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Dow to scale up polyol production from recycled mattress materials

| By Mary Bailey

Dow Polyurethanes (PU), a business division of Dow, Inc. (Midland, Mich.), has announced a breakthrough in its RENUVA Mattress Recycling Program with a plan to install a pioneering industrial-scale production facility at Orrion Chemicals Orgaform in Semoy, France.

The RENUVA Mattress Recycling Program will take discarded mattress foam and turn it back into raw material (polyol) through chemical recycling, the process of converting waste into feedstock. The new raw material can then be used in flexible or rigid foam products to go into applications such as building insulation boards and even back into new mattresses.

Every year, around 30 million mattresses are thrown away in Europe. This new initiative will help enable a more circular economy for polyurethanes by ensuring the applications they are used in can be recycled, and it can help the EU reach its goal of having 65% of municipal waste recycled by 2030.

This new development builds on Dow’s existing collaboration with process know-how and turnkey installations provider H&S Anlagentechnik, announced in 2017.

“At Dow we’re passionate about integrating sustainability into all aspects of the Polyurethane lifecycle. This development will represent a significant step towards achieving circularity for a product which traditionally poses significant challenges for recycling,” said Ana Carolina Haracemiv, commercial director for Europe, Middle East, Africa, India (EMEAI)- Dow Polyurethanes.

“Through RENUVA our ambition is to address some of the circular economy goals set out in the EU’s Green Deal and in national waste management strategies of countries like France,” stated Marcel Moeller, global marketing and sustainability director- Dow Polyurethanes.

“This new cooperation will reinforce Orrion Chemicals Orgaform’s commitment to sustainable development,” said Christian Siest, president – Orrion Chemicals Orgaform. “We will be proud to build an industrial scale production unit for recycling end-of-life foam and be selected as a partner by Dow. This will be a major investment that fits the growth strategy of our company.”

The installation is expected to take place during the second half of 2020, with the first batch of RENUVA polyols expected to be delivered in the first half of 2021.