Challenge Greiner

Greiner AG

Nothing else mattress!

How might we transform the mattress-industry towards a circular business model, so we can avoid mattresses ending up in landfills by 2025?

Each year, 30 million of mattresses end up being disposed in Europe; 40 % are incriminated; 60 % end up in landfills, polluting the planet with hazardous waste (e.g. flame retardant chemicals) which is hardly degradable. Beyond that there are some aspects related to the duration on how long mattresses should be used in order to provide the most health benefits during sleep. A mattress should be used approximately over the course of approximately 5 – 7 years. This number is regularly exceeded resulting in less comfort, hygiene issues and even to negative health conditions (e.g. backpain). We think that some of these challenges might be addressed by a circular business model.

As of today, there are some vendors (B2C) who allow customers to purchase mattresses online, which provide a convenient way for consumer to buy mattresses. Additionally, a few companies already provide “circular” mattresses at a comparatively high price point, which makes it financially out of reach for the majority of customers.

From a recycling point of view, technologies are at hand to recycle (petrol based) foam and other materials. The challenge in connection with mattresses is the potential contamination of the materials based on an extended lifespan of this product.


Regarding the previously made statements, the foundation and elements to create a circular business model in this sphere are available. The big challenge is to connect the dots and make use of the existing technological foundation and to further develop technologies as well as the business model logic to create a feasible business.

  • From an environmental standpoint, more mattresses end up in landfills, and hence the pollution of our planet continues.
  • Potentially, legislative pressure forces companies in this business (e.g. producers, suppliers, sellers) to transform current linear business models towards a circular business model.
  • We might lose market shares in the long run as other companies might engage in circular business models.
  • The objectives of the “BluePlan” ( might not be achieved.
  • Future EU-regulatory might not be met.

The collaboration should lead to a plan for a circular business model which is feasible to be implemented:

  • To have a circular business model operational at an early stage (lean-start-up-approaches might help).
  • A strategy on how to incentivize consumers to engage in the circular business model.
  • To have a product that qualifies for different “green labels”.
  • To have a circular platform that includes all the relevant stakeholders which are on-board and support the endeavor.
  • A certain number of mattresses might be sold to potential customers. At least the potential to ship a product comparatively quickly might help. 
  • Based on eco-design as well as design for recycling, the number of materials used might be reduced.

In terms of Output:

  • Different recycling streams (good/bad/etc.)
  • Alternative (high-quality products) products based on recycled materials
  • Start-up (new venture) is created

In terms of Outcome:

  • New business model can be implemented.
  • The foundation for a circular mattress is available (technology & business).
  • Mattresses designed for recycling and as a foundation for circular business models from a technological point of view.
  • Circular business models and value propositions.
  • Solutions to collect mattresses from consumers and engage with consumers. To make sure consumers engage with the value proposition.
  • Solutions that provide high involvement by customers/users.
  • Production capacity regarding foam-based mattresses.
  • Global market access (B2B) to existing markets that are served by Greiner.
  • Financial and methodological support by Innoventures – Greiner’s incubator.
  • Marketing and sales know-how concerning traditional business models.
  • Network to current stakeholders in the industry.
  • Expertise from Greiner staff.

Internal Stakeholders: 

The goal is to re-think the existing landscape of stakeholders in the context of this project. It might be the case that a circular business model substantially varies in the relevant stakeholders from a current linear system.

  • Key contact and pilot lead done by Innoventures / Greiner Technology & Innovation GmbH
  • Further access to internal resources might be established:
    • R&D department
    • Sustainability dep
    • Production facilities
    • Marketing and communication
    • Logistic
    • Sales
    • Purchasing
    • Business development

Internal stakeholders are engaged based on:

  • Cross divisional working groups
  • C-level support

External Stakeholders:

The goal is to re-think the existing landscape of stakeholders in the context of this project. It might be the case that a circular business model substantially varies in the relevant stakeholders from a current linear system.

  • Recycler
  • Logistics
  • Raw material suppliers
  • Certification authorities
  • B2B Customers (furniture stores, etc.)
  • Consumers (B2C)
  • Politics and legislation
  • Public Funding


Greiner AG

Greiner Logo

Greiner, which is headquartered in Kremsmünster, Austria, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of plastics and foam solutions. Under the Greiner AG umbrella four operative divisions, consisting of Greiner Packaging, Greiner Bio-One, Greiner Foam and Greiner Extrusion, are active in a diversity of areas.



Do you want to guide the change? Are you an expert in a sustainability or business field and keen to share your wisdom with our teams? Apply until the 15th of April!


Do you have a sustainability challenge? Do you want to collaborate for a collective future? Are you interested in designing solutions that could benefit your business- and society at larger scale?
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