Has the return-if-not-satisfied business model contributed to ever increasing mattress wastage?

It first started its trend in the USA and is quickly establishing its popularity here in the UK too.

Such a business model has now extended to such an extent that many customers are simply returning mattresses within the stated return period and therefore boosting the already huge 8 million mattresses disposed in the UK annually.

Previously it was typical consumers would change a mattress every 8 to 10 years. But with the innovation of roll-down technology where mattresses can simply be packaged into small, shippable boxes there are now at least 175 companies that will deliver roll-down mattresses to your home; one of the foremost being the US firm Casper, which has been valued at nearly one billion pounds in 2019.

Typically, these companies provide a 100-day comfort guarantee allowing consumers to be able to return their mattresses for a complete refund if for whatever reason they are not satisfied. A few, such as Nectar, even provide a 365-day guarantee.

This can without doubt lead to a worryingly number of consumers technically hopping between these providers for high-quality mattresses at no cost. A meticulous consumer can potentially take advantage of all the offers available and would be able to sleep on a free mattress for eight years. The worrying trend is that the flexible return polices are only encouriaging more retailers to remain competitive by matching rivals’ returns policies. With a worryingly high return rate, an influx in mattresses being disposed is inevitable.

A typical mattress retailer would try to achieve a return rate of less than 5%, however research carried by the NBF has demonstrated how some retailers have a much worrying 20% return or even more.

With such business models expanding, the urgency for mattress recycling is imperative in order to balance the portion of mattresses being disposed to landfill opposed to those being recycled.

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