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- Are Mattress Manufacturers Nearsighted?
Pocketed coiled innerspring units, because of the superior qualities that they give to a mattress, have become very popular over the past decade. Given the 8-10 year life span of a mattress and the ever growing popularity of pocketed coils, there will be a continued increase in the number of pocketed coils that will require disposal. Mattress manufacturers have done a great job marketing and appealing to customers, but have they considered the future of their businesses? Have manufacturers considered how Environmental Responsibility might impact their product moving forward? The Mattress Recycling Council funded by ISPA has made a valiant effort over the years in furthering responsible recycling of mattresses. In states like California, laws have been passed making owners and mattress companies responsible for proper collection of old mattresses. Many of the components of the mattress can be deconstructed and recycled, but the deconstruction of the pocketed coil innerspring has presented a significant problem. The process is done by hand and there are fewer and fewer recyclers willing or able to deconstruct the pocketed coil due to expense. The majority of coils are therefore still sent to landfills. In Connecticut some innersprings are sent to burn facilities, which is not environmentally friendly. Our world is changing and there is a heightened awareness of the environmental consequences of ever increasing landfills as well as waste disposal. The Environmental Protection Agencies across the country are searching for ways to manufacture products that are recyclable and sustainable. Glue penetrates the polypropylene fabric, contaminating it, and as a result renders the fabric unrecyclable. We at Texas Pocket Springs believe that the EPA and state demands will continue to be more and more stringent and that forward thinking and innovation is essential. We have already engineered a proprietary technology that eliminates the need for glue rendering the fabric recyclable and sustainable and we are diligently working to find ways to economically deconstruct the innerspring so that the fabric and springs are truly recyclable and sustainable. Without the contamination of glue, both the fabric and coils can be recycled in their original form, and mattresses become truly sustainable. We as manufacturers need to decide whether we sit back and allow status quo or is it in our best interest to be proactive. We need to ask ourselves—will we wake up one morning and find that new legislation has resulted in the demise of the pocketed coil?
- Mattress Industry Post-Coronavirus Pandemic: The Need to Pivot to Recyclability
The coronavirus pandemic has raised questions, caused concerns and heightened awareness of our responsibilities as a nation and as individuals. Its aftereffects will place higher demands on all manufacturing, and mattress manufacturers are no exception. The question is — will they be prepared? The loss of lives due to the coronavirus has been tragic, and we’re not through it yet. However, one outcome of the pandemic is that it has led to a greater sense of social responsibility. Our country has sheltered in place in an effort to save lives, even as health care workers jeopardize their own lives to save others. Social responsibility has trumped capitalism through things like the enactment of the Defense Production Act. Manufacturers, including mattress manufacturers, are making masks and gowns for essential services like police, firefighters and food purveyors. Companies like Ford and General Motors found supply chains and within weeks were able to mass-produce masks, face shields and ventilators. As a Wall Street Journal article commented, “United by a singular purpose and freed from bureaucratic restraints, traditional companies like Ford are suddenly more nimble.” These times have provided important lessons, and a story appears to be evolving — a story that will impact the landscape and perspective of our daily lives. Governments and lawmakers will be held more accountable, there will be more forward-thinking, laws will be enacted to create better preparedness and, most of all, there will be a greater awareness of our social responsibility. We aren’t abandoning capitalism, but capitalism will be held to a higher moral standard. The President and much of the