If you love the planet, you might be wondering the best way to adapt every part of your living space to be eco-friendly. You might already shop for fair trade certified organic groceries, or use reusable totes, or bamboo toilet paper in your living space.
Many people are unfamiliar with the fact that even mattresses, linen, sheets, and all parts of your bedding can be sustainable, too!
Not every brand offers eco-friendly goods and services, so it is important to educate yourself about what constitutes sustainable products.
What is Sustainable Bedding?
Eco-friendly bedding brands have the culmination of toppers, mattresses, pillows, sheets, bedding, and linen that is produced in an ethical, environmental way. Organic cotton, as well as other fair trade certified products around the world, can set a trend for ethically-harvested bed materials.
Conventional bedding is often made with dense synthetic foam and rubbers, like polyurethane foam, made from crude oil. This can be detrimental to the earth and to human health. Luckily, you have the option as a consumer to opt for better choices and practices!
Why Choose Sustainable Bedding?
There are endless reasons to make the switch, and go green with your sleep routine and bedding brands.
Inspire More Brands to Become Sustainable
If you purchase from an organic or fair trade brand, you inspire more brands to become sustainable and eco-friendly.
Know You're Helping to Protect Natural Resources
You can enjoy a good night’s sleep, knowing you are protecting natural resources.
Less Reliance on Crude Oil and Gas
Sustainable products lead to less reliance on crude oil and gas.
Healthier Lifestyle Option
Most organic sources are healthier for you and your family.
Improve Sleep Quality
You spend so much of your life sleeping, so adopting practices that use natural products can improve the quality of your sleep by giving you a sound mind.
Role Model to Your Children
If you are a parent or role model, you can be the “change” and set an example for children on how to live sustainably, including your choice of bedding brands.
Save Money in the Long Run
Purchasing environmentally sustainable products can help you save energy or money in the long run, particularly for products that are durable, high-quality, and longer-lasting.
What are the Features of Sustainable Bedding?
Not all bedding is as it seems. While there are some bedding or mattress brands that claim to be eco-friendly, they might not meet all of the standards to be considered truly sustainable.
Below are a few key features to look for to identify true sustainability.
The best practices include finding bedding brands that follow responsible sourcing. You can check the certification of the bedding brands, and see if the brand avoids negative environmental effects.
Furthermore, when seeking a perfect earth-friendly product, your best bet is to identify if the bedding includes environmentally-friendly, non-toxic, and/or recyclable and reusable materials.
If a product is claimed to be responsibly sourced, that means the material is green due to its preservation of the source where it was derived from.
For example, fabrics derived from recycled or renewable materials, especially made from 100 percent recycled materials, are responsibly sourced.
Bedding from plentiful sources that can, and are, being easily replaced, can also be responsibly sourced. Sheets, bedding, mattresses, pillows, and linen are derived from raw materials. These raw materials can be latex, rubber, wool, cotton, or other sources.
There are sustainable and non-sustainable ways of harvesting, such raw material. When a company uses land in an irresponsible way, destroying ecosystems, and ruining soil, that land becomes nonrenewable.
Farming practices like organic farming, non-tilling, not bulldozing forests, using rubber trees directly at the site instead of synthesizing crude oil, and avoiding pesticides are all examples of responsible sourcing.
There are a number of sustainable organizations that act as watchdogs, helping you identify which products and brands on the market are truly sustainable, versus pretending to be sustainable, aptly nicknamed as “greenwashing.”
Luckily, certifications are official stamps of approval to help you easily distinguish sustainability advocates from faux. To earn a certification, a company must pass rigorous testing. Tests measure if materials, production, manufacturing, and transportation are done to the highest eco-friendly standard.
To understand a full list of possible certifications for sustainable bedding, scroll down to the list below.
No Negative Environmental Effects
Even when someone is using quality or responsibly sourced materials, such as organic cotton, there might still be negative environmental effects in the harvesting process.
