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
Even among latex mattresses, biodegradability can range from 40 to 95 percent. Certifications by independent organizations can help you know whether you’re buying a biodegradable product. When choosing a biodegradable mattress, of course, you need a model that’s but also look for these certifications:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): The GOTS certification assures that all organic fibers, both raw materials and their derivatives, used in the mattress , made with at least 70 percent certified organic fibers. There are also strict standards about the materials included in the remaining 30 percent.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS):
GOLS certifications are only found on latex products. To receive this certification, the mattress is made of at least 95 percent organically produced latex. There are no restrictions on the remaining 5 percent of the product. Natural latex mattresses can have both a GOTS and GOLS certification.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic/National Organic Program (NOP):
To receive the USDA organic label, certain raw materials used to make the mattress produced organically.
While there’s a limited number of biodegradable mattresses or natural latex on the market. In conclusion, the demand for this type of mattress has created a change in the industry. Finally, environmentally conscious manufacturers continue to search for ways to increase the biodegradability of their products. Therefore, as long as there’s demand, their efforts will continue.