry have a role to play. As a manufacturer, end-of-life recycling should be considered at all the stages of product development, especially designing. This will ensure that mattresses can be recycled in a cost-effective manner, skipping the landfills altogether.
Retailers are the trusted mediators of the industry. They can sensitise customers, facilitate pick-ups and choose to do business with responsible entities. Customer’s demand and interest drives the market. By showing support for recycling efforts and participating in the same they can help make the process mainstream and bring down the costs.
With the Ernakulam launch, ISPF aims to take things a notch up. They have an agency of 7000+ people to undertake the mission. The campaign is also being pushed as a buyback drive.
The Mattress Circular Journey Initiative
Looking at the adverse situation of the landfill and mattress dynamic, ISPF in association with IPUA decided to take up a proactive approach to the problem. Thus. was born the Mattress Circular Journey initiative, aimed at establishing sustainable mechanisms to deal with end-of-cycle mattresses. Through this, ISPF intends to promote the Indian Mattress Industry as a green industry.
Under the initiative, ISPF & IPUA has launched #phenkonahirecyclekaro campaign across 3 cities now, the latest in Ernakulam. They partner with local recycling agencies and retail stores to collect mattresses from homes and send them off to recycling units. This way the mattress skips the landfill altogether and becomes part of a circular economy. Here’s how the campaign has panned out in various cities:
This was the pilot project launched in July 2021, in partnership with The Kabadiwala. The old mattress is collected from the consumer’s doorstep as part of an onrequest service. The customers are provided with a discount redemption coupon as a token of appreciation. They can redeem the coupon against any product from Mattress Circular Journey retail partners.
The campaign was launched in September 2021 in partnership with Recykal, an innovative company using technology-based solutions for the purpose of waste management. Anyone can request a mattress pick up through the Recykal app and in exchange, will receive a discount coupon redeemable at a nearby Mattress Circular Journey retail partner store.
With the Ernakulam launch, ISPF aims to take things a notch up. They have an agency of 7000+ people to undertake the mission. The campaign is also being pushed as a buyback drive. Customers are being given Rs. 600 for a single bed.