Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org
What You Need to Know About Green Mattresses
It's easier now than ever before to choose a green mattress. The market is full of options for green mattresses, many of them online. As environmentally responsible innovation has grown, many mattress companies have introduced more sustainable materials and manufacturing practices that make it easier to sleep on a bed that's good not just for you, but the environment as well.
Green mattresses use natural and organic materials in the cover, comfort layers, and support core. Typically, natural or organic materials used in mattresses include natural latex, plant-based foam, organic cotton or wool, or fire socks made from cotton, thistle, wool, or Kevlar.
When shopping for a green mattress, look for standards including:
- No chemical flame retardants (fire socks are an eco-friendly alternative)
- Renewable resource materials, including natural latex, cotton, plant-based foam, and wool
- Recycled materials, such as recycled fibers
- Organic materials
- Sustainable manufacturing practices, such as minimal water usage
- Sustainable shipping practices, such as compact delivery boxes
- Green mattress certifications
Green Mattress Certifications
Not all green claims are equal, and some mattress companies may exaggerate the eco-friendliness of their products. Although it's not possible to have a 100 percent natural or organic mattress, green mattresses typically have a 60 to 95 percent natural and organic content. But with green mattress certifications, you can verify some of the health and environmental claims made by mattress manufacturers.
Green mattress certifications include:
- Global Organic Textile Standard: Minimum 70 percent organic materials
- Global Organic Latex Standard: Minimum 95 percent organic latex
- GreenGuard: VOC emissions in finished mattresses
- USDA Organic: Organic raw materials such as rubber trees (latex) and cotton
- OEKO-TEX Made in Green: Sustainable manufacturing processes
- Cradle to Cradle: Multiple sustainable criteria
- Global Recycled Standard: Environmentally healthy and sustainable manufacturing practices
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100: Emission limits
- CertiPUR-US: Polyfoam emission limits
- Eco-Institut: Latex emission limits and chemical substances
Responsibly Disposing of Your Old Mattress
More than 50,000 mattresses end up in landfills each day, according to the Mattress Recycling Council. But up to 80 percent of each is made up of components that can be recycled, so it's never a responsible choice to simply throw away your old mattress. If you have an old one you no longer have a use for, there are options.
Donate Your Old Mattress
Used mattresses that are still in good condition can be donated. Consider passing your old bed on to a friend or family member, or listing it online. Contact local charities to find out if they accept used mattresses. Of course, make sure you call ahead and be sure that your old mattress is clean and in good working order.