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Europe’s bedding industry met in Budapest

2013-09-17

During the past week the 14th General Assembly of the European bedding industries association (EBIA) was held in Budapest. Hilding Anders is a board member of the association that represents manufacturers and suppliers of the European bedding industry and participated in the venue.

Strategies for difficult times

The Budapest meeting focused on finding successful strategies in difficult times. EBIA President Frank Verschuere commented that: “In a world where we have more freedom and have 24 hours per day mobile access to the global market, it is simply unwise to act according to yesterday’s recipes. The reality of today is moving to a more creative society, whereby product development and innovation is no longer the privilege nor the exclusive domain for the company or the brand, but where consumers become truly co-creative.” 85 participants shared intensive discussions about the future challenges and opportunities for the European bedding industry.

End of Life mattress recycling

One topic that European legislators will discuss more intensively in the coming years is the question what will happen to mattresses at their end of life (EoL). Ward Dupont (Empa Consult) presented his EBIA report on the End of Life mattress recycling that up to 30 million mattresses reach their EoL in the EU, equaling to a volume of 450 Ktons. Today approximately 60% of mattresses are landfilled and 40% are incinerated. European legislators have started to develop different scenarios on how to increase the recycling ratios in the EU member states.

In May 2013, France started the Eco-mobilier-collection, organized by 24 retail and manufacturing companies. The aim of Eco-mobilier is “to organize the collection of mattresses, decrease the percentage that are sent to landfill and to stimulate the eco-design of new products” as Cécile des Abbayes, Managing Director for Eco-mobilier, stated in her speech at the EBIA Budapest meeting. Food for thoughts for the EBIA convention that needs solid answers from the industry in the coming years.

Kathleen McGrath winner of EBIA award 2013

Finally, Budapest saw the announcement of the winner for this year’s EBIA award, British nurse Kathleen McGrath. In 1986 she founded the Medical Advisory Service (MAS) who has provided an insomnia helpline for UK citizens for more than 20 years. Kathleen also works as a media advisor in questions related to sleep and insomnia. In 2009, she published the information leaflet “Good-Night Guide for Children”, and participated in the development of the interactive web site http://www.perfectsleepenvironment.org.uk/

All in all, Budapest was a success for the organization of EBIA and shows that, despite all differences and competition, there is a common ground that needs to be dealt with by the industry as such even in the coming years.

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