Catherine Weetman talks to Nick Oettinger, Founder and CEO of The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) in the UK. Nick has 12 years’ experience in recycling and waste management. He was previously Managing Director of a specialist construction company before moving into the waste and recycling sector, where he spent five years as an improvement consultant and nine years in product recycling.
The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) provides mattress recycling, rejuvenation and collection, working in the UK with bed retailers, local authorities, home delivery companies and waste management sites to keep mattresses and their materials in circulation. They rejuvenate and recycle over 10,000 mattresses each week, and are responsible for diverting nearly 9% of all UK mattresses away from landfill.
We’ll hear how online retailing has transformed the market for mattresses, and led to increased levels of returns. Nick explains the complexity of mattress designs, and how TFR Group is going beyond recycling to help its customers recover more value from unwanted mattresses.
Nick describes the broader circular services and advice offered to The Furniture Recyclng Group’s clients, and what makes mattresses such a challenging product to reuse or remake, including barriers created by our sub-conscious perceptions.
Podcast host Catherine Weetman is a circular economy business advisor, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer. Her award-winning book: A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started. Catherine founded Rethink Global in 2013, to help businesses use circular, sustainable approaches to build a better business (and a better world).
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Read on for a summary of the podcast and links to the people, organisations and other resources we mention.
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Links we mention in the episode:
- A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business – buy from any good bookseller, or direct from the publisher Kogan Page, which ships worldwide (free shipping to UK and US) and you can use discount code CIRCL20 to get 20% off. It’s available in paperback, ebook and Kindle. If you buy it from online sources, make sure you choose the new edition with an orange cover!
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- Nick Oettinger on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-oettinger-a9452912/
- The Furniture Recycling Group https://www.tfrgroup.co.uk/
- TFR Group’s sister company, providing mattress UK from-home collection and recycling https://themattressrecyclingpeople.co.uk/
- Vojtech Vosecky’s LinkedIn post about IKEA’s circular economics for sofas https://www.linkedin.com/posts/vojtechvosecky_circulareconomy-sustainability-innovation-activity-6997816938336776193-Wsvs/
- Dan Dicker of Circular and Co in Episode 36 https://www.rethinkglobal.info/episode-36-dan-dicker-of-circular&co/
- Brandalism recent ‘subvert’ about Toyota, BMW, electric cars, greenwashing https://www.thedrum.com/news/2023/01/16/brandalism-slams-toyota-and-bmw-greenwashing-latest-guerilla-billboard-campaign
About Nick Oettinger
Nick Oettinger has extensive experience in the recycling and waste management industry, which has provided him with the knowledge and experience to lead on and implement circular economy principles in the real world.
He is responsible for leading the vision of TFR Group as the market leader in the industry. His role also includes offering strategic advice and support to clients, providing consultancy to the wider industry, and overseeing its innovative research and development programme to ensure TFR Group continues to improve its efficiencies and processes to grow sustainably.
Nick was recognised by The Global Recycling Foundation as one of the world’s recycling heroes due to his dedication to the circular economy, tackling the UK mattress recycling problem and heading up the firm’s extensive R&D programme.
The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) is a mattress recycling, rejuvenation and collection firm, working with national bed retailers, local authorities, home delivery companies and waste management sites to divert this difficult waste stream from bursting landfill sites. They rejuvenate and recycle up to 11,000 mattresses each week, and are responsible for diverting nearly 9% of all UK mattresses away from landfill.
Research and development is at the heart of TFR Group, pioneering innovative new solutions to problems no one else had even identified, let alone tried to tackle. Mattresses are notoriously a time-intensive and manually arduous task. However, TFR Group is tackling this problem with innovative processes that will significantly reduce the time taken to breakdown all types of mattresses and increase their capacity, ultimately meaning more mattresses can be rejuvenated and/or recycled, rather than ending up in landfill.
Want to find out more about the circular economy?
To go deeper, you could buy Catherine’s book, A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business. This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach, and includes hundreds of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy. Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable.
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Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’. Or, follow them on Twitter.