There are many factors that consumers consider when making a purchase, and one that has become more popular in recent times is eco-friendliness. From organic and plant-based food, lifestyle, clothing, and drinks, we have also seen the demand for an “organic mattress”
While comfort, firmness and support are still the main selling points for those looking to purchase a mattress, more eco-conscious sleepers are also looking for eco-friendly mattresses.
In this article, we look at the many ways we can determine if mattress brands are sustainable in their practise and products, and in turn, will help you lessen your carbon footprint.
One of the first things to look at is if the mattress company uses environment-friendly materials to create their products.
Consumers seeking an eco-friendly mattress would typically start by looking into mattresses that are made of natural materials, such as organic cotton, organic wool, and organic latex.
Natural latex or Dunlop latex materials from rubber trees are now used in modern mattresses as they are known to be more recyclable than other synthetic materials like polyurethane foams.
Apart from mattresses that utilise natural and organic materials, innerspring mattresses and memory foam mattresses can also be considered eco-friendly, depending on whether they avoid certain materials.
Examples of materials used in mattresses that are not eco-friendly are heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic chemicals, Formaldehyde, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) emissions, and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) which are used in fire retardants.
If your mattress contains any of the previously mentioned materials, then it’s very likely to cause a negative environmental impact and it could also be detrimental to your health.
It is the responsibility of mattress companies to indicate a complete list of materials used in the manufacturing process to confirm if the products are environmentally friendly.
We can’t always rely on a mattress company’s claims that they are eco-friendly; after all, it’s in their best interest to say that they are, and the industry isn’t regulated enough to stop them from making these claims.
Instead, you should be more stringent in looking into third-party certifications to verify any claims.
Here are some of the common certifications to look into when purchasing a new mattress.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100
Oeko-Tex-certified products are those that have passed a testing process that ensures that a product is void of harmful substances that may cause negative environmental impact.
One of the most common certifications looked into is an Oeko-Tex 100 standard, which certifies that everything in the product is void of harmful substances and harmless in ecological terms.
Having an OEKO-TEX standard 100 Certification not only ensures that you’re not sleeping on a non-toxic mattress but also assures that your mattress is safe even if you have sensitive skin.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS is one of the leading standards in textile processing. Not only does GOTS look into the eco-friendliness of the materials, but they report on the social responsibility of the manufacturing process. When making an eco-friendly purchase, try to look into GOTS-certified product lines.
As mentioned earlier, the materials used in the manufacturing of a mattress should contain little to no heavy metals, PBDEs in flame retardants, VOCs, toxic chemicals, and other compounds that harm our environment.
Having a CertiPUR-US certification is a vital proof that you are purchasing an eco-friendly mattress that avoids using harmful chemicals in manufacturing.
Mattresses that are GreenGuard Gold certified have passed tests and measurements for volatile organic compounds or VOCs.
Having a GreenGuard certification ensures that the mattress you are using is unlikely to be off-gassing or emitting chemical smells.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
For organic latex mattresses, passing the GOLS certification entails that the latex foam used contains about 95% certified organic materials.
The natural latex is tested for any harmful substances such as VOCs and for any polymer fillers and additives that lessen the purity of the latex foam.
Recyclability and Disposal
In Victoria alone, over 300,000 mattresses are sent to landfills every year. You can just imagine the volume of mattresses that get put there, plus how wasteful it is.
Many mattress companies offer money-back guarantees, which can mean quite a few returned mattresses. Check to see if the company is transparent with what they do with your mattress; some will ensure it is recycled, and some even partner with charities or non-profits so that the mattress is donated to someone in need.
Another option that mattress companies sometimes offer is to collect your old mattress and ensure it is recycled correctly so it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Alternatively, you can also organise this for yourself through your local council.
Durability and Longevity
While recyclability is a factor to consider for an eco-friendly mattress, it’s also essential that your mattress is built to stand the test of time.
The longer your mattress lasts, the longer the time you need to buy a new mattress.
Likewise, replacing your mattress at a lesser frequency ensures that you do not contribute to adding waste more frequently, and you’ll purchase fewer mattresses throughout your lifetime. They may not always be completely biodegradable, but a high-quality mattress can always be repurposed and recycled at the end of its lifespan.
Many mattress companies have at least a 10-year warranty on their products (Ecosa goes up to 15 years!), meaning that their mattresses should last you a very long time.
Generally speaking, the longer you get to use your mattress directly relates to how eco-friendly it is.
To lessen the carbon footprint from shipping your new mattress, it’s best to purchase your mattress locally.
Shipping from a local mattress company is not only more cost-efficient but there is less transport that is involved when shipping a mattress from one country to another.
The way a mattress is packaged can also impact its carbon footprint.
Mattresses in a box or bed in a box are popular options to save on shipping costs and overall lessen cargo space compared to unfolded mattresses.
When looking for an eco-friendly mattress, it’s important that it holds certifications and is made with sustainable materials.
But apart from the materials used in manufacturing, you should also check that the mattress company you are purchasing from has built their business around sustainability and social responsibility.
Mattress companies that commit to eco-friendliness in their products help significantly in ensuring that more environment-friendly materials are sourced and developed, leading to a more sustainable future.
With the endless mattress options available in the market and so many factors to consider, it’s never easy choosing the best mattress..
More than comfort and preferences, choosing an organic, natural mattress goes a long way in lessening solid waste and helps in preserving our planet.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice having a good night’s sleep; check out Ecosa’s Eco-Friendly Memory Foam and Latex Mattresses and sleep well knowing you’re making a positive impact on the environment.