Safe Sustainability: Refurbished, Remanufactured and Re-conditioned
Whilst saving and reusing elements of mattresses that are in good condition is a relatively positive idea in principle, in the vein of pledges to reduce waste and contribute to limiting unnecessary use of materials and energy, there have been calls for better monitoring and regulation of the practice.
Last week, the National Bed Federation circulated a bulletin around ‘recycled/used mattresses are being sold as new within the industry’ and it being ‘set to increase as economic conditions continue to affect the industry’. The NBF is therefore the body taking ownership by encouraging those who are aware of such operations to report or refer them to their team to be investigated.
As well as being unlawful, it risks damaging the reputation of the entire industry and being detrimental to an already lulled part of the industry that is currently experiencing a relatively quiet period. The NBF said: “Instead of moving the industry forward with exciting innovation in this space we are moving backwards with such abhorrent behaviours. Just because raw materials and component costs have risen exponentially does not warrant such dishonest behaviour”, rallying its members, and beyond, to nip this form or recycling and reusing in the bud.
Back in May, Martin Townsend of BSI Centre of Excellence for Sustainability commented on the need for change and how the industry should be mindful of its impact, as well as sharing examples of best practice. During his ‘Building resilience through recycled materials’ piece, he touched on the refurbished and remanufactured side, explaining: “While terms such as refurbished, remanufactured and re-conditioned are commonly interchanged, there are notable differences between these sustainable approaches to re-commerce.”
“Using a combination of parts (reused, new, repaired), remanufacturing sees the rebuilding of a product. It takes place to restore a product to a like-new quality in both its performance and appearance.”
“Refurbished products, however, are put through a thorough refurbishment process, with parts and components used to rebuild or repair, to return the product to a satisfactory working condition. While refurbished products don’t come with an as-good-as-new guarantee, you can expect that a refurbished product has been tested to ensure that it will perform well and often comes with a warranty.”
“Despite there being a multitude of sustainability reasons to purchase a remanufactured goods, the challenge for organisations comes in removing the perception of risk and offering an assurance of consistent quality and reliability. To help the consumer navigate this space, BSI developed the Kitemark for remanufactured and reconditioned products to assure the quality of refurbishment processes.”
To coincide with its 10th anniversary, Made in Britain CEO John Pearce also considered what the next ten are likely to have in store, amid so much economic uncertainty, in British manufacturing. In his viewpoint, he referenced that “Over the next decade, zero-waste targets will become normal business practice rather than exceptions to the rule. All businesses will become more accountable for their impact on the planet and their responsibility to protect it as time runs down on the climate change clock”.
He also mentioned the foreseen need for manufacturers to “acknowledge and evaluate their impact challenges. They will also need to shout loud about their positive social and environmental contributions – such as employing people doing meaningful work in a safe and ethical environment or using 100% up-cycled materials.”
So why are we commenting on this?
Well, we build our machines with a strong focus on innovation, problem solving and prevention, as well as ensuring efficiency and best practice within the mattress making production process. Whilst our machines can be used in the manufacturing or both new and recycled mattresses, and the processing of unusable products, we are also championing the combatting of unsafe and unlawful practices such as the removal and replacement of sock and fire covers before they are resold as new.
Our range of machines and conveyors; from our stitching, panel and border cutting machines, to our belt- and roller-driven straight line and multi-directional conveyors, that allow the flipping, turning, rotation and inspection of products and components such as the processing of foam blocks and buns, are suitable to be seamlessly added to any new or existing production lines.