Waste Not, Want Not

Historically, one of the most profound challenges to industrialization has been developing production processes and systems that are safe, profitable and sustainable. Manufacturers perennially have made tweaks to reduce waste during production, improve efficiencies, comply with governmental regulations and meet financial expectations.

Typically, a catalyst precipitates changes at the factory level. In recent years, advancements in production and technology, along with stricter environmental policies, a heightened awareness of climate change and shifting consumer preferences, have bolstered new ways of thinking.

In light of these factors, members of the bedding industry are striving to decrease carbon use, refine production processes and find alternative energy sources. In this month’s cover story, “No Time to Waste,” Julie A. Palm tracks the efforts companies are making to produce bedding products while minimizing harm to the environment.

For example, she reports that bedding major Tempur Sealy International Inc. plans to divert all of its waste away from landfills by 2022, bed producer Harrison Spinks has set a goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the end of the year and innerspring supplier Agro International GmbH & Co. KG is reducing its environmental footprint across all operations. Many other companies are taking similar action. Impressive.

While on the subject of reducing the bedding industry’s environmental footprint, Palm also penned an update on research projects funded by the Mattress Recycling Council, which was formed by the mattress industry to operate state-mandated recycling programs in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Investing $1 million a year, MRC hopes the studies will, according to Palm, “identify new end markets for mattress components and also increase recycling rates, make used mattress collection and recycling more efficient, and help recyclers improve their profitability.”

A third story also addresses sustainability. Palm provides an update on the Sleep Products Sustainability Program, which was launched by MRC in 2019. To refresh your memory, SP2 is a certification program that helps mattress manufacturers reduce waste while increasing operational efficiencies and improving environmental stewardship. Although the pandemic slowed SP2, MRC expects participation to grow this year. It’s free for mattress manufacturers in California.

I would love to know what your company is doing to make sure your facilities are running at optimal efficiency. Happy Earth Day!

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