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The term “organic mattress” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s only accurate some of the time. Unfortunately, green-washing is all too common in the mattress industry. Brands will advertise “eco-friendly” and “natural” mattress materials that are mostly chemical-based, or tout “sustainable manufacturing practices” without going into detail about how the beds are actually made. These misleading tactics can make finding a truly organic mattress pretty difficult.
Here’s our rule of thumb: to qualify as an organic mattress, the bed should contain organic and/ or natural materials with reputable certifications. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) are considered the leading certifications for organic components. Additional certifications recognize non-organic materials that are nonetheless natural, eco-friendly, and sustainable. Others indicate the material has been inspected for and does not contain harmful substances. There are dozens of certifications for bedding products, some more legitimate than others.
Now for the good news. Mattresses that actually contain organic and eco-friendly materials are widely available, and they offer you a lot of benefits as a sleeper. Natural components tend to be a lot more durable than blends and synthetics, so you’ll enjoy a longer mattress lifespan without wear-related support issues. Certain materials come with additional perks. Take organic and natural latex. This material is not only durable, but also incredibly breathable compared to mattress foam. Another example is wool used in mattress covers, which has natural cooling and moisture-wicking properties.
The bottom line: if you’re in the market for an organic mattress, be sure to research different brands to learn about the certifications – if any – their materials have received. Just because the brand calls a mattress organic or natural does not mean it contains green materials.
Below, you can check out our best organic mattress 2021 picks. These selections are based on ratings and reviews from verified mattress owners, as well as our own product testing. Further down, we’ll dive into different environmental certifications for mattresses, and how you can make sure you’re buying an eco-friendly bed.
SleepFoundation readers get $200 off a Birch Mattress.
The Birch is a latex hybrid. In addition to a Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainable forestry and agricultural practices, the latex has earned the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification to ensure no harmful chemicals are used in the mattress, as well as the eco-INSTITUT certification for healthy emission levels during production. Additionally, the mattress is GreenGuard Gold certified to indicate the Birch has low off-gassing emissions.
The mattress is built with comfort layers of Wool Integrity NZ-certified wool and ventilated natural latex over a support core of pocketed coils. With a medium firm feel, the Birch offers a balance of body-contouring from the latex and responsiveness from the coils. Side sleepers receive a fair amount of padding from the wool layer, which can help align the spine and minimize pressure points. We also recommend the mattress to back and stomach sleepers, especially those who weigh 230 pounds or less and won’t sink too much into the wool batting.
Wool is one of the most breathable mattress materials available, so it’s no surprise the Birch’s wool batting layer regulates temperature very well. The ventilated latex and coil layers also promote airflow for an extra cool night’s rest. Wool, like latex, is also exceptionally durable.
In terms of latex hybrids, the Birch has a middle-of-the-road price-point. Free shipping is available to all 50 states and all customers receive a 100-night sleep trial. The mattress also comes with a 25-year warranty to cover the mattress throughout its long-expected lifespan.
SleepFoundation readers get $325 off an Awara Mattress with code SFAWARA.
The Awara is a hybrid model featuring a latex layer certified by the Rainforest Alliance, an NGO that promotes sustainable forestry and agricultural practices in vulnerable rainforest areas. The latex is also GOLS-certified as organic, while the cover is made from a blend of natural cotton and GOTS-certified New Zealand wool. Additionally, the mattress has a non-chemical flame retardant certified by the SGS.
In addition to its cover and latex comfort layer, the mattress contains a support core with 9-inch pocketed coils that are fairly thick compared to the coils found in other hybrids. This gives the Awara a very responsive and supportive feel, and you’ll notice very little sink when sitting or sleeping near the edges of the bed.
Coupled with the medium firm surface, the mattress provides good shoulder and hip cushioning for side sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds. The mattress also provides enough support for back, side, and stomach sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds.
Temperature neutrality is another strength of the Awara. The latex is very breathable and won’t trap as much heat as memory foam. The coils also promote steady airflow to keep the mattress cool, while the wool/cotton cover will wick away moisture during the night. And while the surface may be too responsive to eliminate motion transfer for co-sleepers, many couples agree the mattress offers the perfect amount of bounce for sex.
