Why You Need to Buy an Eco Friendly Mattress

When it comes to purchasing eco friendly products for your home, mattresses may not be at the top of your list. In reality, the mattresses in your home may not be healthy for you or the environment. Walter Bader, the co-founder of Organic Mattresses Inc., says that “mattresses are like cigarettes in the 1930s.” They are “completely unregulated and everyone thinks they are safe.” This is a bold claim, but there is also truth to it. A regular mattress is generally not eco friendly, but an eco-friendly mattress comes with multiple other benefits. Here is what you need to know about you eco friendly mattress options.

Regular Beds Are Not Eco Friendly

There are multiple reasons why your regular mattress is not good for the environment. The main reason is that they use a variety of chemicals and synthetic materials. For example, when the war laid claim on latex, companies created synthetic latex from petroleum. While the material is comfortable, it uses non-renewable resources in the process. The process also releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and in the water. The chemicals that stay in your mattress can also leech into your home and cause a variety of mild to severe health problems.

Because traditional mattresses contain synthetic materials, they are not biodegradable or recyclable. The mattress’s transportation will also have a negative impact on the environment. Depending on where the company manufactures the mattress, it can require a ton of fossil fuels to get it to your local store. If you stick to products made in your country, you can limit the impact of their transportation.

Eco Friendly Mattress Options

In a nutshell, an eco friendly mattress addresses each of the problems we discussed in the previous section. However, there is not a standard definition for eco friendly, and there are not any regulations for eco friendly mattresses. This means that each company that makes these claims can be on a large spectrum of environmental friendliness. It is important to do your research and especially pay attention to the materials they use. Generally, an eco friendly mattress company will make their product be VOC-free, contain natural and renewable materials, and minimize their transportation impact. They will also create a durable product that will last, which then cuts down on waste.

There are three kinds of mattresses that you can find that are environmentally friendly: natural latex, green memory foam, and innerspring mattresses. Each come with their own benefits, so we will go over each one for you. This way, you can decide which eco friendly mattress is the best fit for you.

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Natural Latex

Natural latex mattresses contain the sap from rubber trees. This latex requires minimal processing and the manufacturing process has a small impact. This is even better if the rubber tree growers use environmentally friendly harvesting processes. They can harvest the sap from the trees for 25 years while they continue to grow and thrive. While they harvest from the older trees, they allow younger rubber trees to grow and mature. Once the trees grow too old, they become lumber and the younger trees take their place. If the company creating natural latex mattresses does not add any toxic chemicals, the material is healthy for both you and the environment. It is even biodegradable, so you do not have to worry about your mattress hanging around for hundreds of years.

You will easily spend over 1,000 dollars on a mattress like this, but the quality is well worth it. Be sure that the mattress also has an eco friendly fabric cover as well. This will keep it as environmentally friendly as possible. If the company ships the mattresses in a compacted state, this will also lower their transportation impact.

Green Memory Foam

Ordinary memory foam is not healthy for you or the environment because it contains a slew of toxic chemicals. However, you can buy mattresses that contain a natural memory foam material. Companies create the memory foam with plant-based materials, which replace a large number of petroleum-based materials other companies use. They are not entirely eco friendly, but they do more good for the environment than other mattresses. This material typically lasts a long time too, and most people like not having to buy mattresses frequently. This is also a great option for people who do not like the feel of a latex mattress.

Green memory foam mattresses are more affordable than natural latex ones, so you can easily find one for under 1,000 dollars. You can also compress these mattresses, so it can reduce the companies transportation impact if they transport them efficiently.

Innerspring

The last and probably least eco friendly of all the eco friendly mattress options available is the innerspring mattress. These are the mattresses that contain coiled springs surrounded by foam. Eco friendly innerspring mattresses will use natural latex or memory foam around the springs and replace other toxic chemicals with natural ones. These mattresses are not completely biodegradable due to the metal inside the mattress. The metal also prevents the company from compressing the mattresses during shipment, so they cannot reduce their impact in that sense. Another downside to these mattresses is that they can be difficult to find and quite expensive.

Eco Friendly Mattress Fabrics

We have talked about the materials inside the mattress, but we have not discussed the mattress cover at all. Depending on the material companies use, it can make their eco friendly mattress less safe for the environment. There are three main fabrics that are both eco-friendly and sustainable that they can have: cotton, bamboo, and wool.

  • Cotton: If you choose a mattress with cotton, you will want to make sure it is organic cotton. The cotton industry uses more synthetic pesticides and fertilizers than any other crop, and you do not want those chemicals in your mattress. Organic cotton is also breathable and hypoallergenic, which is always a plus.
  • Bamboo: One again, if you want bamboo, you will need to look at the process it has gone through. Bamboo rayon is not very environmentally friendly, but many of the other bamboo fabrics are. Bamboo grows extremely fast, so this is one of the most sustainable resources you can use for fabrics.
  • Wool: This fabric would not be a good choice for vegans, but it is another great option for others. Wool comes from living sheep that continue to grow the resource. It can help hold in heat and wick away moisture, which is always nice when sleeping. Companies can also use wool as a flame retardant if they choose to. 

Avoid Greenwashing

As stated previously, it is important to do your research when looking for an eco friendly mattress. So many companies will slap labels on their products that say “natural” or “eco friendly.” In reality, there are not any existing regulations to control how environmentally friendly mattresses are. Companies know that these words sell, so they will add it to products that contain a small portion of natural materials. They can advertise a mattress as natural when it is actually only 10 percent more natural than a traditional mattress. In order to find out how eco friendly each mattress is, you should be able to see all of the materials they use. It is even better if they state where they sourced each of the materials.

Conclusion

Though you may not have previously thought about it, traditional mattresses are not environmentally friendly. You cannot recycle them and they are not biodegradable either. On top of all of that, they can also leech harmful chemicals into your home. Each eco friendly mattress company will strive to use all or mostly natural materials without toxic chemicals. They will also strive to reduce their manufacturing and transportation emissions. There are a few different options available, so you will need to figure out which works best for you.

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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