Pioneering circular innovation through chemical recycling of PU foam raw materials
PUReSmart is Covestro and Recticel's project in which they are investigating how to recover the two main raw materials of flexible polyurethane foam (PU foam) from mattresses through chemical recycling. With those recycled raw materials, a new flexible foam is then made to complete the circular cycle.
Old mattresses still contain important raw materials that can be given a second life. Covestro and Recticel together investigated how they could extract two of those raw materials, polyol and toluene diisocyanate (TDI), from the foam of those old mattresses and use them as new flexible foam.
Now that the first part of the research has succeeded, Covestro and other partners from the waste treatment industry are looking for how to extend the reuse of the raw materials for new foam to an industrial scale. In this way, they will reduce the CO2 emissions of the industrial sector and reduce the need to use new raw materials, as the basic raw materials can be reused for new foams as often as necessary.
Nine partners from six different countries worked on that research project since 2019. UGent and KU Leuven were also involved in the research. The European Union provided funding under the Horizon 2020 programme.
In January 2023, Recticel Simfocor also received the Solar Impulse label for sustainability for its thermo-acoustic insulation board. That label is awarded to products, services or processes that combine credible environmental and economic performance. Recticel's insulation board can lower sound intensity by 8 decibels and provides additional thermal insulation. It is one of the applications for which recycled PU foam from discarded mattresses is used.
Since June 2023, PUResmart has been part of Carpenter.