Waste diversion bookends products’ lifespan

by Jason Zanatta

Recently, I blogged about waste management – a hot-button topic that often leads to conversations on waste diversion. This related green effort is defined as the process of diverting materials from landfills and re-using or recycling them.

In the home textiles industry, there is a lot of buzz around recycling at the end of an item’s lifespan, but not enough talk about pre-manufacturing waste diversion. At Novo Textiles, we support and encourage end-of-life recycling of mattresses and other home textiles, but we also focus on reducing the waste stream before our manufacturing process begins.

Our innovative GeoBlend™ fill is made with clean, top-quality off cuts from home textiles in North America. Until now, these excess materials were sent directly to the landfills. This process re-claims and re-engineers this ‘scrap’ fiber into a premium, high-loft synthetic fill used in pillows, pet beds and insert cushions. The material provides an incredibly soft and comfortable sleep platform.

Waste diversion at the end of our products’ lifespan is very important, too. Metro Vancouver is one of many municipalities that has banned mattresses in landfills. Consumers now have to pay a fee to take their mattresses to a waste transfer station to be recycled. This has prompted many retailers to highlight their environmental efforts by introducing recycling programs that remove old mattresses when delivering new ones. Independent operators have also emerged to give consumers an option to dispose of old mattresses.

How do these recycling programs work? The first step is to assess if the mattress is gently worn and whether it can be donated to a charity. Used mattresses that are too worn are broken down into their individual components and all elements, including cotton, metal, polyurethane foam, wood, polyester and other fabrics, are sold to salvage companies for reuse.

The wood is typically sold to wood chippers, which burn the wood for fuel. The cotton and foam are sold to companies that use the materials for insulation and carpet bagging. Finally, the springs are melted down and sold to steel companies as they usually contain high quality metal. The David Suzuki Foundation estimates that more than 90% of the mattress components can be diverted from the waste stream.

Savvy consumers will research and support waste diversion at the end of an item’s lifespan but it’s up to manufacturers to implement waste diversion initiatives at the beginning of an item’s creation.

It’s important for us to emphasize that GeoBlend™ is made from top-quality trimmings from clean and new home textiles and not with recycled materials from old mattresses. Consumers can sleep easy on GeoBlend™ products knowing they are helping the environment without sacrificing their need for top-quality and safe products.

©Novo Textiles co 2014