Published on January 30th, 2018 | by Andrea Bertoli
A More Sustainable Bedroom with Avocado Green Mattress
I’ve long considered myself a very conscious consumer, but when I started researching more sustainable solutions for the bedroom, I was pretty surprised by what I found.
I had a vague notion that conventional mattresses were not great, but I was pretty surprised to find that most are actually pretty terrible for us.
What are the Problems with Traditional Mattresses?
Mattresses are a big purchase for most families, and because of their hefty price tag they often necessitate a longer shopping process.
If you’ve bought a mattress before, you’ve probably wandered into some showrooms, bounced on some beds that the salesperson suggested (and maybe felt really awkward doing it!), and tested out firmness, size, and options for the mattresses in your price range.
You probably talked about coils, pillow tops, and warranties, but most likely the salesperson is not going to explain what the bed is made of. And there is a good reason for that.
Mother Jones author Hannah Wallace explains it most succinctly: “The place where you spend one-third of your life is chock-full of synthetic materials, some potentially toxic.”
In the same article, she talks about how mattresses are usually made of polyurethane foam. This ingredient is a petroleum product, and is known to give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most mattresses are also made with formaldehyde, used in the adhesives for the bed.
Formaldehyde has been linked to asthma, allergies, and lung, nose, and throat cancers. Memory foam is also problematic: it’s made from polyurethane and releases formaldehyde and benzene into the environment.
And then there are the fire retardants. Fire retardants are used to make sure the bed can survive a fire, and not surprisingly, these are often quite toxic substances that might cause an allergic or sensitivity reaction in people.
Empowered Sustenance mentions a few components of fire retardants that might be of concern for you: boric acid, rayon treated with silica, melamine resin, which contains formaldehyde, and PCDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) (click the link to get all the details of why these chemicals are not good for us).
And finally, don’t forget the fabric used to wrap the beds. Most outer materials for mattresses are made from polyester (also a petroleum by-product) and conventional cotton, which is one of the most heavily sprayed crops.
Literally everything about conventional mattresses are bad for your sleep, bad for the land, and bad for farmworkers, too. So what’s a savvy consumer to do?
Why Should you Choose a Natural Mattress?
If you think you’re ready to sleep more sustainably, it’s important to know that not all labels can be trusted. Just because a mattress is labeled organic or natural, doesn’t mean that it actually lives up to its name. Just like ‘natural’ doesn’t mean anything on food labels, it doesn’t mean much for bedding, either. Food that is labeled as ‘organic’ is third-party verified, and your bedding should be too.
Consumer Reports has a guide that looks at the labels you need to look for when shopping for your next mattress. Primarily, you want to see third-party certifications. These are outside organizations that have verifiable standards for industries.
Consumer Reports says the best labeling is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and, for mattresses that contain latex, the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). These labels ensure that at least 95% of the materials are certified organic, and it limits what goes into that other 5%; the same for GOLS – it has to be 95% organic latex.
The second best option is to look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. This doesn’t mean that the contents are organic, but it does set limits for chemicals, VOCs, and flame retardants that the bed can contain.
Why I Chose Avocado Green Mattress for My Bedroom
Luckily, there are more natural bedding options than ever before on the market. One of the companies that piqued my interest is Avocado Green Mattress. This is a California-based company that makes mattresses ‘fresh’ (aka, made to order), and by multiple accounts, they seem to be doing business right, which is super important to me.
One of the things I like about Avocado Green Mattress is that their natural and organic mattress components follow the certifications mentioned above
- eco-INSTITUT certified
- 100% natural Dunlop latex from tree-tapped and sustainable sources;
- OEKO-TEK Standard 100 certified natural New Zealand wool
- GOTS certified organic cotton
It’s really important to me to use products throughout my home created by brands that have made a commitment to creating good products that are likewise good for the planet. But these products also have to work well and be awesome once they arrive. And my mattress could not be more delicious.
I’ve been sleeping on my mattress for about a month now, and it’s truly delightful. I ordered the optional pillow top (ideal for side sleepers like me), and it’s not a squishy, sink-into-the-fluff kinda pillowtop that makes you feel like you’re drowning in clouds. Rather, it’s an extra layer of solid comfort.
The mattress feels temperature regulating, and I’ve slept through warm and cool nights easily (the weather has been pretty wacky here in Honolulu the past month). It’s very firm while also being deeply comfortable; I feel like I can just kinda melt into my bed since it’s so comfy and I know it’s so healthy!
Green Living Ideas readers can get a discount using a special code: click here to get shopping! For the month of February, use discount code POTUS for $150 off your mattress. I hope that you too decide to enjoy this natural beauty and comfort that is Avocado Green Mattress.
Disclosure: Avocado Green Mattress sent me a mattress for review, but this is the item I wanted to purchase anyway. Of course, all opinions are my own.