media are trying to assure us that the economy will survive and be better than ever. Assuming it does, I believe we will have a changed mindset. Customers will likely have a heightened sense of responsibility to each other and the environment. This shift may force legislators to expect even greater responsibility from manufacturers — and the mattress manufacturing industry will be forced to adapt. Pre-pandemic: Changing environmental expectations Before the pandemic, not a day went by without the media making us aware of global warming and toxic gases — waste products from manufacturing, farming and fossil fuel use that cause the greenhouse effect. Mattress manufacturers have been experiencing greater pressure to contribute to the recycling efforts of environmental agencies. In Europe and the UK, more aggressive legislation and timelines demand sustainably manufactured products. In the US, there has been a push to compel proper recycling through legislation. California already imposes on the mattress retailer to collect or pay for collection of the old mattress they are replacing. New York’s proposed 2020 state budget included provisions that would require an industrywide recycling program funded and administered by mattress manufacturers. It is only a matter of time before all states impose recycling regulations. The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) has worked hard to efficiently collect old mattresses in the states where it operates — California, Rhode Island and Connecticut — but the cost of separating the fabric from the coil in a pocketed coil system means the process is not economically feasible. Many units are still sent to landfills, hampering recycling’s ultimate goal of converting waste into reusable material. Mattress manufacturers’ role. Still, environmental organizations continue to push total recycling, and legislative agencies continue to enact more laws regarding mattress recycling. The responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the mattress manufacturers to find ways to produce sustainable and truly recyclable products. With the present environmental consciousness and heightened sense of social responsibility, consumers will also demand sustainable products. But most current mattresses throw a massive wrench in the recycling works — literally. Mattress recyclers can strip away fabric and foam. It’s a simple task to melt and recycle scrap metal; folks have done that for decades. But when it comes to mattresses, each metal coil has a wrapper of fabric attached with temperature-sensitive glue. Before the springs can be melted, the fabric has to come off each and every spring. Because a queen-size mattress typically contains more than 1,500 individually wrapped and glued coils, it’s not feasible to remove the fabric by hand. As a recent article on mattress recycling in The Guardian reported, “According to the (UK) National Bed Federation (NBF), only about 19% of mattresses are recycled. The reason? They are a nightmare to recycle – it’s the springs. ‘They’re a machine killer.’” In Texas, a mattress-manufacturing solution For the pocketed spring to be recyclable, a more efficient, cost-effective way of separating the fabric from the springs is needed. A sustainable product must eliminate the contamination of glue. In the race to achieve this goal, Texas Pocket Springs is positioned to be a leader. Besides producing a superior pocketed coil system, the company has developed an industry-proven, patented, disruptive technology that bonds coils without glue. The GlueLess® Innerspring Assembler renders the coil totally sustainable and at the same time more economical. Next up? Texas Pocket Springs has also worked diligently for years to find an effective way of stripping the fabric from the coils so that the pocketed coil innerspring can be recycled economically. While the solution isn’t yet a done deal, I have no doubt it’s on the way. Many manufacturers of pocketed coils are in family-owned businesses, passed on from generation to generation, and are proud of the stability and comfort their systems provide. If we want the next generation to have a thriving business, it is our responsibility to create a sustainable product and find a cost-effective way of separating the fabric from the spring. Texas Pocket Springs’ GlueLess Innerspring Assembler is the answer to half of the equation, and I am happy to be a part.
