A circular model for hotel mattresses

Towards a circular business model for hotel mattresses:

Hypnos and Premier Inn on how they achieve efficient mattress take-back and material recovery

Keeping materials in use and at their highest value is a key pillar of the circular economy.  With this in mind, Hypnos and Premier Inn are taking steps to make sure their used mattresses and divan bases – traditionally bulky and difficult waste streams – have the best end of life prognoses possible.

For the hospitality sector mattresses can be a costly and problematic waste stream. This case-study captures how one hospitality business works with its mattress supplier to achieve 100% landfill diversion and as much reuse and recycling of the recovered materials as possible. This partnership exemplifies how procurement of services, instead of products, can support a more circular economy.

Mattresses, and other bulky furniture such as divan bases, present a disposal problem for households and businesses across the country, and no more so than in the hospitality sector. Of the 5.9 million mattresses disposed of in the UK each year, the majority (over 70% in 2014) are landfilled, with some incinerated for energy recovery, and only 15-20% recycled.

Whitbread-owned Premier Inn is Great Britain’s biggest hotel company, with 785 hotels in the UK and over 72,000 rooms across the country. Whitbread’s mattress supplier of over 10 years, Hypnos, shares their vision for sustainable procurement and responsible end of life treatment. They work together to satisfy the Premier Inn promise of a ‘Good Night Guaranteed’ in an environmentally considerate way.  Specifically, Hypnos removes and recycles the used mattresses generated by the regular replacement program needed to ensure Premier Inn beds and mattresses are maintained in the top condition guests rightly expect.

This case study describes how Hypnos started collecting the mattresses they were replacing at Premier Inn hotels around 10 years ago. This was before they had the capabilities to deconstruct and recover the materials from mattresses. Initially, they saw it primarily as a value-adding service to Premier Inn that utilised the empty delivery vehicles returning to the factory. At this point they were still sending the collected mattresses for landfill or incineration, usually at a cost.

Hypnos started experimenting with mattress deconstruction techniques and exploring routes to market for recovered materials. Then, once the volume of take-backs was enough, Hypnos was ready to invest in the infrastructure to fully develop its recycling service offering. Today, Hypnos’ capacity to deconstruct and recover materials from mattresses has grown such that they collect and recycle thousands of mattresses from Premier Inn hotels annually, as well as mattresses from other customers.

Yvonne Mason, Environment Manager for Whitbread, comments: “Working with Hypnos is a fantastic example of how we can work with our suppliers to reduce, reuse and recycle as many materials as we can.” John Woolley, MD of Hypnos Contract Beds added: “Hypnos aims to help hospitality providers to eradicate the waste associated with old mattresses and beds, with customers valuing this cost-effective, green and responsible alternative to landfill.” 



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