Recycled Polyurethane: It’s Under Your Feet & in Your Home
You may be surprised to find that polyurethane can be recycled and given a new life in any number of ways. In fact, you probably encounter recycled polyurethane in your daily life without ever realizing it’s there.
For evidence, just check under your feet – literally. Carpet underlay, the mat that goes underneath carpets in homes and offices, is almost always made from rebonded polyurethane.
Rebonded polyurethane, called “rebond,” is a molded polyurethane recycled product made from pieces of shredded flexible polyurethane foam held together using what is known as a binder.
According to the Carpet Cushion Council, more than 1 billion pounds of polyurethane foam have been recycled into rebond. That translates to 600 million square feet of rebond – enough to cover 11,000 fotball fields.
Recycling now provides a market for almost all post-industrual scrap created during foam production and finished product fabrication in the United States – sometimes with demand outstripping supply.
Multiple Uses for Rebond
Though most prevalent as carpet underlay, rebond has several other applications. The auto industry uses it for vibration and sound dampening in a vehicle. It is also common at the gym, where rebond is often used as a standard filler for sports mats used in athletic endeavors like wrestling, gymnastics and yoga. It can even be found in mattresses and couch cushions.
Despite its widespread usage, not all rebond is exactly the same. Manufacturers create variations of it for use in specific applications. They can control the density, softness and give of rebond by varying the size of the pieces of recycled polyurethane foam, the density of the binder and the ratio of binder to foam.