The importance of mattress recycling

The entire mattress industry is seeing an increasing level of ambition among both manufacturers and consumers regarding an improved sustainability performance. A massive reduction in CO2 emissions as targeted by the industry and regulation bodies, via both laws and directives, is asking for an extra recycling effort.

Different recycling procedures are already possible, but the development of solutions allowing fully circular processing of raw materials is still in progress. The adhesive used for their production has a crucial impact on the recyclability of mattresses: Due to their special formulation, SIMALFA® adhesives are a perfect choice for companies aiming to produce recyclable products.

How to recycle a mattress

Mattresses can be recycled through a mechanical or chemical recycling process. Mechanical recycling is almost 100% sustainable as most of the materials in a mattress can be reused. It is, for example, possible to make composite foam by chopping previously used foam into small pieces and shaping and connecting them into a new piece.

During the chemical recycling process, on the other hand, the polyurethane is split through a chemical reaction. After the polyurethane is separated, the polyol part of the polyurethane can be reused. From this raw material, new foams can be produced:

From this raw material, new foams can be produced: Either new soft foams for further mattresses, but also hard foams as used in the construction industry. The benefit of this procedure is the quality of the recycled product, which compares to non-recycled foams. To enable a seamless recycling process, the adhesive used to produce the mattress must not interfere with the recycling process.

SIMALFA® products are known for their excellent bonding performance with a very low application quantity. Thanks to this characteristic, the adhesives neither interfere with the mechanical nor the chemical recycling process.

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The perfect adhesive for mattress recycling

One common challenge in mattress recycling are toxic ingredients. The foam itself usually does not contain anything that might become toxic to the environment during the recycling process. However, it can be less straight forward to find an adhesive that is equally unproblematic for the environment. SIMALFA® can solve the problem before it even arises: SIMALFA® products have been thoroughly tested for contaminants and do not pollute the environment during mechanical or chemical recycling. Due to their water base, they are inherently sustainable.

One of our products especially recommended for mattress production is SIMALFA® 3031. It is a fast drying thanks to its special formulation and low application quantity. The adhesive is above all distinguished by its outstanding instant tack, great flexibility and heat resistance and is, of course, suitable for roller application. Learn more about fast drying adhesives and roller coating.

Our second mattress and roller specialist, SIMALFA® 360, is CR- and halogen-free. 360 is an excellent choice for inline productions of mattresses because the applied adhesive is dried with heat before assembling. First, the adhesive is evenly applied to the foam with a double roller – a one-sided application is sufficient. Afterwards, the water in the adhesive evaporates and the tack of SIMALFA® 360 is maximised with a short trip through a heat tunnel. Because the adhesive is almost dry at this point and tacks instantly, further handling can continue immediately.

Sustainability has always come first

Mattress recycling has become increasingly popular in recent times, also due to the growing volumes in mattress production, and sustainability becoming a major theme globally. Long before that, SIMALFA® was already spearheading the development and distribution of sustainable products.

Our founder, Emil Simmler, became a well-known pioneer for sustainable and safe adhesive solutions after inventing the first ever water-based adhesive with instant tack for foam bonding, which instantly gained market volume worldwide. We have always remained faithful to our founder’s vision and never made a compromise when it comes to the sustainability and safety of our adhesives. Apart from their high water content, SIMALFA® adhesives contain a significant proportion of renewable biodegradable raw materials. They are almost pollutant-free and minimize any health or environmental hazards during the production as well as the recycling of mattresses. We are always working to develop new and even more innovative products such as our CR-free line. All our adhesives are packaged using recycled cardboard and on the roof of our headquarters in Rafz, we have installed solar panels. These deliver more than 70% of the energy required to produce our adhesives. The goal of ALFA Klebstoffe AG is to produce adhesives completely free from fossil raw materials. We are aware that this is an ambitious goal, but we are ready to tackle it.

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