For example, it is important that the brand minimizes pollution and carbon emissions. There a few ways a company can avoid hurting the environment:
- Proper waste disposal
- Minimized or no pollution to the surrounding community, nature, and bodies of water
- Salvaging and reusing materials whenever possible
- Recycling and composting
- Encouraging a culture of no negative environmental effects among employees
- Having a zero or negative carbon footprint
- Utilizing water and energy conservation (water recycling, wind power, and solar panels)
- Local sourcing and shipping to minimize transportation carbon emission
Use Eco-Friendly Materials
Now, this is what you have been waiting for as a consumer! You have the power to seek out environmentally-friendly materials, and pick fabrics, Tencel, and organic cotton that you love.
Below is a list of the most commonly enjoyed sustainable material. There are some components of any material that can be vetted before getting down to the fine detail: is the material non-toxic? And is the material recyclable or reusable?
A material that is non-toxic is one that does not emit any dangerous chemicals. These chemicals can harm people, pets, and the environment, and should be avoided.
Here is a list of toxic items to avoid when hunting for bedding:
- Chlorosulfonated polyethylene and chlorinated polyethylene
- Chloroprene (Neoprene)
- Halogenated flame retardants
- Petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers
- Wood treatments containing pentachlorophenol, arsenic, or creosote
Safe, non-toxic options that are preferred material include:
- Cork or bamboo, including cork flooring and bamboo headboards
- Recycled glass or paper
- Reclaimed rubber or wood
- Soybean fabric
- Organic cotton insulation
- Homasote fiberboard
- Hemp-based products
- Low VOC paint
- No VOC paint
- Natural paint
- Non-toxic stain
- Solar panels
- Recycled carpeting, gypsum board, or materials
- FSC wood planks
Recyclable or Reusable
While finding a product derived from recycled material is incredible, another possible plus to an eco-friendly product is its ability to be recycled again. Some bedding, linen, and sheets can be reused or recycled in interesting ways, either by consumers or companies.
For example, if linen is replaced over time, but is still robust, it can be re-gifted or used as recycled fabric. There are local and state facilities that offer recycling services for fabrics that are simply dropped off. When you purchase bed linen or sheets, check to see if they are made from material that can be reused or recycled.
Eco-Friendly Materials to Look For When You Shop
Now that you know what features to look for when hunting for bedding, you can narrow your search to identify preferable natural fabrics and materials.
Some people might prefer only organic bedding, while others want linens or sheets that are produced at a minimal carbon footprint. Here is a list of ingredients that are harvested ethically.
While many people view cotton as an easy-to-grow, relatively sustainable plant, some ways of growing cotton can use immense pesticides! This toxic pesticide use can damage land, making it non-reusable, and stay in the cotton fiber.
Therefore, the best alternative is to find a product made with organic cotton. Many sheets and high-quality linens are made with organic cotton, because organic cotton is a highly desired product. Not only is it pesticide-free, and never genetically modified (no GMOs), but it is soft and ideal for bedding.
There are a few organic cotton certifications and organizations that vet the growth and farming of organic cotton, listed in the certifications section below.
Similar to organic cotton, organic wool is processed without any pesticides or genetic modification (GMOs). Wool is a soft material that comes from shearing sheep. If you are looking for bedding that has wool, it is important to identify wool that is processed humanely and organically.
To qualify as organic wool, wool must come from livestock (sheep) who are raised humanely, with access to the outdoors and pastures at all times. These sheep must be fed fairly with a minimum natural grazing requirement. They are never given hormones or genetic modification, and rarely given medicines, unless preventative disease management has failed.
Many people do not realize that latex can be harvested naturally, from a rubber tree plant! This can be done with minimal negative environmental impact, and without the need for synthesized latex from crude oil.
Natural botanical latex can be sustainably harvested without killing the rubber tree plant that produces the serum. This means that an “all-natural” latex mattress may be produced without the use of petrochemicals or synthetic materials.
Some natural latex mattresses are even manufactured at the site of the rubber tree estate, minimizing the expense and carbon footprint of shipping. When properly manufactured, latex mattresses can even be organic, but it is important to be discerning when choosing an organic mattress.