Compared to other latex hybrids with organic components, the Awara is very inexpensive, and the company will ship the mattress for free anywhere in the lower 48. You can also test out the Awara for 365 nights before deciding whether to return or keep it, and the mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty for extra peace of mind.
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The EcoCloud is a latex hybrid from WinkBeds. The 4-inch, ventilated Talalay latex comfort layer has earned an OEKO-TEX Class 1 certification, which indicates the material doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or substances, as well as a Rainforest Alliance certification from how the latex is grown and harvested. The cover also contains a blend of GOTS-certified organic cotton and sustainable New Zealand wool.
The EcoCloud has a medium feel, giving it a softer and more conforming surface than a lot of competing latex hybrids. This results in comfortable cushioning and even spinal alignment for side sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less, as well as even support and weight distribution for back and stomach sleepers in the same weight group. People who weigh more than 230 pounds may find the EcoCloud a bit too soft, and these sleepers may prefer one of the firmer latex hybrids on our list instead.
Despite the medium feel, the thick latex layer gives the bed some noticeable responsiveness. This makes the EcoCloud great for couples who prefer bouncy surfaces for sex. Like other latex hybrids, the EcoCloud sleeps very cool thanks to its breathable comfort and support layers. The cover made of organic cotton and moisture-wicking wool helps regulate your temperature, too.
The EcoCloud is a bit spendy, but not overpriced when you compare it to other high-quality latex hybrids. WinkBeds throws in free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S., along with White Glove delivery at an extra charge if you’d like someone else to set up the EcoCloud and haul your old mattress away. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
Best for Side Sleepers
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The Eco Terra latex hybrid is a good option for a wide range of sleepers across many weights and preferred sleep positions because it is available in medium (5) and medium firm (6) firmness levels that provide close conforming and targeted pressure relief, as well as improved spinal alignment for side sleepers.
The Eco Terra is constructed with a 3-inch comfort layer of natural Talalay latex and an organic cotton cover. These breathable, eco-friendly materials help keep the bed feeling cool and comfortable throughout the year. The mattress also has a pocketed coil support core with a multi-gauge configuration that offers great support. Thicker coils line the perimeter to minimize sinkage along the edges, while thinner coils support the sleeper’s body without sagging excessively.
The Eco Terra has a price-point that is much lower than that of the average latex hybrid, making it a top-value pick. The company offers free standard delivery throughout the contiguous U.S., as well as White Glove delivery – including in-home assembly – for an additional charge. The mattress is backed by a 90-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
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All-latex beds are generally more durable than average, but the Spindle Natural Latex Mattress raises the bar on longevity thanks to an innovative modular design.
The mattress is constructed with three layers of natural Dunlop latex, each measuring 3 inches thick. Depending on the firmness you select, the mattress may feature two medium-feel (5) latex layers over a firm (7) bottom layer, or one medium-feel top layer over two firm layers. You can swap the order of these layers at any time by simply unzipping the cover. This not only adjusts the firmness to a softer or firmer feel, but also preserves the layers against impressions and indentations over time.
The Natural Latex Mattress is also a good option for eco-friendly shoppers. All latex components have received certifications from the Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council, indicating the rubber trees used to produce the material are sustainably grown and harvested. The cover is composed of organic cotton, while ethically sourced eco-wool batting forms the fire barrier directly beneath the surface.
In addition to being environmentally, these materials also help the mattress sleep cool. The organic cotton is highly breathable, the eco-wool has moisture-wicking properties, and the latex layers are ventilated to circulate air throughout the mattress interior.
As part of the 25-Year Comfort Life Program, Spindle allows you to trade old latex layers for brand new layers at 30% off the regular asking price. This program softens the steep sticker price of this mattress because you can potentially extend the bed’s lifespan by a significant margin.
Spindle also offers free ground shipping within the contiguous U.S., and each purchase includes a sleep trial that spans an entire year. You’ll also receive a standard warranty that covers structural defects in your mattress for up to 10 years.
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PlushBeds has earned a reputation for luxurious and eco-friendly mattresses, and the Botanical Bliss organic latex mattress is no exception. In addition to GOLS-certified organic latex layers and GOTS-certified organic cotton and wool in the cover, the mattress has earned a GreenGuard Gold certification for products with low emissions. OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and eco-INSTITUT credentials indicate the mattress isn’t made with any harmful chemicals, while a Forest Stewardship Council certification ensures all wood- and plant-based products are sustainably sourced.
