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Innovative breakthroughs bring success for furniture recycler

The Furniture Recycling Group in Blackburn has boosted its revenue by 20 per cent thanks to innovative systems that have greatly increased the number of mattresses it can recycle per week.

The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) in Blackburn has boosted its revenue by 20 per cent thanks to innovative systems that have greatly increased the number of mattresses it can recycle per week.

The Group has signed three new business partnerships with national retailers after increasing the number of mattresses it can recycle per week from 4,000 to 6,500.

Mattresses are difficult to dissemble and recycle due to the number of different components involved, meaning that 167,000 tonnes of mattresses end up in landfill each year. 

Automated systems

Breaking down pocket spring mattress can take over half a day to deconstruct manually, but in 2016 TFR Group launched a patented automated recycling machine that dismantles and separates the components in a pocket spring mattress in just 2.5 minutes.  

The recyclable components can then be sold on, re-use or recycled, creating a circular economy out of a previously ‘unmanageable’ waste stream.

The firm is now working on an automated mattress stripping machine that will reduce the time taken to strip down a mattress by a further 70 per cent. It hopes that this will increase its weekly recycling rate from 6,500 to 20,000 within the next three years.

Transport transformation

The company also recently designed a new transportation system that increases the number of mattresses that can fit in a standard 40ft trailer from 90 to 600. This has significantly lowered the cost of transporting mattresses to the recycling facility, as well as helping to reduce the carbon footprint of road transport.

Nick Oettinger, managing director of TFR Group, said: “We’re very proud that more retailers are thinking more about the end of life scenarios of their products, and the next stage for TFR Group is to meet with mattress manufacturers to discuss how they can adapt the design of their mattresses to ensure they can be recycled more easily.”