TIC opening celebrates putting waste mattress problem to bed

The TIC Mattress Recycling Plant, Tottenham, VIC
Scores of industry VIPs and guests gathered for TIC Group’s official opening of its Australia-first automated mattress recycling plant on Friday (14 October).

TIC secured the rights to the innovative deconstruction technology, which was developed and is operating in the Netherlands, and has adapted the system to suit Australian conditions.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio cut the ribbon at the state-of-the-art facility in Tottenham, in Melbourne’s western suburbs. The Victorian Government provided TIC with a $250,000 grant to help build the facility through the “Investing in Manufacturing Technology Program”.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan and Metropolitan Waste & Resource Recovery Group CEO Rob Millard were also in attendance.

Currently in Australia, more than one million mattresses end up in landfill every year which, if stacked on top of each other, would be enough to reach the International Space Station. Moreover, of those mattresses sent for recycling, many are actually shredded or poorly recycled, reducing the amount of material recovered and polluting the air with the likes of micro plastics are released.

“TIC’s new state of the art facility means more mattresses can be recycled in Victoria than ever before,” explained Michael Warren, Managing Director of TIC Mattress Recycling.

“It’s fantastic news for the environment because we can now recycle up to 85% of a mattress in a controlled facility that reduces risks and maximises environmental benefits.

“We are very excited about this facility because it ticks all the right boxes. It makes sense environmentally, socially and economically,” he added. The textile covering and foam of mattresses can be reused in manufacturing carpet underlay. Metal from the springs is also recycled.

Speaking at the launch, Lily D’Ambrosio said: “Thousands of mattresses are disposed of in Victoria each year, and it’s often a lost opportunity for recovering valuable resources like steel.

“This new facility is giving us new opportunities to divert thousands of mattresses from landfill and make the most of this important and growing waste stream,” she added.

A number of Victorian councils supply TIC with old mattresses from their transfer stations and hard waste collections. The facility has the potential to handle all these end-of-life items for the state.

“We already have a supply of mattresses for recycling but we have an insatiable demand for end of life mattresses and are keen to get even more Victorian councils involved in this safe and efficient system,” Mr Warren said. “We want to work with local and State Government to effectively ban mattresses from landfill or poor end-of-life management that is not getting the best possible environmental outcome. The community and the environment deserve no less.”

To deliver a complete service, TIC works in partnership with Soft Landing. The national social enterprise group will collect the mattresses from retailers and manufacturers, and process mattresses that are more suited for manual deconstruction, such as bed bases and ensembles.

A second facility is being commissioned near Sydney and will be operational in 2017, with which Soft Landing will also be involved.

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