The bed is constructed with a top layer of organic wool batting, followed by comfort, transitional, and support layers of organic Dunlop latex. You can choose from two firmness levels for your Botanical Bliss, medium firm (6) and firm (7). The medium feel contours closely to support the spine and reduce discomfort in pressure-sensitive areas, while the firm feel does not conform as closely but feels very supportive. The bed also comes in 9-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch profiles, so you can also choose a model based on your thickness preferences.
Regardless of firmness or thickness, all Botanical Bless mattresses excel at temperature neutrality thanks to their ultra-breathable wool and latex layers. And because the latex is naturally responsive, most couples will find it perfectly bouncy for sex. Expect a long lifespan with this mattress, too. The naturally durable latex means you’ll be sleeping on the bed for at least eight years.
PlushBeds offers free delivery within the contiguous U.S. The mattress is also backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.
Best Pressure Relief
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The Organica is one of Amerisleep’s newest mattresses, and the only model in this brand’s lineup constructed with natural and organic components. The mattress is constructed with a top layer of Joma wool that acts as the fire barrier, followed by a comfort layer of natural Talalay latex. This type of latex is characterized by responsiveness and gentle contouring, so the Organica is best suited to people who enjoy some conforming from their mattress but not a close body hug. People who weigh at least 130 pounds should receive adequate support and feel less pressure regardless of their primary sleep position.
The Joma wool is ethically sourced, which will put animal lovers at ease. The latex in this mattress has also earned certifications from the Rainforest Alliance and Eco-Institut, so buyers can rest assured the rubber trees used to produce the latex are sustainably farmed and grown without harmful pesticides.
The support core consists of pocketed coils over a base layer of natural Dunlop latex, which is denser and more supportive than Talalay. These components add to the springy feel of the mattress, so you can expect quite a bit of bounciness when you get in and out of bed. This also makes moving across the Organica fairly easy and sinkage-free, and many couples prefer this level of responsiveness for sex.
Hot sleepers should find the mattress comfortable too. The cover is made of breathable, GOTS-certified organic cotton, and the Joma wool has moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool and dry – even during warmer or more humid times of the year. Additionally, the coils promote steady air circulation to help the Organica maintain a comfortable core temperature.
The Organica’s sticker price is in line with that of the average latex hybrid, though all customers in the lower 48 states qualify for free ground delivery. You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty with your purchase.
Best for Couples
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The GhostBed Natural is a mattress made from organic materials that serves co-sleepers quite well. The feel is medium firm (6), resulting in a supportive feel with light contouring that is especially well suited to back and stomach sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less, as well as side sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds. Latex hybrid construction also ensures easy movements across the surface and great responsiveness for sex.
The Natural’s top layer is composed of natural wool. This component serves as the bed’s fire barrier, but wool is naturally breathable and can wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry. A comfort layer of organic Talalay latex creates comfortable cushioning without the tight body hug of memory foam. This latex layer is perforated with small holes to push airflow toward the surface for added temperature control.
The support core contains 8-inch pocketed coils and a base layer of organic Dunlop latex. These foundational materials offer exceptional stability, and the coils are doubled up along the perimeter to prevent deep sinkage when you sleep near the edges or get on and off of the mattress. Both the Talalay and Dunlop latex layers have received certification from the Global Organic Latex Standard. Similarly, the Natural’s organic cotton cover is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard.
Price-points for this mattress are on par with those of the average latex hybrid, so it will likely appeal to shoppers with larger budgets. Ground shipping is free of charge anywhere in the contiguous U.S. With your purchase, you’ll receive a 101-night sleep trial and a 25-year warranty once the return period ends.
Best for Back Sleepers
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With breathable Dunlop latex, moisture wicking wool, and a pocketed coil system the My Green Mattress Natural Escape is a quality latex hybrid that sleeps exceptionally cool.
Starting from the bottom, the Natural Escape latex hybrid features zoned pocketed coils, with higher-gauge coils at the head and foot of the bed, medium-gauge coils at the center, and lower-gauge coils around the perimeter. This configuration provides above-average support for most sleeper types, especially side and back sleepers. The mattress is also ‘Medium Firm’ (6), which tends to suit sleepers of most positions and weights.
