Viasit recycles discarded PU foam
Polyurethane or PU foam is an important raw material in our production. Polyurethane foam is created when the two substances isocyanate and polyol react with each other. Water is added in the process to influence the softness of the product. PU foam is used as upholstery in our seats, backs and headrests to ensure comfortable sitting. The quantities involved are considerable and on average, we use about two kilos of PU per chair.
When a chair reached the end of its life cycle and was recycled, PU foam had to be thermally utilized (incinerated), unlike steel and aluminium, as it could not be recycled which is not sustainable. More environmentally friendly materials to replace PU are being tested in the market, but so far none of them deliver the same comfort properties with the same economic efficiency.
Our Green Factory philosophy does not accept this as Viasit has set itself the goal of being CO2-neutral by 2027 and closing recycling loops wherever possible.
The solution: Viasit now recycles old foam. This produces high-quality polyol that can be used again as a raw material for the production of insulating materials and has the same product properties as original polyol, which has to be produced from crude oil with a high energy input. The logistics process also fulfils sustainability criteria as the foam is collected in lattice boxes from our factory in Neunkirchen, which were previously used as transport containers for delivered components. The supplier's lorry, which already delivers to the Viasit plant almost every day, takes the filled boxes back and recycles them on its way back.
Through this process, Viasit ensures more sustainability on several levels: less waste is produced, less energy and raw materials are used, logistics routes are saved, and we come closer to a closed recycling loop. In this way, we can further reduce our CO2 footprint, always keeping in mind the big goal of CO2 neutrality to which we have committed ourselves for 2027.