- Texas Pocket Springs (TPS) Applauds Mattress Recycling Council’s SP2 Sustainability Efforts
Between California’s mattress recycling laws and efforts of the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), California continues to be the most environmentally responsible state. The SP2 program described below is another important effort toward greater responsibility. From the very inception Texas Pocket Springs (TPS) has worked not only to produce a superior product but to manufacture both responsibly and with innovation. Understanding the need for sustainable products and mattress recycling concerns, TPS has not only worked to eliminate the contamination of glue but has also feverishly worked to find the most economical way of deconstructing the innerspring once recycled. It has taken years and a great deal of effort but we now have a proprietary, industry-proven technology that eliminates the need for glue in bonding the pocketed coil strips. The resulting product is of superior quality, truly recyclable and sustainable as well. We may be located in Texas, but our interests are aligned with California’s efforts. We will be the first to apply for SP2 certification once brought to Texas. PS: We will provide updates on our deconstruction efforts. We are working hard, the need is great. Please visit this website to view “MATTRESS RECYCLING COUNCIL PROMOTES NEW NO-COST SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM TO CALIFORNIA MATTRESS MANUFACTURERS”
- TPS steps up in time of need ! KRLD Radio interview
Johnson County Company Shifts Production From Mattress Springs To Face Masks ALAN SCAIA MAY 12, 2020 – 1:08 PM KEENE (1080 KRLD) – A company in Johnson County that was planning to lay off its staff when COVID-19 hit has found a new purpose. Texas Pocket Springs Tech has been building parts for mattresses in Keene since 2002. Owner Martin Wolfson says he was on pace for his most profitable year ever, but sales dropped 75 percent when the outbreak shut down stores. “Therefore, our customers don’t have anybody buying mattresses. Therefore, they’re not buying innerspring units,” he says. Wolfson says he was worried he would have to lay off his entire staff. He then read the same material used to make springs, polypropylene, is used to make protective masks. Wolfson says Grandview Bank in Cleburne offered a loan so he could keep paying his staff. He says employees designed a machine to make masks, giving him the opportunity to keep one production line open. “With everybody supporting us, all we had to do was try to figure out how we keep our business open, and what else can we do to help the community,” Wolfson says. “It’s very, very difficult to get good labor. The core of the people working for us have been working for us for 20 years. I’m sure they could go find a job somewhere else that pays more.” Before moving to Keene, Texas Pocket Springs had operated in Mansfield for two years. Wolfson says he started making about 200 masks a day but can now produce about a thousand. He delivered the first batch to Keene Fire Rescue, followed by 1,000 masks to police, fire and EMS in Cleburne. “We’re in a small community, and if we can’t rely on each other, I don’t know who we can rely on,” Wolfson says. “The fire chief from Keene has thanked us. The fire department from Cleburne, when they came to pick up the masks, they were absolutely so overwhelmed and very, very thankful.” Wolfson says he is donating the masks to departments in Johnson County. With the loan, he says he had to cut overtime, but he is still able to pay his employees. “To me, that sometimes means more than money,” he says. “You’re helping somebody, and they’re helping somebody else. You’re enabling somebody to do their job.” Wolfson says he plans to apply for certification from the state as a healthcare product manufacturer.
- Texas Pocket Springs Breaks Ground on New Factory
Keene, TX- Texas Pocket Springs, a leading producer of pocketed coil innersprings and innerspring innovation has broken ground on a new facility. The company can no longer meet growing demand with its current production capacity. “We’ve spent the last 25 years developing one of the best pocketed spring units in the industry. We’re not the biggest in the industry, but we stay ahead of the curve with constant innovation and never being afraid to question conventional wisdom in the name of efficiency, quality, comfort, and environmental friendliness. Fortunately with the great team we have and the incredibly loyal customer base that we’ve built over the years, we’ve reached a point where we need a larger facility to keep up with the demand for our inner spring units,”said Martin Wolfson, TPS President. The new facility will showcase TPS’s latest coiling technology and will produce 1.3 million units a year. TPS Sales Director Matan Wolfson added, “Another growth factor we’re seeing is that mattress manufacturers are looking for an advantage over their competitors, which our QuadCoil gives them. Our patented QuadCoil units have been successful with the growth of the hybrid and bed in a box mattresses. We strive for it to be one of the most stable units on the market. As the cost of foam has increased, we’ve experienced an increase in orders for our micro-coils, which mimic the feel of foam. We work with our customers on every new mattress design to develop the perfect innerspring unit, our expanded innovation lab will help in this process. Our goal is simple, when people buy a mattress, we want them to request the mattress with the Texas Pocket Spring inside.” TPS’s pocketed coil innovation lab and machinery division will increase its size and production capacity, which comes at the perfect time as European demand for the TPS Glue-Less assembler is increasing. “Our glue-less technology assembly machines are currently on a 6 month lead time, once we move into the new space we will be able to get that down to around 60 days. We also now have the much needed space to accelerate our mattress recycling machinery project ” says Wolfson. The new facility is expected to be in full operation by August.