The top end of the mattress consists of an organic cotton cover and comfort layers made of natural wool and organic Dunlop latex. These materials offer moderately close conforming and pressure relief. The mattress also isolates and minimizes a good amount of motion transfer and produces very little noise, which can be beneficial for couples.
My Green Mattress customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping. The Natural Escape comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a nonprorated 10-year warranty.
Best Firm Mattress
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Avocado’s newest mattress is an all-latex model with a firm (7) feel, making it optimal for most people who weigh at least 130 pounds – back and stomach sleepers in particular. The mattress contains three individual layers of Dunlop latex that has been GOTS-certified. The topmost layer is divided into firmness zones for added support beneath your midsection and hips, and more cushioning for the head, shoulders, and legs. The second and third layers are denser in order to reinforce the mattress and keep your body on an even plane.
The Avocado Latex Mattress is a great option for hot sleepers. The latex layers are ventilated with small holes, allowing air to circulate throughout the mattress core, and the cover is made from a blend of organic cotton and organic wool, two exceptionally breathable materials.
Since the mattress does not contain springs, it may be a “best of both worlds” option for people who don’t like the body-hug of memory foam and find innersprings or hybrids too bouncy. The latex absorbs motion fairly well and the mattress does not produce any noise, so this model is also a good choice for couples.
The Avocado Latex Mattress is competitively priced, but Avocado will ship it for free to all 50 states. You’ll receive a 365-night sleep trial with your order, which is very long compared to competing return periods, as well as a lifetime warranty that protects against defects for as long as you own the mattress.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Under The Canopy mattresses
The Under the Canopy Hybrid Organic Latex mattress has an eco-friendly, latex hybrid build that provides a cool, comfortable night’s sleep. The mattress has a supportive, yet cushioning medium firm (6) feel that appeals to the needs of sleepers of a wide range of sizes and sleeping preferences. The bed is made from a combination of natural, organic, and recycled materials and avoids the use of chemicals in its construction.
The Hybrid Organic Latex mattress starts with a layer of cruelty-free New Zealand Joma wool, which adds a bit of softness as well as moisture-wicking capability for hot nights. Underneath is a pad made of organic coconut husks for breathability and additional cushioning. Instead of using a chemical fire barrier, the Under The Canopy mattress uses a silica sock on the exterior as a natural flame retardant.
The bulk of the bed’s comfort system is made of 2 inches of organic Dunlop latex, which provides a supportive bounce and moderate contouring to help relieve pressure points throughout the body. Latex is well-known for its breathability, durability, and buoyant feel that is often compared to “floating” on the bed. The Hybrid Organic Latex mattress has an 8-inch support core of coils made largely from recycled steel. Each coil is individually encased, helping to reduce motion transfer and prevent nighttime disturbances from your co-sleeper.
Latex hybrids like the Under The Canopy mattress provide a combination of strong support and moderate pressure relief that works well to meet the needs of back and stomach sleepers. Side sleepers will also sleep comfortably on this bed, though side sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds may find it a bit firm for their liking.
The Hybrid Organic Latex mattress ships for free to the contiguous U.S., with paid shipping available to Alaska and Hawaii. Under The Canopy allows returns and refunds with proof of donation of your Hybrid Organic Latex mattress. The mattress is backed by a 10-year limited warranty.
Certifications are key for separating mattresses with sustainable materials from their imitators. The certification should come from an organization that is unbiased and is not affiliated with the brand. The most reputable brands will include links or downloadable files for these certifications that site visitors can easily access.
Our advice: research not only the brands, but also the certifications and the organizations that award them. Pay close attention to the standards for certification, and reach out to the brand’s customer service department if you need further explanation. They should be able to point you in the right direction – “should” being the operative word.
Beds with certified-organic materials generally fall into one of two categories: latex or latex hybrid.
Latex is derived from the sap of rubber trees, and processed using one of two methods – Dunlop or Talalay – to create a responsive, foam-like material. How the latex is processed and which chemicals are used can be used to determine whether or not it can be certified as organic by organizations like the GOLS (more on the organic certification process in a bit).
Natural latex is a bit trickier because there’s no official certification akin to the GOLS standard for organic latex. If a brand offers a model with natural latex, you should inquire about the specific composition. Some “natural latex” layers contain a fair amount of synthetic fillers.
