Image of a pile of mattresses inside a warehouse with blue recycling truck
Published date: 22 September 2021

North London residents recycle 13,600 old mattresses in just 10 weeks

An innovative trial to recycle worn-out mattresses from homes across north London has saved 13,600 mattresses – approximately 400 tonnes of waste – from landfill or incineration.

Run by North London Waste Authority (NLWA) and LondonEnergy Ltd (LEL), plans are now in progress to make the free scheme permanent at eight Reuse and Recycling Centres (RRCs) across north London.

Chair of NLWA, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “There have been economic impediments to justify recycling mattresses due to their size, the volume of polyester inside, and the huge number of mattresses being thrown away.

“However, with the urgent need to tackle the Climate Emergency, NLWA, with our partner LEL, are ensuring that the finite materials in mattresses are no longer lost but are reused to make new products with lower CO₂ footprints.

“People across north London have done their bit and brought 1000s of old mattresses to us for recycling in just a couple of months – the trial was a resounding success.”

Jim Kendall, Managing Director of LondonEnergy Ltd, said: “We are proud of the success of the mattress recycling trial. We hope to be able to convert this into a permanent service for North London. Increasing the number of products that can be recycled in our RRCs will encourage residents to contribute a cleaner environment for North London.”

Mattresses taken by residents to RRCs are extracted from the general waste and then separated into component materials, 90% of which are recycled, with the remaining unrecyclable parts used to generate electricity for the national grid. Fly tipped mattresses and those collected via Council ‘bulky waste’ household services are also recycled.

NLWA will soon launch more recycling trials at its RRCs including for polystyrene, crisp packets, and coffee pods.