Retourmatras recycles 1m mattresses

SPECIAL REPORT: Ingka Group, in partnership with Retourmatras, hosted an event on 13 March, spotlighting the objectives of a “circular economy” for mattress recycling.

Retourmatras was established in 2010

The event took place at Retourmatras’s recycling facility in Lelystad, the Netherlands, which began operations in 2010. It brought together policymakers and industry experts from across Europe to explore strategies for maximising the potential of circular initiatives.

Chico van Hemert, managing director of Retourmatras, expressed pride in the sector’s progress, noting the dismantling of “over 1 million mattresses in 2023 alone”. This effort is said to have resulted in a reduction of 76 million kilograms of CO2 emissions compared to incineration.

He also highlighted the environmental challenge posed by the proliferation of discarded mattresses, with approximately 6.4 million mattresses ending up in landfills, incinerators or being abandoned annually. This not only strains limited landfill capacity but also contributes to CO2 emissions and environmental degradation on a massive scale.


Established in 2010, Retourmatras embarked on a mission to address this challenge, forging a partnership with Ingka Investment.

As legislative frameworks evolved, Retourmatras adjusted its strategies to align with emerging environmental regulations. The implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes across Europe and shifts in consumer mindsets underscored the urgency of addressing mattress waste, leading Retourmatras to intensify its efforts to drive sustainable solutions.


At the core of Retourmatras’s operations lies a dismantling process that maximises the value extracted from discarded mattresses.

With a dismantling capacity of 1.7 million units annually in the Netherlands alone, the company achieves an 80% material recovery rate, resulting in reductions in CO2 emissions.

Mr Peter van der Poel of the Inkga group told letsrecycle.com that mattress recycling operations in the Netherlands and the UK had several variations in legislation post-Brexit.

While specifics were not provided, it was noted that Retour Matras recently acquired a furniture recycling company, leading to a sharing of expertise between the two entities.

The UK also incorporates mattress rejuvenation alongside recycling, extending the lifespan of mattresses. This aspect piques interest for potential future implementation on a larger scale. Despite being in the early stages of collaboration, the UK market holds significance for IKEA, prompting exploration into capabilities available there.

Concerning the incorporation of recycled materials into IKEA mattresses in the UK market, it was indicated that currently, none of the collected materials are utilised in IKEA mattresses.

However, plans are underway to potentially supply materials from the UK operations to IKEA suppliers in the future.


Retourmatras has extended its operations across Europe, including the UK, Denmark and Belgium. The company is also planning to expand into the French market.

Share this article with others

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

Back to top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest waste and recycling news straight to your inbox.