Latex may also be blended, which usually means it contains between 20 and 40 percent natural latex. Synthetic latex, on the other hand, may consist entirely of chemicals and other man-made components. These materials are often used in mattresses with lower price-points. Here’s the thing, though: blended and synthetic latex tend to be less durable than organic or mostly natural latex.
Some newer hybrid models substitute latex for cotton and/or wool batting, which may also be certified as organic. As for the coils found in hybrids, they will almost always be made of steel, which is rendered using chemical-based processes. However, if the other components are organic or natural, then the mattress could be considered reasonably eco-friendly.
Other mattress types contain few, if any, organic materials. Take all-foam beds or innersprings with foam layers. Some have organic cotton covers, but the polyfoam and memory foam used in these models is polyurethane-based and will never be certified as organic.
That said, some manufacturers make an effort to produce toxin-free mattress foams in fairly sustainable ways. Mattresses from these brands might be a more cost-effective option for eco-conscious shoppers who don’t like the feel of latex, or would rather not pay the high sticker price of a certified-organic mattress.
Many shy away from organic mattresses because these models often come with steep price-tags. How much do organic mattresses cost? That depends on the specific materials, as well as the brand. The average all-latex or hybrid mattress costs between $1,600 and $2,000 in a queen size, and the use of organic materials can easily drive up the cost beyond the $2,500 mark.
However expensive they may be, organic mattresses are actually a pretty sound investment for some sleepers. Beds with these materials offer certain benefits and advantages over models with synthetic components.
Durability is a huge selling point for mattresses with organic components because their long lifespans somewhat make up for the expensive price-points. The average mattress will perform for about six to eight years before wear and tear, loss of support, and other issues will compel you to buy a new bed. Beds with organic materials typically exceed the eight-year mark.
Organic latex is a prime example. The organic latex used in mattresses has natural resilience that allows it to bounce back and resist deep body impressions very well. Blended and synthetic latex will usually wear out more quickly. The average lifespan of a mattress with organic latex layers is about eight and a half years. For models with blended or synthetic latex, the lifespan is closer to seven or seven and a half.
Another advantage of organic mattresses is lower odor potential. When you unbox a bed with foam layers, the material will release off-gassing particles known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Don’t be confused by the word “organic” in their name – VOCs only come from synthetic materials. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that exposure to VOCs – especially indoors – can trigger headaches, nausea, fatigue, and other adverse health effects. Furthermore, VOCs carry a distinct chemical odor many find unpleasant and some beds continue to smell long after they have been unpackaged.
Latex and latex hybrid mattresses may also produce a noticeable smell at first, but this is due to the material’s natural odor and not VOC off-gassing. Very few people who own these mattresses report bothersome smells once the bed has aired out for a few days. The same is true of organic wool, which has a distinct, temporary natural odor but does not emit any VOCs.
Organic mattresses have also been tested for other potentially harmful substances. The GOLS and GOTS test for hazardous substances in latex and textiles, respectively. The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 also certifies that textile materials do not contain any harmful components. Rest assured: with the right certifications, you can buy a mattress knowing it does not contain any materials that pose a threat to your wellbeing.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, mattresses with organic and/or environmental certifications are simply better for the environment. Whether they’ve been certified for natural materials, sustainable farming practices, or ethical treatment of animals, the brands that make these mattresses are taking extra measures to conserve resources, reduce their footprint, and contribute to planetary health.
Are organic mattresses worth it? Absolutely, provided their price-point is within your budget.
“Organic” is an official term referring to agricultural products derived from specific, approved methods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains a full list of standards for organic products, including how plants are grown, which materials can be used in manufacturing, and how the products are labeled. The GOLS and GOTS have comparable criteria.
“Sustainable” is a less official term, even if its standards are similar. A widely accepted definition for sustainability comes from the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Although sustainability has many different applications, the term is frequently assigned to environmentally friendly practices that won’t deplete non-renewable resources or compromise global health.
A sustainably manufactured mattress contains materials that have been produced in such a manner. This might refer to latex or cotton plants that are grown and harvested using conservation farming, mattress production facilities that take steps to minimize their carbon output, or brands that use green shipping methods to reduce their carbon footprint.
There are many certifications for sustainably produced materials. These include some we’ve already discussed, such as the Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainable agriculture and forestry practices. A sustainable mattress material may not be certified as organic due to its composition or other factors. However, this does not mean the material is bad for the environment – in many cases, the opposite is true.