The “organic” tag may mean that:
- The latex in the mattress was organically farmed before harvesting;
- The foam itself was produced in line with organic standards; or that
- The entire mattress, including the outer fire-resistant layer, is constructed using sustainable methods and materials.
Bamboo can be grown sustainably and quickly, allowing it to act as a more eco-friendly replacement to many other wood products. Chopping down and re-growing bamboo is often more sustainable than chopping down trees to make bed frames.
But many people do not know that bamboo, which has a tough wood-like texture, can also be transformed into a soft fabric! It is not only used in headboards and bed frames. Bamboo can be used in duvet covers, comforters, and sheets.
Organic bamboo tends to be more breathable, and sometimes even softer, than organic cotton. This is helpful for someone looking for light, breathable linen that is sustainable. Furthermore, bamboo bed sheets and duvets can be very durable, and pill less than organic cotton.
Bamboo is also hypoallergenic and antibacterial, acting as an allergy-friendly material, too.
Linen, Especially Organic Linen
Linen is created from flax plants, making it a natural material as long as it is harvested ethically. Most often, linen is harvested using minimal pesticides and interference. But organic linen, like other earth-friendly materials, is made pesticide-free.
Everyone can appreciate a high-quality linen, which is also known for its breathable and temperature-regulating fabric. Organic linen can be considered luxurious, as it is soft and light. It is also very durable, so it pills less than organic cotton.
What is lyocell? Lyocell is a material you may have never heard of, but it is in fact, a breathable, durable, and absorbent fiber made from eucalyptus tree pulp. This material can be used in mattress production due to its firm cellulose fibers.
Lyocell does not release toxins, is biodegradable, and is reusable and recyclable. When it is derived from eucalyptus trees, not synthetically produced, it uses less water than cotton. Eucalyptus trees can grow quickly and without pesticides in many rocky-terrained locations, making them very durable for harvesting lyocell.
Another product to look for is hemp, which is a superstar rising in the sustainable fabric industry. Hemp also grows quickly, and does not require as much water or land as organic cotton or flax linen. Hemp has never even been genetically modified before, so it is a natural leader.
While hemp is not very widely used now in bedding that’s good to the environment, it’s an up-and-coming material.
How can You Tell if a Company is Ethical and Sustainable?
While it is important to find a product that is sustainable, it is also key to ensure you are buying from a company or brand that is truly ethical. As mentioned before, there are companies that “greenwash” or claim to be environmentally friendly, when they are not.
First, look for a company that has certifications. If the company is certified fair trade, then it is likely an ethical company.
Does the company give back to others and/or the environment?
Use of Sustainable Materials
Next, ethically-made products will usually have sustainable materials listed outright. If a company seems to not provide descriptive details of materials, processing, or other key sustainability factors, then the company might not be as ethical as it seems.
Fair trade and fair wages help people, especially people living in developed nations, escape poverty. This ethical treatment promotes a healthy planet and fair treatment around the world.
Does the company use materials in the manufacturer of its products that can be renewed, or do they end up in landfills?
Certifications Awarded for Sustainable Bedding
A major way to identify a sustainable brand is by searching through their certifications.
As mentioned earlier, there are many regulatory bodies helping consumers pursue sustainable living.
These certifications are listed below.
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certifies any company that utilizes pesticide-free organic textiles and fabrics, including organic cotton and organic wool. Any brand who claims to use organic cotton or wool should hold the GOTS stamp of approval.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can also certify a product or food as organic, such as organic cotton, and this term will be labeled as USDA organic.
The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), similar to GOTS certified organic, certifies any company that meets the materials and manufacturing standards for organic latex.
In order to qualify, a brand that uses organic latex must meet specific human health and safety, as well as environmental standards.
GreenGuard Gold Certified
GreenGuard is a rigorous, high-standard certification that tests mattresses for over 10,000 toxic chemicals.
This organization will only certify a company that uses bedding that minimizes chemical emissions, and less than 1% of mattress brands meet this standard.
