Of all the decisions made to live a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle, bedding isn’t usually the first thing people think about. But here’s why it should be toward the top of the list.
What you sleep in — and on — matters. We spend a third of our lives in bed so we should probably be more careful about what is in them. And the harsh reality is that beds and bedding can be hotbeds for chemicals that pose risks to our health and to the planet.
Is sustainable bedding better?
Most of the mattresses on the market are made with toxic chemicals in order to make them flame retardant, and mold- and bacteria-resistant. This is because they use petroleum-based materials that need these protectors against them. So, really they are just putting a problem on top of a problem.
We spend a third of our lives on our mattresses, and these chemicals can cause all sorts of issues such as headaches, nausea, and even long-lasting internal issues.
“Most mattresses on the market are full of chemicals that can pollute your bedroom air and harm your body,” warns the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “This includes polyurethane foam that can emit volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory irritation or other health problems; flame retardant chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption and adverse effects on the immune system; and PVC or vinyl covers that can damage developing reproductive systems.”
It recommends looking for Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS, certification. “To receive GOTS certification, the mattress cannot be made of polyurethane foam or contain a number of hazardous chemicals. Look for the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS certification for organic latex.”
Latex can be a more affordable option, and it’s made from a renewable material from rubber tree sap, and unlike polyurethane, latex is less likely to emit high levels of VOCs, EWG says. “It is also highly resistant to mold and dust mites, and is more durable than petroleum-based foam.”
The mattress you sleep on matters in so many ways. From being supportive to our physical needs to cultivating a most restful sleep to not secretly harboring toxic chemicals. A growing number of bedding and mattress producers are making luxe sustainable options that are healthy and sustainable.
Dedicated to using zero animal products in any of their designs (wool is common in mattresses), Essentia’s core values are to truly create a healthier alternative for sleeping using organic cotton, natural plant extracts, essential oils and rubber tree materials.
Made with comfort in mind, Saatva mattresses address back and shoulder pain, bring hip relief, and allow for better airflow for a cooler sleep. Organic cotton reduces chemical exposure and is especially recommended for side or belly sleepers who are closer to the materials than back sleepers.
3. Molecule Mattresses
Loved by Olympian Michael Phelps among other athletes, Molecule‘s mattresses are different because they’ve been designed by sleep doctors and scientists with the goal to maximize comfort and support. This, delivers “the most restorative sleep possible.” says Dr. Allison Brager, neuroscientist and sleep specialist says. The sustainable products are also specifically designed to maximize airflow and facilitate cooling.
Bedding is just as important as the mattress — possibly even more so as it makes direct contact with our skin. From organic cotton to bamboo and other natural materials, there are some deliciously luxe bedding options that are much better for your health without harming the planet.
This brand is dedicated to offering the best in organic home goods ranging from bedding to bath and even kitchen items. Coyuchi also offers subscription options that allow consumers to essentially “rent” the items on a monthly payment plan. Once you are in need of new items you send them back and they are upcycled or recycled!
5. Boll and Branch
This company started with a dedication to making the best organic cotton sheets. It partners with artisans in India to create high-quality pieces that are good for people and the environment. Look for the organic cotton down-alternative comforter. (Read about the issues with down here.)
The first thing you need to know bout bamboo is not all bamboo bedding is made the same — or sustainably. But Ettitude uses a non-toxic solvent that produces a non-hazardous effluent. The textile is created using a closed-loop system that recycles 98 percent of all the water used during processing. The result is a dreamy material that will make you feel like you’re really in the soft fluffy clouds of your dreams.
Parachute is committed to responsible materials. It’s working to improve the sustainability of its supply chain by sourcing sustainable cotton that’s free from harmful pesticides, chemicals, and residues, as verified through GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). It’s also working with OEKO-TEX certification to verify its core products are all free from high levels of the top 100 most harmful textile substances. Try the linen bedding set if you really want to fall in love.
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