As you browse different organic mattresses, you’ll notice dozens of certifications. Many of these are awards from unbiased, third-party organizations that certify materials based on rigid standards. Others may be less legitimate.
To help you navigate the potentially confusing process of finding a truly organic mattress, we’ve outlined three top certifications with a proven track record in the mattress industry. This list is far from exhaustive, and there are many worthwhile certifications to consider.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) are widely considered the leading certifications for organic mattress materials.
According to GOTS standards, a textile must contain at least 70 percent organic fibers to be certified as organic. The textile’s synthetic components must also meet certain standards for environmental impact and toxicology. In most mattresses that carry this certification, the textile in question will be organic cotton and/or organic wool. These materials are usually found in covers, but – as we’ve seen with some of our top picks – can also be used in comfort, transitional, and support layers.
According to the GOLS, latex in mattresses must be at least 95 percent organic to receive the organic certification. The remaining 5 percent or less consists of chemical agents that form the latex foam, and these must meet certain GOLS criteria, as well. The standard also covers practices on rubber plantations where the latex is cultivated, as well as carbon emissions during production.
Short for the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology, OEKO-TEX tests textiles for the presence of harmful substances. The organization’s premier certification is the OEKO-TEX Standard 100.
When submitted for the OEKO-TEX Standard 100, a textile undergoes a rigorous evaluation that includes roughly 100 parameters (hence the name). A full explanation is available and worth the read, but the process boils down to this: every individual component of the textile will be tested for banned substances – such as azo dyes, nickel, and formaldehyde – and materials that may cause adverse health effects, but have not been regulated yet.
The Standard 100 awards certification in four different classes based on how close, if at all, the textile comes into contact with a person’s skin.
Many inner mattress materials earn the Class IV rating because you’ll never see or touch them.
The CertiPUR-US certification does not recognize organic or natural mattress materials. Rather, this award is reserved for the foams used in mattresses and other products. According to CertiPUR-US, certified foams do not contain the following components that have been linked to human health problems:
The CertiPUR-US certification also tests for VOC off-gassing. Certified foams must exhibit low VOC emissions for indoor air quality, which equates to less than 0.5 parts per million.
As we’ve already discussed, an all-foam, innerspring, or hybrid with polyfoam or memory foam layers will never be certified as organic because polyurethane foam is usually 100 percent chemical-based. However, the CertiPUR-US certification ensures the foam does not contain anything that will make you or your loved ones sick.
Purchasing a mattress with organic or otherwise environmentally certified materials might not seem like much, but little steps like this go a long way toward helping the planet. There are other measures you can take to make your bedroom more eco-friendly, as well.
If you purchase a new mattress, what will happen to your old bed? Many people choose to dispose of their former mattress at a dump or landfill. Unfortunately, these establishments – while convenient – are not very eco-friendly. As garbage deteriorates, its chemical components release chemicals into the air, and high volumes of trash can negatively affect soil and water quality in surrounding areas.
Recycling is a much more sustainable way to dispose of a mattress. This process ensures most mattress components will be reused for other products. There are some downsides to recycling a mattress, though. For one, it will require you to transport the mattress to the nearest recycling facility. Most people in urban areas live in relative proximity to a recycling center, but if you’re a rural-dweller this can amount to an hours-long drive. The good news: recycling a mattress anywhere in the country is fairly inexpensive, and usually will not cost more than $20 per bed.
“Why do I pay an up-front recycling fee when I buy a new mattress?” That’s what you might wonder if you live in California, Connecticut, or Rhode Island. These three states have special laws intended to help reduce mattress-related waste. Mattress brands charge buyers a one-time fee at the time of purchase, and this money is used to fund statewide mattress recycling programs. Fortunately, these fees are fairly low. Californians pay $10.50, Connecticuters pay $9, and Rhode Islanders pay $16. In exchange for paying the fee up-front, these residents can recycle mattresses for free at any state facility. People in California even receive a $3 incentive for each mattress they recycle.
An equally sustainable alternative to recycling a mattress is to donate it for reuse. Some organizations will accept used mattresses directly, such as the Furniture Bank Association, which donates beds and other furnishings to needy families. Another option is DonationTown.org, which helps mattress owners find charities in their local area that take used beds. However, most places won’t accept damaged, soiled, or overused mattresses.
