ISPA EXPO Observations

When the bedding industry met earlier this month in Orlando, it was the first time in four years for many to meet face-to-face at an ISPA EXPO.  As MRC staff reflected on their experience, these themes continually emerged as making the biggest impression.

The message has changed

Sustainability and circular economies were central themes with many show participants and exhibitors. New equipment on display featured alternative construction methods that consider end-of-life deconstruction and advanced recycling.

Interest and connections

There was strong international traffic at the MRC booth with delegations from Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, the Philippines, India, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Dubai, and Canada attending. Most conversations began, “You are doing a great job! How can we do it back home?”  There were also conversations with companies interested in purchasing recycled mattress commodities.

New technology

Several manufacturing technologies were on display with the potential to improve both mechanical and chemical recycling of commodities in the secondary markets. 

•             Loop stitch construction:  This machine stitches layers of foam together instead of using adhesives. This has the potential to improve recycling rates by creating clean foam layers when products are deconstructed.

•             Debonding adhesives:  Special adhesives that stay strong at room temperature but debond at higher temperatures to improve component separation.

•             A polyester mattress design: The waste plastic from the manufacturing process can be remelted and formed into new mattress components.

•             A QR code label:  A proposal to create an industry standard to encode detailed listing information used to make the mattress. The code could be scanned by recyclers to aid in sorting for the secondary markets. The data could also aid consumers in making mattress choices.

•             Glueless pocketed coils:  While now selling pocketed coils assembled on a custom-made machine with heat, not glue, a future device on their production line would assemble pocketed coils that can easily be separated when recyclers are de-constructing a mattress.