Green mattress labels can range from “all-natural” and “organic” to “eco-friendly” and “green.” In an industry, like the mattress industry, that lacks established standards and definitions of these terms, these labels may apply to only one part and not the entire mattress. That begs questioning how biodegradable is a green mattress?
However, by taking a good look at the materials and certifications of the mattress, you can make a good guess about how biodegradable it is.
Materials and Mattress Types that Improve Biodegradability
First off, now, there’s no mattress on the market that’s 100 percent biodegradable. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some that come close. Mattresses with better biodegradability may contain:
Natural Latex: If you want a mattress that’s as biodegradable as possible, it will have to be made of natural latex. Derived from the sap of the rubber tree. Therefore natural latex goes through one of two processes to create a latex foam that’s comfortable, durable, and relatively biodegradable. These mattresses will leave behind a milky, white film so they’re not as biodegradable as a banana peel or apple core. However they’re infinitely better than the alternatives.
Organic Fibers in the Mattress Cover: So Organic fibers like cotton and wool are friendlier to the environment and unlike their synthetic counterparts, will breakdown over time.
Fire Socks: Fire socks are a chemical-free answer to strict mattress flammability standards. Wool, cotton, and thistle are commonly used to make biodegradable fire socks.
Plant-based Foams: We want to mention plant-based foams even though they aren’t biodegradable. As well, Plant oils, instead of chemicals, used to make this type of mattress foam. Therefore, while the foam itself isn’t biodegradable, it’s friendlier to the environment. It thereby reduces harmful off-gassing.
Of the mattress types available – innerspring, foam, hybrid, and latex – natural latex mattresses are the only biodegradable option. Of course, even natural latex mixing with synthetic latex and other products, but it’s the best option at this time.
The other types of mattresses may have some green components such as an organic cover or fire sock and/or some latex foam. But, they will still have some synthetic components that simply won’t breakdown.
Check Certifications When Mattress Shopping