Bed Federation calls for ‘EPR style scheme’ for mattresses

The National Bed Federation (NBF) in the UK has called on the government to implement an extended producer responsibility (EPR) style service for mattresses, due to the lack of adequate recycling facilities across the country.

The NBF has a target of 75% diversion from landfill by 2028

The NBF explained that  approximately 4.8 million mattresses end up in either landfills or incineration each year, which it said is equivalent to filling Wembley stadium twice.

Jessica Alexander, a representative from the National Bed Federation, emphasised that while voluntary recycling efforts by retailers have achieved around 24-25% recycling rates, “more coordinated national action is necessary to significantly raise these figures.”

Jessica Alexander, National Bed Federation

“Last week, the government’s waste strategy was published, and it seemed to step back from its commitment to other EPR schemes, causing concern among industry players,” she explained.

Ms Alexander added: “The NBF is continuing to call for a nationwide program to fund mattress recycling, given that approximately 4.75 million mattresses were sent to landfill or incinerated annually in the UK, creating an environmental challenge. While some regions had efficient recycling facilities, others lacked access, leading to an inequitable system.”


Ms Alexander pointed out that effective EPR schemes have already been implemented in other countries, such as France, the USA, Belgium, and Holland. These examples offer valuable insights into the potential pitfalls and successes, which could inform the design of a successful scheme in the UK.

Additionally, the NBF believes there is a strong argument for initiating an EPR scheme, particularly in the context of the government’s consideration of bulky waste, including furniture and mattresses.


In lieu of an official mattress recycling scheme the National Bed Federation recommends consumers to find their nearest recycling facility that will strip it down into its parts for reuse, or, alternatively, to organise for a specialist licensed company to come to collect it from their house.

Most importantly, she urged people to “be aware of people in white vans offering to pick your mattress up for free or at a ‘bargain’ price – these rogue traders may take your old mattress and stuff it into a new cover to re-sell or dump it at the roadside.”

And to help consumers find appropriate recyclers, the Federation has collaborated with the Textile Recycling Association and mattress recyclers to create an audited register specifically for mattress companies, with the primary goal of ensuring proper mattress recycling practices. While this initiative is a significant stride towards responsible recycling, it is essential for consumers to exercise “due diligence” when choosing a company.

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