This certification is prestigious and health-focused, and will only be awarded to a brand whose textiles are free from pesticides, heavy metals, allergenic dyes, and other damaging products.
This means an OEKO-TEX Certified brand has sheets, linen, fabric, and textiles that do not harm human skin.
The Eco-Institut Certification is awarded to any bedding that does not contain formaldehyde, pesticides, heavy metals, phthalates, or volatile organic compounds (VOCS).
Control Union Certified
The Control Union is Europe’s largest regulator of organic latex, ensuring the latex meets specific standards of ecological safety and human safety.
They test for carcinogens, and certify a brand that uses truly organic latex.
FSC Forest Stewardship Council Certified
To be FSC certified, brands must meet stringent standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
This council is committed to protecting forests and preventing deforestation, so it vets the processes used in growing materials, specifically wood, to be FSC certified.
Fair Trade Certified
Companies who only trade with ethical, high-standard manufacturers, will get this stamp of approval. To be fair trade, means that a company supports fair wages for workers.
Depicted by a tiny green frog on the log, Rainforest Alliance helps to assure consumers that wildlife hasn’t been harmed, and workers enjoy safe and dignified working conditions.
Arpico Certified Organic Latex
When you see Arpico latex as an ingredient, you can be assured that you have received the finest in all-natural, organic latex, and it is free from pesticides, dyes, adhesive, fillers, and other chemicals.
PlushBeds is a fair trade manufacturer and online retailer that makes eco-friendly, sustainable products. Our focus as a company is to provide a good night’s sleep to people while protecting the safety and integrity of the environment and our workers.
We are a multi-certified company, based in California, United States, that manufactures mattresses and bedding. We are one of the rare companies that is GOTS certified organic, GOLS, OEKO Tex certified, fair trade certified, and Control Union certified, and we hold many certifications for our product lines.
This commitment to eco-friendly, ethical products has allowed us to transparently prove our integrity to our customers.
Highlights of PlushBeds Sustainable Bedding Options
PlushBeds has a wide range of options to help you sleep better at night. As mentioned above, PlushBeds products are made with sustainability at the forefront.
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few options available from our eco-friendly bedding brand!
PlushBeds Linens, Sheets, Sheet Sets, Comforters, and Duvet Covers
- TENCEL Vegan Silk Sheet Sets
- Organic Cotton Sateen Sheet Sets
- French Linen Sheet Sets
- French Linen Duvet Covers
- Organic Cotton Sateen Duvet Covers
- Luxury Natural Wool Comforter
- PlushBeds Organic Shredded Latex pillows (GOLS Certified)
- Goose and Down Pillows
- Wool Pillows
- Memory Foam Pillows
PlushBeds Mattress Toppers
- PlushBeds Botanical Bliss organic latex mattress collection (GOLS Certified)
- PlushBeds Natural Bliss mattresses (GOTS certified organic cotton)
- Sofa Bed Mattresses and RV Mattresses
- All PlushBeds mattresses are tested and recertified to the GreenGuard Gold standard every 90 days
Link to Us!
If you found this article useful and shareable, please copy and paste the following into the html code of your website or blog:
Learn More About Going Green at the <a href="https://www.plushbeds.com/blogs/green-sleep/sustainable-bedding-buying-guide">PlushBeds Green Sleep Blog</a>.
*Please note that we DO NOT accept guest blog posts. Any inquiries into this will be respectfully left unanswered.
- Organic Mattresses - Why are They So Great?
- PlushBeds Holiday Gift Guide
- Is Latex Better or Memory Foam?
- What is the Healthiest Type of Mattress?
- Can a Mattress be Biodegradable?
- Shall I Buy a Natural or Organic Latex Mattress?
- Why are Hotel Beds so Comfortable?
- Introducing PlushBeds Healthy Child Mattresses
- Mother's Day Gift Guide 2022
- How To Sleep Comfortably with Fibromyalgia
- Tips for Sleeping on a Latex Mattress for the First Time
- How Long Should a Mattress Last?