Implementing a zero waste priority
The integrated bedding business subscribes to a zero waste target, and reduces its carbon emissions by implementing efficiencies in the manufacturing processes. The focus is therefore on minimising waste in each of the manufacturing processes. Where waste is generated, as part of the manufacturing process, most of it is converted and reused as production material for other components.
Foam is produced for use in various industries. During the process of preparing the foam for use or distribution it is cut to size, producing offcut material. The offcut foam is chipped into smaller pieces, which is then treated with a rebond binder, and through the application of steam and pressure, is compressed into foam blocks. These foam blocks, called rebond, is used in the production of certain mattresses.
DesleeMattex produces mattress ticking that is used to make borders and to cover mattress panels and bed bases. During the process of covering the mattresses and bases, some offcuts are generated. These offcuts are chipped into finer pieces called flock.
The flock is mixed with low-melt fibre and pressed into a thermobonded insulation pad through the application of pressure and heat. This material is used in all mattresses and bed bases to prevent spring-feel and spring protrusion.
130 tonnes of flock was recycled back into the manufacturing process.
EPE is a non-cross linked, closed-cell polyethylene foam made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is a virgin raw material and is manufactured using an extrusion process. It has good thermal insulation properties and is waterproof. It is used mostly for packaging. The extrusion process is quite sensitive to external factors such as heat and air, therefore waste is generated during the start-up and curing process.
All waste from this process is recycled – it goes through a grinding/chipping process and is then heated and forced through a dye, producing thin strands that are cooled and chipped. The resulting product, recycled non-virgin LDPE, is then mixed with the virgin LDPE during the EPE manufacturing process.
To manufacture key components for the bedding and mattress manufacturing process, such as bed base corners, bed legs and plugs, polypropylene (PP) is melted and formed into continuous profiles. During this process waste is generated in the form of start-up material and/or damaged components from extrusion. The waste is regrinded into smaller pieces and then mixed in with the PP to be used in the injection moulding process. Further to this, the plastic bobbins on which yarn is supplied (waste from the fabric manufacturing process); caps of plastic water bottles (consumed internally); and plastic cones on which sewing thread is wound are also collected, regrinded and mixed with PP to be used in the same injection moulding process.
50 tonnes of regrind was used to produce various bedding components.