Madeena Bedding Industries (M) Sdn Bhd seeks to create awareness about the usage of rebond foam in the mattress manufacturing industry
Investing in high-quality mattresses will help people improve their sleep quality, especially at night. Aside from brands and prices, the most crucial element people must consider when purchasing mattresses is their materials. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that some materials commonly used by mattress manufacturers in Malaysia can harm consumers.
“Most mattress manufacturers in Malaysia use rebond foam in their mattresses. Sometimes they do not use the term ‘rebond’, but more fancy big words such as eco-foam, green foam, reinvented foam and even re-engineered foam,” said Dato’ Ibrahim M. Ishtiaq, Managing Director of Madeena Bedding Industries (M) Sdn Bhd.
“They call them ‘green’ foam since the materials are recycled. However, these foams are made from old recycled mattresses or other syubhah (doubtful) materials, of which we are not sure of their origin.”
Ibrahim has been in the retail industry for 18 years. He started his furniture shop business in 2010 before being the first person to introduce the concept of a mattress shop in 2011.
“I adopted this idea of a mattress shop because I could see that the market was changing, and people wanted to buy products from a speciality store. We could observe that the demand for good mattresses increased. I built my portfolio there, and industry people started to know me.”
Green foam or industrial scrap?
Ibrahim found out about the usage of rebond foam in Malaysia’s mattress manufacturing industry in 2017. It was when he was appointed as an executive director at one of Malaysia’s most significant mattress manufacturers.
“The manufacturer’s appointed me and tasked me to bring one brand from Italy. From there, I got to visit the factory and write about them. When I saw where they put the rebond processing machine, it was at the back of the factory.
“The place was a hidden area. No one ever went there. Since I had to do the write-up about the whole factory, I requested to see it.
“When I asked them about the foam, they said it was industrial scrap. We thought it was from the excess of the old mattresses. But no, almost 75 per cent of them are scrap from China and South Korea. They were imported rubbish – the old mattresses that cannot be disposed of, as we cannot easily burn foam because they will release chlorofluorocarbon (CFC).”
Ibrahim explained that European and other developed countries commonly used rebond foam for wall and floor insulation. However, there are no such guidelines on its usage in Malaysia, leading to a big loophole. People take the opportunity to use it in mattress manufacturing as the scrap is free, entering Malaysia as recycled materials.
No compromise on quality and cleanliness
Touching on the process of creating rebond foam, he emphasised that there was no toyyiban element.
“Your old mattresses, without undergoing other processes, got into the machine and blended, glued, compressed, and sold. No aspect of cleanliness. Foams, in general, cannot be washed.”
Ibrahim said when he started the movement to make people aware of the harmfulness of rebond foam, he received a lot of setbacks. Some people even complained to the authorities that he tried to spread baseless stories.
“We Muslims should know what we use is halal or haram. Especially me, I knew about what happened behind closed doors. If I continue to sell it, I will be held accountable.”
Creating awareness of mattresses
He revealed that another prominent brand approached him to start producing for them. However, he declined the offer as they requested him to use rebond foam in manufacturing.
“Another brand approached and suggested that we compromise. I refused, and they said the factory wouldn’t be making money. But for me, it’s not entirely just about money and profit. The main agenda is to create awareness and promote clean and better mattresses without using syubhah material.
“My margin is low, but we’re looking at the long term. We can be the pioneer in the industry that does not use this material. And, Insya-Allah, the pioneer who successfully bans this material from being used in this industry.”
Collaboration with Dunlopillo for Muslim-friendly mattresses
Ibrahim shared that Madeena Bedding Industries was approached by Dunlopillo in March 2022 to collaborate and introduce the first Muslim-friendly mattress – Orthorest Klasik, Amira Series.
“We choose Dunlopillo as our marketing partner because they do not use rebond foam in their mattresses. They match the criteria we seek in a partner. When we approached them to launch the Orthorest Klasik, they were pleased,” Ibrahim said, adding that Madeena Bedding Industries also produces for Dunlopillo’s export markets.