If you’d rather have someone else recycle your old mattress, consider White Glove delivery. This service from mattress brands includes scheduled delivery, in-home assembly of your new mattress, and removal of your old bed. The couriers will either donate or recycle the old mattress. However, not all brands offer White Glove delivery, it usually costs at least $150, and this service is rarely available outside the contiguous U.S.
Pillows, sheets, and other bedding may also be certified as organic if they contain certain materials.
Latex pillows are widely available, and many of them contain the same GOLS-certified organic latex found in mattress layers. If the material is not certified as organic, it may also carry certifications for sustainable farming, eco-friendly production, or testing for harmful substances. Organic latex can also be used in mattress toppers, which are layers of padding placed on top of a mattress to change how firm it feels.
Sheets and pillowcases may also be made of GOTS-certified fibers. Organic cotton and organic wool sheet sets are widely available. Organic wool bedding products may also receive additional certifications for responsible and ethical treatment of sheep used to harvest the fibers.
Silk, a natural protein produced by silkworm larvae, is another fiber that can be used to make sheets and pillowcases. Another natural fiber used for bedding is linen, which comes from the flax plant and also has organic potential. Either of these materials may be GOTS-certified if they meet standard criteria. However, certified-organic silk and linen sheet sets are fairly rare, and both tend to be expensive.
Down refers to the soft inner plumage found on ducks and geese. The material has an exceptionally fluffy and airy feel, making it a great choice for pillow fill. Down is also used as an insulating material in jackets and other garments.
Down production has recently come under fire for the way birds are housed, fed, and plucked. The Responsible Down Standard, or RDS, a new benchmark for manufacturers meant to curb these often inhumane practices. A major provision of the RDS is that live animals cannot be plucked for down, a practice that often results in open wounds and sores. Additionally, the birds cannot be force-fed and harvesters must demonstrate “holistic respect for animal welfare” up to and during slaughter.
A product must contain 100 percent ethical down to carry the RDS label. If you see a bedding product with this logo, you can purchase it knowing no ducks or geese came to harm.
While you’re researching how mattress brands manufacture their products, you should also look into their shipping policies.
Some brands box their beds using recyclable cardboard and other green materials. Bed-in-a-box companies go a step further by compressing their mattresses for shipping, which reduces their size and the need for larger boxes. Additionally, companies that offer White Glove delivery will deliver directly to the customer’s house. This can conserve fuel and other resources related to shipping.
Let’s say you haven’t finished your new mattress sleep trial but you’ve already decided to return the bed. Most online mattress brands offer free returns, and this often includes couriers who will come to your house and remove the mattress for recycling or donation. Other brands will require you to recycle the mattress yourself, but still issue a full refund on the mattress.
The best organic mattress is one that fits within your budget while offering you the right amount of support and comfort. Although this answer may seem like a cop-out, mattress suitability is highly individual and based on your body type, usual sleep position, and personal preferences. A mattress that is ideal for one person may be very uncomfortable for another, even if it is well made and performs well in many areas.
With so many high-quality organic mattresses on the market, the only way to find the one that is best for you is by understanding what you need from a mattress and narrowing your choices based on those considerations. Independent reviews can help you in this process, particularly those who go into detail about how a mattress performs for different sleepers.
Both organic and natural mattresses use natural materials, but organic mattresses have had at least some of those materials certified as having been grown, harvested, and manufactured according to organic guidelines. However, both these terms can be considered marketing jargon. If purchasing a natural or organic mattress is important to you, it’s better to look closely at the mattress’s construction and consider any certifications it may have received.
Responsible mattress manufacturers will often divulge their sourcing, as well as what elements of their mattress are natural and which, if any, are synthetic. Organic mattresses may use organic materials, but some unscrupulous manufacturers may not share what percentage of the material is organic. Certifications like those offered by the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) can help you determine what mattresses live up to your organic expectations.
While organic mattresses are usually more eco-friendly than non-organic or purely synthetic mattresses, a genuinely eco-friendly mattress is also made using sustainable materials and an ecologically sound manufacturing process. Many organic mattress manufacturers are happy to share these details with their customers, ranging from the sourcing for their materials to some of the specifics of their manufacturing process.
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