ABSC Approval for Mattress Recyclers
The ABSC will be launching the Bedding Stewardship Scheme in early 2023. Mattress recyclers can commit to participating now by applying for ABSC Approval for Mattress Recyclers.
ABSC Approval is available to mattress recyclers who ensure safe and environmentally responsible collection, storage and recycling of end-of-life mattresses and their component materials.
Mattress recyclers who refurbish or re-skin mattresses are not currently supported by the ABSC due to limited evidenced-based protocols on health and safety. However, the ABSC will be working with refurbishers on health and safety standards as the Scheme develops. If you do refurbish mattresses, please contact us to discuss further.
ABSC Approval Objectives
ABSC Approval for Mattress Recyclers will be conducted by the ABSC and will not incur audit fees. It is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- ensure that the Scheme achieves the desired environmental outcomes and social benefits
- improve the collection and reporting of data relevant to achieving the Scheme's outcomes
- assist Scheme participants to identify and mitigate risks that may result in harm to human or environmental health
- ensure that recyclers honour and work in compliance with their commitments to the Scheme
- best practice site management regarding environment, health, safety and human rights
- continuous improvement in recycling and material processing.
ABSC Approval Benefits
ABSC Approved Mattress Recyclers will be:
- endorsed by the ABSC for demonstrating safe and environmentally responsible mattress recycling operations
- acknowledged as a participant of the Bedding Stewardship Scheme
- featured on the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council (ABSC) website
- promoted to ABSC members and in ABSC communications
- invited to participate in recycler network and information sessions
- encouraged to use ABSC branding
- compliant with the ABSC Code of Conduct
- committed to demonstrating leadership in the safe and environmentally responsible management of end-of-life mattresses
Applicants are expected to commit to participate in site audits, cooperate throughout the approval process, provide documentation to validate licensing requirements, provide mattress recycling data and commit to the ABSC’s Code of Conduct.
- Contact us to request an application form and a copy of the ABSC Code of Conduct.
- Complete the application form, read and sign the Code of Conduct and return both via email.
- The ABSC will contact the applicant to confirm details and request additional information if it is required.
- Once the ABSC is satisfied with the information provided we may coordinate a site visit at the applicant's site.
- Where a site visit is undertaken, a site visit summary will be completed by the ABSC and provided to the applicant. Any identified issues will be highlighted in the summary, discussed between the ABSC and the applicant and a plan for issue resolution agreed to.
- The ABSC determines whether to recommend the applicant to the ABSC Board for approval.
- The ABSC Board determines whether to endorse the ABSC Approval recommendation.
- The ABSC will contact the applicant with the outcome.
The ABSC anticipates that the Scheme could move to a more detailed Recycler Accreditation process in the future. Recycler Accreditation would be conducted by an independent auditor, incur audit fees and improve the level of compliance with the Scheme’s commitments. In this circumstance, ABSC Approved Mattress Recyclers will be pre-qualified for Recycler Accreditation.
Manual dismantling and shredding are the two common approaches to mattress recycling in Australia. The ABSC is working hard to grow the mattress recycling network and extend the geographical reach of mattress recycling services.
Manual dismantling is the preferred method of recycling to maximise recovery of sought-after resources used within mattresses, particularly steel and PU foam. Manual dismantling creates the opportunity to explore what can be achieved with all resources within mattresses in terms of downstream channels for textiles, fibres, timber, non-PU foam and plastics. Often, manual dismantling processes are operated by social enterprise and provides employment and training to people experiencing barriers to employment. The ABSC supports recycling facilities of a social enterprise nature that prioritise ethical, social and environmental outcomes.
Shredding mattresses is a fast and high-volume solution to recover steel and feed waste to energy processes with the residual shredded foams and fabrics. Shredding mattresses can be the most feasible recovery option when mattresses are contaminated, wet or in significant stockpiled volumes. Shredding reduces volume in landfill as opposed to burying a complete mattress unit. The ABSC is actively seeking solutions to the materials currently not recovered from shredding and encourages organisations that shred mattresses to work with us on finding solutions.
The ABSC takes a continuous improvement approach to mattress recycling. We are at the beginning of our bedding stewardship journey and expect to develop higher order solutions for end-of-life mattresses that are both commercially viable and preferenced in the waste hierarchy as the Bedding Stewardship Scheme develops. The waste hierarchy shows preferences across any product/material in terms of its end-of-life opportunities.