Semoy, France – Dow has agreed to take enough old mattress foam from Eco-mobilier, France’s recycling scheme, to fill the Orrion Chemicals Orgaform plant to capacity.
Eco-mobilier and Dow partner to fill Semoy PU-to-polyol plants
Eco-mobilier has collected 66kT of mattresses already in 2020. Dow says the scheme will supply foam from up to 200,000 mattresses each year. The large number of mattresses processed, and Eco-mobilier’s nationwide reach, means that there will be always be a good random mixture sample of material to be processed.
The process at Semoy is sufficiently robust to handle any mixture of mattress foam, said Dow. It added that the foam will be dry, clean and free of metal, latex and other non-PU materials. When bales are shipped, they will be stored, shredded and fed into the reactor. Dow is working with H&S as part of a collaboration first reported in 2018.
When the conversion process is complete, the result is a single-phase material, which contains 50% recycled polyol. The reacted mixture is then filtered and then stored. ‘During the chemical recycling, the different additives are managed and absorbed within the process,’ Dow said.
Functionality and KOH numbers are close to existing virgin grades. It added that the process can be tailored to make polyols for rigid applications, too. However, initially the polyols are designed for the polyurethane mattress market to close the loop.
Branded Renuva, Dow said the polyols should be commercially available in the first half of 2021.
Neil Carr, president, Dow EMEAI, said: ‘We are addressing the challenge of discarded mattresses head on. France has set an example by creating the EPR scheme and Eco-mobilier is leading the way in mattress and furniture waste collections. This collaboration is an example of a completely new eco-system being built to create a circular economy for polyurethane.’
Eco-mobilier collects used furniture and mattresses. It is funded by a small additional charge on the price of new furniture.