Trend for foam mattresses is driving fly tipping in UK

28th February 2020 | Recycling

The trend for foam and other specialist mattresses is driving an increase in fly-tipping in the UK, the Local Government Association has warned as it calls for compulsory recycling. More than 33,000 mattresses were illegally dumped across England between 2018 and 2019, new figures from the group show. They make up 13 per cent of all dumped waste in the UK.

Companies should have a “take-back” policy for old mattresses and be forced to recycled their own products to stop the scourge of mattress dumping, the LGA said. Mattresses are difficult to get rid of at the moment as their many components mean they need specialist treatment once discarded.

Fly tipping

Analysis of latest industry figures also shows that annual UK mattress sales are outstripping the number of recycled by more than five-fold, with 7.26 million sold as replacements compared to t1.36 million recycled. The increase in choices of bedding and people now being advised to replace mattresses after eight years, rather than 12, is also though to be fuelling sales and creating more mattresses in circulation – and a greater need to recycle them to reduce landfill.

Another factor behind a lack of recycling could also be cost, the LGA said, as some councils have had to introduce charges for non-household waste to help keep waste and recycling centres open. At the moment, the association argued, the lack of a comprehensive take-back and recycling scheme is leaving councils to pick up the slack.

The LGA believes that measures to force companies to take back their old mattresses would help to reduce fly-tipping which has soared by 50 per cent in the past six years and costs councils in England £58 million a year to clear up. LGA Environment spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said, “Dumped mattresses made up a quarter of all fly-tipping incidents in some areas in the past five years.

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