As the trend towards more eco-friendly homes continues, one thing people often want to know is what the best mattress for a green home is. There are a number of options in the market for mattresses, but few will actually meet most people’s ideas of “green”. This guide will go over the most eco-friendly types of mattress on the market, and explain why traditional beds are not the best mattress options for environmentally conscious consumers.
What Does Green Mean?
First, we should look at what green actually means. The term receives broad usage today, plastered on everything from cars to house cleaners. In essence, a green product is one that does as little environmental harm as possible and/or improves on an existing method of production. This includes using sustainable and renewable materials over non-renewable, limiting pollution and reducing one’s carbon footprint. For many people, green also involves the use of natural substances and fabrics over chemicals and synthetics. In this comparison, we will thus look at: materials, manufacturing, transportation, and environmental impact.
Mattress Type Comparison
|Innerspring Beds||Natural Latex||Plant-Based Memory Foam||Traditional Memory Foam||Organic Vinyl Waterbeds|
The above chart compares leading types of mattresses on key “green” dimensions. Material safety refers to any known hazards associated with materials commonly used in the mattresses, while material sustainability looks at whether or not the resources are renewable. VOC off-gassing looks at the potential of the beds to off gas potentially toxic substances. The manufacturing grade assess chemicals and byproducts produced by the beds’ manufacture, while transportation refers to the space and fuel required to ship the beds. Longevity refers to how long one can expect the mattress to last, and then the recyclable factor looks at the ease at which the mattress can be re-purposed. Beds were graded on an A-F scale with the best mattress receiving an A.
Best Mattresses For Green Homes
With the world taking notice of how much our choices affect the earth, manufacturers are responding. There are actually a number of options when looking for the best mattress for the environment. Here is a group of bedding options that are both better for the environment and your health
Natural latex is a terrific option for green-minded consumers, and probably the best mattress when it comes to eco-friendliness. Many mattresses on the market are created with complex chemical makeups which produce odors that can create allergic reactions, migraines, and difficulty sleeping. “Natural” is the operative term here. Natural latex does not consist of various chemicals thus the issues that chemicals pose for people and the earth are irrelevant. 100% natural latex is best mattress if you want to green, as synthetic and blended beds can contain other additives. The way natural latex is harvested is also eco-friendly, as most major producers have switched to sustainable harvesting, which taps the latex liquid from trees while they continue living and cleaning the air. This type of mattress is also one of the best when it comes to longevity, as they have been known to last 15 to 30 years. Afterwards, latex foam can be recycled and will also eventually biodegrade unlike synthetic foams and metals.
Our favorite “green” option so far is the natural, organic latex mattress collection from Astrabeds.com. They offer four models that all contain only certified organic natural latex and certified organic cotton covers. The beds are devoid of toxic chemicals and glues, and Eco-Institute tested for VOCs. Wool is used in the cover as the fire barrier, and the retailer offers a 90 night trial and 25 year warranty, with prices starting at $1299. Astrabeds also employs a greener shipping method, compressing the beds to help conserve fuel.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
Memory foam is well known by consumers as being one of the best mattress choices for pressure relief and back support. However, people are also aware that memory foam is generally created with various chemicals that give the material these unique effects. This puts consumers in the position of having to choose between a supportive mattress and their overall health or desire to be green. With plant-based memory foam you can have both. A newer option, plant-based memory foam is green because improves on the original by replacing a proportion of the petroleum-based products with plant-derived products. Many manufacturers also eschew toxic additives and some manufacturer their beds in zero-emissions plants. They can also be compressed to ship, which cuts down on fuel usage and pollution. Plant-based memory foam provides sleepers with the comfort of memory foam without the chemical odor or side effects.
Organic Vinyl Waterbeds
Waterbeds have been popular with many people for years, and recently seem to be experiencing a Renaissance of sorts. However, traditional vinyl waterbeds are made with a wide range of materials that take a high number of energy and resources to create. Organic vinyl waterbeds are another terrific choice when it comes to choosing the best mattress for a green home. The great thing about this type of bed is that the materials used are naturally derived which allows sleepers to enjoy the comforts that waterbeds provide without having to compromise their commitment to staying green. This means that no harmful materials are used in the creation of the vinyl, resulting in cleaner manufacturing and healthier sleep. This largely helps people who may have allergic reactions or those that are just trying to be more conscious about their impact on the environment. When properly maintained, waterbeds can offer an excellent solution for allergy sufferers as well, since there’s nowhere for mites and dander to hide. Traditional waterbeds can also avoid many of the flame-retardant issues other mattresses face, but tend to be less durable and recyclable then other mattresses.
Why Other Beds Are Not The Best Mattress Options
Now that you are more aware of the best mattress types for going green, it is important to know what types of beds people concerned with their health and the environment should avoid. Traditional memory foam/polyurethane foam and synthetic latex beds are not good options simply because of how many chemicals are used in their manufacturing. These beds are usually made with petroleum-based chemicals, various additives, chemical flame retardants and other harmful substances causing some of the worst pollution emissions into our environment. Not to mention, these types of beds are particularly harmful to people who are prone to allergic reactions as a result of chemical sensitivities.
Innerspring mattresses pose environmental challenges as well. Most are made with synthetic fabrics, metal and petro-based foam and stuffing – all which derive from non-renewable resources. They also contain glues, chemical treatments (preservatives, fire retardants, stain repellants), and other VOCs that wreak havoc on air quality in your home. Plus, one also must consider their impact on landfills around the world. Recycling plants are becoming more common. but that doesn’t stop hundreds and hundreds of beds from filling landfills every year. While some manufacturers are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact, many of the traditional innerspring bed manufacturers are still using considerable non-renewable natural resources and could not be considered green.
For consumers, it may seem impossible to find a mattress that is eco-friendly at first glance, but actually there are several options, especially if you look online. You should do your homework and really investigate what retailers are using to create their mattresses and even what the conditions of their manufacturing site are. Keep in mind beds manufactured in the US are held to much higher standards when it comes to pollution, product quality and worker safety. Consumers should be aware that they do not have to sacrifice their comfort to be green or vice versa. This will ensure get the best mattress for your green home.