This story was updated 10/4/21.
Dow Inc. business unit Dow Polyurethanes, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, a supplier of feedstocks for polyurethane foam production, has opened a mattress recycling operation in France, as part of the Dow Renuva polyol program.
The Renuva mattress recycling plant operates in partnership with chemical company Orrion Chemicals Orgaform at the latter’s large-scale manufacturing site in Semoy, France. Another of Dow’s French partners on the project is Eco-Mobilier, which has collected more than 3 million tons of used furniture in France for recycling or reuse since 2011. The new plant has the capacity to process up to 200,000 mattresses per year to tackle the growing mattress waste problem in France.
“This really is a first for our company and for France,” said Christian Siest, Orrion Chemicals president. “We have a longstanding commitment to create more sustainable solutions and have long recognized the need for industry to be part of the solution. Our plant uses a chemical recycling process in which the polyurethane foam is decomposed and converted into a novel single product. The great thing about this is versatility; we can process foam from any mattress and the Renuva polyol recipe itself can be tailored for different applications.”
Foam supplier the Vita Group, based in Middleton, U.K., is the first customer of the new Renuva polyols, using them to create its sustainable Orbis flexible foam for mattresses and bedding.
“We are immensely proud to have unveiled this plant,” said Marie Buy, Dow Polyurethanes sustainability leader. “By doing so we are answering the question of what can be done with recycled polyurethane foam. It is part of Dow’s strong commitment to delivering solutions that help close the loop and protect our environment. We are actively exploring future possibilities for recycled material and potential applications. It is really a new beginning.”
Dow lauched the Renuva family of polyols more than a decade ago as a more sustainable alternative through the use of natural oil polyols, most notably soybean oil. The newest Renuva polyols derived from reclaimed and reprocessed foam from old bedding is a first step in creating a circular economy for polyurethanes, the company said.