Minister Leonore Gewessler (left) with Verena Judmayer and Anelia Dermendzhieva (right) from Circularful GmbH. Copyright by Pepo Schuster,

MATR: Mattresses out of bed and back into circulation

The Viennese start-up MATR offers a digital and environmentally friendly mattress management solution for hotels. The multi-award-winning company is designed according to the principles of the circular economy and stands for a sustainable sleeping experience.

When start-ups were still called young companies, the very first call for entries was published in the April 1990 issue of the business magazine GEWINN. For some time now, the "Ministry for Climate Protection" has been organising the special category "Energy & Environment" as part of this competition for young entrepreneurs. This year's winner is Circularful GmbH with its recyclable mattress.

From idea to start-up

Circularful GmbH was founded in 2022 by Verena Judmayer and Michaela Stephen, two impact-oriented entrepreneurs who are committed to preventing waste in the mattress industry. It all started when they came across the alarming statistic that 30 million mattresses end up as waste in Europe every year. In Austria, the figure is still between 1.2 and 1.4 million. With their brand "MATR", Verena Judmayer and Michaela Stephen have developed the world's first circular economy mattress. The material that makes MATR mattresses circular is polyester. Unlike foam, polyester is actually fully recyclable. Natural materials such as latex, horsehair or straw are not alternatives either. This was a big 'aha' moment for the two ladies. In fact, there is no working process for recycling or composting natural materials.

Compared to conventional foam mattresses, which make up 70 per cent of all mattresses, a MATR mattress produces 50 per cent less CO2 emissions, according to a life cycle analysis carried out by Circularful GmbH at a university in the Netherlands.

But design is also a key factor in a product's recyclability. The fewer materials and the easier they are to separate, the better. This is why only two materials are used - steel spring cores, which can be melted down, and polyester in various forms. These are the materials used to make new mattresses. The mattresses are produced and recycled in the Netherlands. In the future, the recycling process will be carried out with local partners. However, the mattresses should also have a longer lifespan through the maintenance and replacement of various components. A digital product passport provides information about the components of the mattress. The digital mattress rental solution will also be used to coordinate delivery, installation and collection.


The team rents out recyclable mattresses that hotels can 'rent' for a monthly fee. As the MATR mattress lasts longer due to the higher quality materials and does not need to be replaced during the year, Circularful GmbH has also calculated that a hotel will save an average of 18 working days and 350 euros over the mattress's lifetime. This includes the fact that Circularful GmbH takes care of recycling the mattress. The pioneering customer was „Ecolabel" Hotel Altstadt in Vienna, and the reference list also includes the Topazz Lamee in Vienna and the Sportlers Lodge in Sölden. By the end of the year, the team will have grown to five and the mattress solution, which has only been on the market since this year, will be generating a six-figure turnover. And who knows, maybe one day the award-winning MATR mattresses will also be available to private customers. Judmayer: "We don't yet have a sensible solution for covering the end of the cycle in the private sector, but that would of course be an exciting market. After all, more than 80 per cent of beds are in the private sector.