CIRCULAR ECONOMY OF MATTRESS A GOOD MOVE
The idea to embrace environmental responsibility has moved beyond lip-service, shallow brochures and tricky conflicts with business profitability. It is entering some win-win, and actionable, contours in the mattress industry already. Let’s see how.
If dust from the Sahara desert can fly all the way across to Amazon forests in Brazil and be a source of nutrients for the vast green canopy there, then there is nothing much left to imagine about the power and intelligence of Nature. This dust is not just dust but remains of dead aquatic life; and, hence, fuel for life somewhere else. Nature has always been clever in ensuring that everything that ends, circles back to a form of life in some way. So when we think of this circular shape in the way we do business and run economies, we are not running away from logic but actually leaning towards it. It makes sense for everyone – for the environment, for consumers and for profit-seeking businesses to invest in a circular economy. Today, this economy is pegged as a growth curve worth betting a lot of effort and new business models on. It was reckoned to be a $4.5 trillion business opportunity, by Accenture. The Circularity Gap Report 2021 hints that circular economy strategies can cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 39 per cent and help avoid climate
breakdown. The 22.8 billion tonnes (Gt) of annual emissions associated with creating new products from virgin materials – yes that big pile can be eliminated by applying circular strategies that drastically reduce the number of minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass consumed by the world’s economy.
But a lot remains to be done. The portion of the global economy that is circular – is still minuscule – roughly 8.6 per cent. And to make matters disturbing, just two years ago it was 9.1 per cent. That means that the global circularity gap is definitely widening (As surmised by the Circle Economy). It has also been noted that the demand for raw materials under a ‘business-as-usual scenario would double by 2050. Can the quintessentially rectangular mattress, then, be a part of the problem or a solution here?
STRETCH THAT EXTRA MILE – MAKE IT INTO A CIRCLE.
Why mattress recycling is important? We all know that a typical mattress is not exactly a cheerleader for circularity. It is loaded with huge levels of artificially-made ingredients and chemicals. Once retired; it needs to be recycled. Incidentally, this recycling is not an environmental duty, but a customer benefits too. Yes, that old saggy, lumpy and unsupportive bed is dotted with contaminating bed bugs, allergens, chemicals that cause Health Problems. It does not take a lab trip to understand that. Just look closely at your bed and you would get the drift. The last thing one needs is a microbe-filled mattress. But throwing that old, saggy and germ-inhabited mattress away is not the answer here. It is highly dangerous and can seriously pollute the environment.
Thus, the need for a Mattress Circular Economy recycled and benefits nature. Materials and other resources used in the mattress gets re-used, not wasted. Less waste will go into landfills. Governments of various countries are coming out with rules and regulations on recycling management. For instance, the Union government of India is working on new
guidelines for extended producer responsibility (EPR), a globally standardised plastic pollution policy under which the manufacturer is responsible for recycling or disposing of plastics. Similarly, the government has proposed new rules for battery waste management that will make it mandatory for manufacturers and dealers to collect used batteries against the new ones they sell. E-Waste management rules are in place since 2016. It is not far away for government to consider recycling of mattresses. Before the government proposes, it is an industry that must take this necessary step to help environmental conservation. Well, the good news is that used mattresses are highly recyclable (between 80-90 per cent of each mattress by weight), and the majority of components like steel and polyurethane have a positive recyclable market value. So instead of throwing it out, one can consider recycling an old mattress – easily and affordably.
INDIA’S FIRST-EVER MATTRESS RECYCLING CAMPAIGN BY INDIAN SLEEP PRODUCTS FEDERATION (ISPF) , INDIAN POLYURETHANE ASSOCIATION (IPUA), & THE KABADIWALA
In the pursuit to take care of the environment, ISPF and IPUA along with the Kabadiwala have taken the initiative of GREEN REVOLUTION that aims at recycling the used mattresses and not allowing them to go to the landfill through their phenkonahirecyclekaro campaign, thus achieving maximum impact on environmental sustainability and pollution control.
Efforts have started at full tilt to make this process simple and pragmatic. Bhopal BMC Commissioner Mr. K.V.S Choudary, I.A.S along with BMC Additional Commissioner M.P. Singh, and the President of Association of All Industries, Mandideep Mr. Rajeev Agrawal, inaugurated India’s 1st ever Mattress Recycling Campaign in Bhopal on 17th July. Mr. Madanlal Gurjar, Vice President and Mr. Vijay Gaur, Secretary of Govindpura Industries Association also participated in the campaign and extended their full support.
Under the #phenkonahirecyclekaro campaign, the old mattress would be picked up from the consumer’s doorstep as per their request on the Kabadiwala app/website or on call. Consumers will also get a discount redemption coupon as a token of appreciation for their contribution to environmental sustainability. They can redeem the coupon against any
product from active Mattress Circular Journey Retail Partners.
A mattress consists of a wide variety of recyclable raw materials like foam, cotton, coir, metal spring or rubber. These mattresses are however simply disposed of by households in open areas. This eventually adds up to unsanitary landfills posing a severe hazard to the environment. The land becomes barren, soil loses fertility, landfills release harmful gases polluting the air, and thousands of animals die.
The initiative will promote the Indian mattress industry as a green industry. It will also help people to dispose of their mattresses in an eco-friendly manner, taking them towards sustainable living. The participating dealers will be certified as environmental sustainable Retail Partners. India’s first Mattress recycling campaign under the guidance of ISPF & IPUA is starting from Bhopal, which will significantly help in regulating mattress circular economy, in saving the environment and natural resources. The initiative will be highly supported by BMC for its huge success, BMC appreciates such causes that fulfill the aim of missions like Swacch Bharat says Mr. K.V.S Choudary, BMC Commissioner.
IT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
This movement will help all the stakeholders in this industry including the consumer, dealer, and manufacturer know their responsibility in conserving the environment. It will become a proud movement for every individual when
they look at this as the most obvious reason for conservation to protect nature and promote biodiversity. Preservation of nature helps to prevent the entire ecosystem from being harmed. So it is a win-win for all. Like dust from Africa that falls on our faces as snow – even mattresses can keep giving us peace and rest whether they are new or done-and-dusted. And in endless ways. Let us encourage these good sandstorms. Let us be the winds of change. After all, who would not be happy to contribute their bit for environmental protection?