Reffnet case Resource efficiency in mattress production

BICO is a renowned manufacturer of high-quality mattresses and bed systems. The company is part of the international Hilding Anders Group and attaches great importance to quality, comfort and innovation. Hilding Anders Switzerland is committed to sustainability by using environmentally friendly production processes and recyclable materials. They are also part of the recently founded Mattress Alliance, which is committed to promoting the circular economy of mattresses.

As part of the Reffnet case that we worked on for BICO to identify potential improvements in the use of resources within BICO in Schänis SG, all material flows were identified and a material flow analysis was carried out. In addition, the waste streams were evaluated in detail.

There are various approaches that go hand in hand to reduce the consumption of resources for the production of mattresses:

  • The use of secondary materials: Mattresses are designed in such a way that it is possible to use secondary materials.
  • Design for recycling: Mattresses are designed so that they can be easily recycled at the end of their life.
  • Use of renewable raw materials: The mattress components are produced using renewable raw materials rather than fossil fuels.
  • Reduction of waste production: Solutions should be found for the waste generated during production according to the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle.

Not all materials in mattresses can be recycled or produced from secondary materials. After examining the suitability and current status, the use of secondary foam in particular showed great potential for savings. Bico is currently working intensively on the integration of secondary foam in its mattresses and the results of the Reffnet case have shown that they are making good progress in this respect. The production of covers made from pure polyester also has great potential. This is mainly because these covers can be recycled better than covers made from a wide variety of textiles. In terms of waste, the recycling of textile waste either into acoustic panels or internally into stuffing material proved to be very promising.

This case beautifully illustrates how environmental impacts can be reduced right from the design stage of a product and how the course can be set for the cycle of the product and its materials.

Photo Credits: Rocco Cristofaro, bico


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