Categories: Mattress

Beware of Mattress Industry Greenwashing

Many consumers today go out of their way to make planet-friendly purchasing decisions. They make efforts to conserve resources, recycle when possible, reduce waste, and reuse items that would otherwise go into landfills. With that in mind, many consumers are taking an interest in buying items that are “green” or earth-friendly —  including mattresses. Unfortunately, at times and through no fault of their own, what they purchased isn’t always as eco-friendly as what they intended it to be because of greenwashing.

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a term used to describe deceptive advertising practices used to inflate the environmental benefits of a company or the products its sells. Overall, it’s a marketing strategy designed to convince — and mislead — the consumer interested in doing the right thing for the planet that they will be doing so by purchasing their product.

The problem is, these products aren’t as beneficial for protecting the environment as they claim. In fact, they may very well actually be harmful to the planet. Some of them much more so than other alternate products currently in the marketplace.

Consumers who are truly interested in making more earth-conscious buying decisions are often willing to pay extra for the products in order to know they are making the right environmentally-friendly choice. Perceptive, yet sneaky, advertisers know this, and have discovered that there is some degree of gold in “green products”. These unscrupulous advertisers prey on the good intentions of consumers, and don’t supply the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Greenwashing Specific to the Mattress Industry

Unfortunately, the mattress industry is an attractive target for greenwashing. As a consumer, it’s important to pay close attention to mattress labels and do your due diligence research so that you are certain to get what you believe you’ve purchased, particularly if you are looking to purchase an organic mattress or natural latex mattress.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which enforces consumer protection laws, has begun to crack down on this so-called “advertising pollution”.  As examples, the FTC cracked down on three manufacturers of mattresses in 2013 for making unsupported claims that their mattresses were free of harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). One of the companies was also targeted for making claims that its mattresses were certified organic by an organic mattress organization.

The mattress companies did settle with the FTC and agreed to stop making unsupported claims about the “greenness” or certification of their mattress products. Unfortunately, those are only a few of the many offenders in the mattress industry.

To help marketers avoid slipping up and making deceptive environmental claims, the FTC has recently revised its Green Guides, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

Stick to the Basics for Green Mattress Choices

What can you, as a consumer do, particularly if you are looking to purchase a green mattress?

One of the first things you can do is to check for third party certifications. Also, skip mattresses that have fire retardant PBDE chemicals or made of anything other than organic wool or 100 percent natural latex for starters. Then check out all the ingredients within the mattress. Natural latex, for instance, made with 100 percent natural latex foam, uses no fillers.

Don’t choose mattresses that have filler layers or chemical-laden glue between the latex foam layers.

Look for organic cotton mattress covers and responsible, sustainable manufacturing processes.

Finally, choose recyclable mattresses. Traditional innerspring mattresses take up a great deal of landfill space and most need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years. On the other hand, if your mattress is 100 percent recyclable, that frees up much more space in landfills.

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss Collection mattresses are made with 100 percent natural latex that is certified organic by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS certified organic latex). If you’re truly interested in a green mattress choice, you should definitely explore what this mattress has to offer you.

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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