Not All Certifications Are Created Equal: Mattress Edition
We all want to be as environmentally friendly as we possibly can, but there’s one place that you might not have thought about – your bedroom. Specifically, the mattress you sleep on every night. If you’re looking at this post, I’m guessing you’re looking for a new one.
Did you know that there are some mattresses that are greener than others? There are! Some mattresses are even biodegradable. Choosing the right green mattress depends on your needs. You can also recycle your current bed, depending on where you live, to lessen your carbon footprint.
Although we all love being “green,” when it comes to mattresses, there are very few certifications that actually mean anything on the package.
“Organic” & “Green”
These labels more or less mean nothing when it comes to mattresses, unfortunately.
Even though the USDA does some testing for the organic label, there are some issues. The organic label only applies to the raw agricultural product.
One part of the mattress may have been grown organically – the cotton cover, for example, but the rest may have been manufactured in a way that isn’t organic.
CertiPUR-US is an organization formed by members of the foam industry that has a protocol that tests for harmful materials or emissions. This certification is useful for assessing any mattresses using polyurethane foam.
Eco-Institut is a German organization that tests for hazardous emissions and substances in building products and textiles. It’s usually used by mattress companies that use latex and similar textiles in their products.
The Global Organic Textile Standard provides certification for organic fibers and is a little more expansive in its coverage that the USDA’s organic certification. It includes elements of both environmental and social sustainability in its testing. It’s sister organization Global Organic Latex Standard does similar testing for latex materials.
The Global Recycled Standard focuses on ensuring that materials that are labeled “recycled” were done so in a fashion that took environmental sustainability into account.
OEKO-TEX® is a group of 18 independent textile research and test institutes in Europe and Japan and their worldwide representative offices. There are two certifications you might see with the OEKO-TEX® label — The Standard 100 and Made in Green certifications.
The Standard 100 applies to “raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products,” and does rigorous testing to ensure that harmful chemicals – even ones that haven’t been regulated yet – are not used in the creation of those textiles.
The Made in Green label tests for those harmful substances, and also focuses on the sustainability of the processes used to create a product such as a mattress. This label aims to ensure that all products are “made from materials tested for harmful substances and that have been manufactured by using environmentally friendly processes and under safe and socially responsible working conditions.”
Hopefully, this guide will help you decide on the right mattress for you and your environment.