RENUVA™ – Circular & Low Carbon Solutions for a Resource Efficient Future

Striving for resource efficiency, Switzerland

External Context & Aim  

In Europe each year around 40 million discarded mattresses end up as very bulky waste in landfills and a majority are incinerated to produce heat and electricity. However, incineration is a source of CO2 and a waste of valuable resources.  

Low-Value Markets for recycled products 

Recycling polyurethane foams and building a recycling ecosystem represent a complex challenge. Polyurethanes are thermoset polymers which, unlike thermoplastic polymers, are impossible to recycle back to their original form solely by mechanical means. Typically recycled polyurethane foams from mechanical recycling are used into low-value products that have small and declining market sizes.  


Therefore, alternative solutions for waste mattresses such as chemical recycling were developed to be resource efficient by keeping these valuable chemicals in circulation and at the same time lower the environmental footprint. 

Actions & Results for Resource Efficiency  

Collaboration is Key 

The RENUVA ™ Program brings the entire value chain together. The collaboration started in 2017 between Dow (raw material producer and supplier) and H&S Anlagentechnik (technology provider). Eco-mobilier is the French Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme organization in charge of furniture and mattresses. They supply the polyurethane foam from dismantled post-consumer mattresses for the recycling unit.  Orrion Chemicals Orgaform is Dow`s manufacturing partner and produces the RENUVA™ polyol for Dow. The Vita Group, Europe’s leading flexible polyurethane foam manufacturer has been the first customer to use the first batch of RENUVA™ polyol in their newly launched ORBIS foam, which in turn have won various awards. 

Chemical Recycling is now a Reality 

Construction of the first commercial RENUVA™ production plant started early 2021. The plant was inaugurated in France in September 2021.Together with Dow, Vita developed a new foam formulation, replacing up to 30% of the virgin polyol by RENUVA™ Polyol. In March 2022 the first sofa containing Orbis foam and RENUVA™ Polyol has been commercialized in France. The RENUVA™ polyols are now being promoted to other key bedding and furniture customers in Europe as well. In a move to be beneficial and resource efficient to society and the environment, the RENUVA™ plant has the capacity to process the foam from 200,000 waste mattresses avoiding these being incinerated/landfilled every year.  

External Low Carbon Certification  

In 2021, a cradle-to-gate ISO certified external LCA study demonstrated that RENUVA™ polyols offer the potential for a significant reduction of the environmental footprint. It assessed the potential impact categories included in the Product Environmental Footprint method of the European Commission, e.g. global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, acidification for land and water sources, eutrophication, formation of tropospheric ozone, and depletion of non-renewable energy resources. A key observation was the 54% reduction of climate change impact for the given two-part functional unit. 

Thus, the RENUVA™ Program and products drive a sustainable and resource efficient future for the polyurethanes industry, customers, society and the environment.   

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