Americans get rid of around 20 million mattresses and box springs each year. That’s 450 million pounds of waste. Mattresses are overtaking landfills as technology gets more advanced and people replace their beds more often. Mattresses take up over 100 million cubic feet of space in landfills each year.
Getting rid of an old mattress can seem like a real hassle. It can feel like it’s easier just to throw it away. But landfills are bursting at the seams with old mattresses. There’s a better way to get rid of your bed –– recycle it! Did you know that 80% of your mattress can be recycled?
But before you dispose of your old mattress, you will need a new one. And how about you pick one that is better for the environment? In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to dive into eco-friendly and organic mattress options, their health benefits, and why you should consider switching to one.
What Does Eco-Friendly Even Mean?
Put simply, something that is eco-friendly does not harm the environment with the production of the product or what’s inside it. As we continue to make, use and dispose of mattresses, the carbon footprint of the mattress industry continues to grow. FIRA International Ltd took a look at the carbon footprints of furniture products in a recent study.
The artificial foam and fillings take up most of the carbon footprint of a traditional double mattress inside the mattresses, followed by the textiles and metal. Eco-friendly and natural mattresses have smaller carbon footprints since they use different materials and production means.
“With the onset of different environmental challenges and climate change, I believe that organic mattresses and eco-friendly pillows can contribute to the reduction of textile pollution,” says Dr. Ryan Smith, medical practitioner and biochemist.
There are no government regulations for determining what makes an eco-friendly mattress. Instead, organizations provide certifications through independent testing. Each certification means something completely different, and you’ll want to know the difference when it comes time to compare mattresses.
- CertiPUR-US –– If you’re looking for a foam mattress, you’ll want to keep an eye out for CertiPUR-US. It makes sure that the foam in the bed doesn’t have harmful chemicals or heavy metals. The volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions are also under 0.5 parts per million.
- eco-INSTITUT –– With this certification, the mattress underwent testing to ensure it meets higher safety levels for emissions and pollution control than legally required.
- Made Safe –– This certification means that the mattress has been screen for any toxic chemicals.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) –– The mattress is made with over 95% certified organic raw latex that was sourced from certified organic plantations.
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) –– The mattress is made with 70-95% organic fibers. Additionally, the production of the mattress also meets specific environmental criteria.
- Greenguard –– Chemical emission standards have been met. A Greenguard Gold certification puts the mattress through additional health-based criteria beyond just the standard Greenguard certification.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to pay attention to what’s on the label. Don’t just take “eco-friendly” at face value. There have been instances of companies “greenwashing” their products. Meaning they are labeling it as “green” with no evidence to back it up. Another thing to watch out for is a company certifying their own products.
Ways To Identify The Best Green Mattresses Makers
That said, you can trust most companies when they label their products as organic or eco-friendly. It’s just important to know what it means to make sure you’re getting the certification you can about.
When you’re shopping for your mattress, it’s worth doing a bit of research into the company. These things will help you determine if they’re actually a green mattress company:
- Its mattresses have independent, third-party certifications.
- The details of the mattress are easy to find. Transparency is key when it comes to organic or eco-friendly options. You need to find exactly what’s inside and how it was made without too much digging. The most transparent companies will list natural materials like cotton, wool or natural latex. Materials like memory foam or polyurethane only tell you so much.
- The company has a good track record. They don’t cut corners and regularly give back.
Best Organic and Eco-Friendly Mattress Options
As we mentioned, an actual eco-friendly or organic mattress is going to tell you exactly what’s in it. When you’re shopping, you’ll be able to sort through the best natural and organic mattress options by their materials and certifications.
Avocado Green Mattress –– Avocado Green is one of the most popular natural/organic mattresses on the market. It’s a fabric-encased hybrid mattress with recycled steel coils and 100% GOLS certified organic latex. It’s also available in a vegan option.
My Green Mattress Natural Escape Mattress –– Made from natural foam, organic cotton, and New Zealand wool, this natural mattress is affordable. It’s also antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, making it a really good option for allergy sufferers.
Awara Mattress –– One of the most affordable eco-friendly mattress options out there, the Awara has multiple certifications. It’s made with natural Dunlop latex from rubber trees and organic wool from New Zealand.
Eco-Friendly Bedding Accessories
Eco-friendly choices don’t have to stop after you’ve chosen your mattress. Living green is a lifestyle. You can choose sheets, pillows, comforters and towels that are eco-friendly as well. Here are some of the best-known natural brands and our favorite products from them. The list goes on and on!
- Naturepedic –– Organic 2-in-1 Adjustable Latex Pillow
- Alterra –– Organic Cotton Sheets
- Holy Lamb Organics –– Certified Organic Wool Comforter
- Boll & Branch –– Plush Bath Towel Set
- Buffy –– Plushy Mattress Protector
What Does Eco-Friendly Mean For YOUR Sleep?
Besides being a better alternative for the environment, there are several health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Eco-friendly pillows and mattresses are allergen-free and often chemical-free. They are extremely durable and comfortable, reducing stiffness in muscles and contributing to a relaxing touch,” says Dr. Smith.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Mattresses
Hypoallergenic –– For those with allergies or respiratory issues, organic mattresses can offer relief.
Air quality –– Air quality is an important factor for your bedroom. There are VOCs present in polyurethane and plastics in traditional mattresses. When you’re sleeping, your body heat increases the emissions of these harmful VOCs. Choosing an organic mattress will keep you away from toxins or VOCs that can be found in other options.
Fire retardant –– Given natural mattresses don’t have any chemicals, they are naturally fire-resistant. When shopping for children, you’ll want to keep in mind this unique feature.
Temperature regulation –– The organic cotton, wool and natural latex used in eco-friendly mattresses are known to keep a consistent and comfortable temperature.
What To Do With Your Old Mattress
Regardless if your mattress is eco-friendly or not, disposing of an old mattress is a task we all dread. It’s true that it isn’t quite as easy as tossing it in your trash can; it’s still pretty simple and doesn’t require much effort or money. Here are some of the most popular ways to get rid of your old mattress.
Most of the materials in your mattress can be recycled. So don’t just dump it off on the side of the road. Resources like Earth911 or Bye Bye Mattress can help you locate the nearest recycling center. States like California, Connecticut and Rhode Island started adding a recycling fee to the cost of your mattress in 2016. So when the time comes to get a new bed, you can drop your old one off for free.
Mattress retailer disposal
If you don’t have the means to take your mattress to a recycling center, some retailers offer mattress disposal when they deliver a new bed. Some retailers like Loom & Leaf will do it for free, while others like Tomorrow Sleep will pick it up for a fee.
When it comes time to replace your mattress, you do have the option to donate it. Salvation Army accepts mattress donations that are in good condition –– no rips, stains or holes. Habitat For Humanity has the resources to restore mattresses and box springs. Which means they will have less strict donation limits. The requirements will vary by location, so make sure you do your research before dropping it off.
Organizations to keep in mind:
As a last resort: throw it away
While we don’t recommend throwing your mattress away, we realize that some mattresses are beyond help. If this is the case, contacting your local waste management facility is your best option. Some companies will pick up waste for free, while others will do it for a fee.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
Eco-friendly mattresses have numerous benefits for both your health and the environment. The natural and organic materials made will help you reduce your carbon footprint and protect your health. The best part is, brands like Avocado offer mattresses that are affordable, so a green lifestyle isn’t out of reach for anyone.