Busy time for NBF Circular Economy Committee

Recycling; ecodesign; cleanliness of fillings; alternatives to plastic packaging – just some of the sustainability projects the NBF are working on right now.

The NBF Circular Economy Committee (CEC) is having a busy time of it at the moment.

Is an EPR solution to mattress recycling around the corner?
Members of the team are heavily involved with our joint project with Zero Waste Scotland, scoping the business case for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for recycling mattresses. It’s great to have an industry stakeholder group meeting regularly, asking lots of questions and highlighting issues from different perspectives. Early next month, managers of existing and recently established EPR schemes in France, the USA and Belgium are being invited along to share some of their experiences.
Although the project is being funded by Scotland, a preference is emerging for a UK-wide mandatory option, delivered by a single, industry-led Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) as the preferred option. That’s why we are involving England, Wales and Northern Ireland in our discussions and planning. We know they are all hoping to ban mattresses from landfill by 2025 and are already looking closely at how EPR schemes can achieve this goal.
It is expected that this scoping project will be completed by early summer. The next phase will be getting to grips with establishing an industry led PRO. Watch this space!

International recognition for our work on mattress-specific ecodesign principles
Having successfully published a ground-breaking document on ecodesign principles for mattresses last year, the CEC is now working on a practical assessment toolkit and labelling scheme – which we hope to have finished within the next few months. This will translate theory into practice and enable all our members to carry out ecodesign assessments on their products using internationally recognise ecodesign principles.
In case you missed it, here is the link to our ecodesign principles document.

How clean are used fillings?
The CEC has also been conducting research which will it is hoped will ultimately feed into a revision of BS1425, the cleanliness of fillings standards. It has been recognised for some time that this standard needed to be updated, particularly in the context of ever-increasing recycling and reuse. as increased recycling and reuse. The project has been delayed by the disruptions caused by the pandemic but it is hoped it will get back on track soon and start to deliver some real solutions.

Sustainable plastic bags CAN happen!
We are also looking closely at more sustainable packaging options – you may have seen our Video Podcast regarding the sugar cane plastic bags developed by a leading packaging supplier in conjunction with NBF member Hypnos. If you, haven’t seen it already, you can watch the video again here.

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