Love Your Planet
We’ve just started out on our journey to a more sustainable future here at Sleepyhead.
Project Zero was launched in 2019. As part of this initiative, we’re looking to develop and create bedding products that are gentler on the planet. This includes beds designed and made to be recycled, as well as more organic and natural materials used inside our products and even upcycling.
Out of this project comes the Zero bed. It’s the first mattress which has been specifically designed & made to come back to our Sleepyhead factory at the end of its life to be recycled. Zero is an all foam bed that is not only sustainable but conveniently comes in a bag too so it can be bought in store and taken home or you can have it delivered.
The circle of life is complete for a Zero mattress when it’s returned to Sleepyhead to be recycled. We’ll turn it into flooring underlay that we also manufacture. No other New Zealand bedding manufacturer has the ability to do this.
Then there’s upcycling. This is where we create new products that contain or are made of by-products or waste materials.
We had a small group of Kiwis from around the country try out a new EcoLoft pillows that are made of recycled materials.
Donna from New Plymouth loved the pillow but her kids were horrified!
“When I explained to my children that the pillow was made from materials destined for the rubbish dump, they thought the pillow was filled with actual rubbish. I explained otherwise,” she said.
The EcoLoft products which we’re currently developing, are actually made of a fibre created from recycled plastic bottles. If that doesn’t sound particularly comfortable then read on because you’ll change your mind.
Most plastic bottles – including the caps – can be recycled. But it’s not a simple process and there are different quality grades as a result. It’s timely, expensive and no one in New Zealand actually recycles plastic to the fibre quality we demand for our Sleepyhead products.
We use plastic bottles recycled from Indonesia. Countries in Asia have been recycling plastics a lot longer than the rest of the world – they’ve had to as they’ve had nowhere else to put them.
Plastic bottles from the sea and land are put through a process of hot washing – this takes away all the nasty residue, chemicals or anything that is on or been in the plastic.
Next the plastics are then melted and pushed through something similar to a giant shower nozzle that eventually creates a soft fluffy fibre used for everything from clothing through to pillows.
Of course, globally there’s a lot of demand for recycled fibre as more and more companies head down this route. It’s definitely an exciting area that we’re still exploring.
In our Sleepyhead Ecoloft pillow testing survey – half of those who tried the new pillow said it was better than the one they’re currently using and most said they’d definitely keep using the Ecoloft pillow.
“I love it for the fact it’s earth friendly and would defiantly get [recycled materials] for the rest of my bed also, “ said April from Hobsonville.
We’re launching an Ecoloft range of pillows later in 2021 but this year we’re moving into biodegradable packaging for our products.
The plastic packaging is 100% biodegradable using nontoxic additives. It will biodegrade in landfill within three years and leaves no residue at the end of the process.
The packaging will be used on a range of pillows, however our product development team is looking at extending this packaging concept across other Sleepyhead product ranges.
A fully upcycled bed isn’t a reality yet at Sleepyhead but who knows for Project Zero in the future. We are forging ahead with our Ohinewai development.
Currently underway in the Waikato, the 65,000 sq m site will house a state-of-the-art factory where we will manufacture foam & other products to the highest environmental standards.