At Auping, we dream of a sustainable world.
And sometimes such a dream comes true.
Watch our story in the video below.
You have probably sometimes seen a lonely, discarded mattress on a street corner or on the roadside. Perhaps you have even put one outside yourself before, for collection with the garbage. It was probably no longer comfortable or was worn out. So no wonder it was time for a new mattress. But did you know that mattresses are one of the largest contributors to household landfill waste worldwide due to the complex composition of glued materials? About 1.5 million mattresses are discarded and thrown away in the Netherlands alone every year. It even jumps up to 35 million in Europe and 20 million in the United States. Many mattresses end up as landfill, 2/3 of which is incinerated.*
*Quote: ABN AMRO: Matrasrecycling: een kans om niet te laten liggen
How do you start talking about the solution of an unknown problem. We decided to use the problem as a canvas to the solution. Almost 400 discarded mattresses are the stars of our movie, which we filmed at the end of February. We hand painted these mattresses with our own waterbased lacquer and used them to make a stop-motion video. Old mattresses now became the carrier of this important message.
At Auping, we want to do things differently. Better. We don’t want any more waste or incineration of used mattresses. We want to close the loop. That is why we developed the world’s first circular mattress together with DSM-Niaga. That’s why we call this latest development in the evolution of sleep Auping Evolve. More about Auping Evolve
An economy in which waste is eliminated and products and raw materials are being reused. We are the first sleep brand with take back system for careful processing of used mattresses and in the spring of 2020 we achieved 'B Corp status'. We have the ambition to make circularity the starting point for all our products and processes. For example, we redesign products, we use modern, high-quality materials and develop return flows. We make mattresses of which all parts can be reused in new mattresses. Then we close the loop.
This is how we guarantee a good night’s rest on a mattress that is made out of honest and the best materials. We aim to be fully circular by 2030.
Recycling, upcycling, downcycling and circularity. There are many different definitions used when it comes to sustainable mattresses. So many, in fact, that if you want to remember them all, it can be quite a nightmare. Therefore, a simple explanation of circularity.
1. What is the difference with non-circular mattresses?
In most mattresses, the components are glued together for eternity, making it impossible to separate the different materials after use. This makes them unsuitable for reuse. With an Auping, every component can be separated independently, thanks to its modular design. In addition, many mattresses contain foam. Foam consists of a complex mix of different materials that cannot be reused at an equal level. It can only be downcycled. This means that new raw materials must be extracted from the earth continuously to produce new foam. Auping Evolve only contains materials that can be reused endlessly to produce new mattresses.
2. So does this mean I’m sleeping on a second-hand mattress?
Not at all. We guarantee that you’re sleeping on a new mattress. For us, fully circular means that we can repurpose the raw materials from each mattress in a high-quality way; therefore, we reuse these raw materials for new mattresses. All materials first undergo a process to finally form a new mattress. So you don’t have to worry about hygiene.
3. Is it possible to recycle mattresses that are dumped outside with the trash?
Chances are that mattresses placed on the street outside will get damp or even wet due to the weather. Spontaneous combustion can occur in wet mattresses, causing a mattress to catch fire. In addition, damp mattresses attract fungi that affect the various materials. This leaves little to no usable parts for recycling. And that's a shame. For this reason, old mattresses are always collected in a plastic return bag. This keeps the mattress clean and dry. In the Netherlands, 370.000 mattresses are discarded on the street every year, with the result that they cannot be processed properly.
4. How do you handle circular mattresses that come back? (return flow)
We have developed a mattress of which the materials can be reused time and again. Now it's time to optimise the recycling process and make it as efficient as possible. We do this together with our suppliers and material processors. In a number of years we will have set up a recycling process for the large numbers of circular mattresses that will be returned. We use the small numbers of Auping Evolve mattresses that have already been returned to Deventer to further optimise our recycling process.
More about the return flow of circular mattresses
5. So how do you recycle this circular mattress?
As soon as the mattress returns to Deventer, we separate the different parts. We then assess which parts are suitable for direct reuse, such as the pocket springs. Of course, these are cleaned, so they’re like new.
After that, all the steel goes to the steel recycling companies and all the polyester goes to the companies that recycle polyester. These plants melt down the polyester into granules from which threads are made, for example, to knit new ticking. The same granulate can also be processed into slightly thicker threads, of which the 3D comfort layer is knitted. Auping Evolve is brought all the way back to its two original raw materials, so that a new mattress can be made from them.
6. How did you make this new mattress?
In order to develop a modular mattress that is easy to separate after use, it is necessary to avoid the common foams and glues used in the mattress industry. Because foams and latex models cannot be processed without downcycling at the end of their lifespans, which causes huge amounts of waste. Together with Niaga®, we have developed a special bonding system using ‘Niaga® click-unclick adhesive’. This allows us to separate the individual parts of a mattress and to reuse them without losing value. Now that is circular.