Best Green Mattress Choices

Here is a guest article about the merits of two types of green mattress, latex and natural cotton.

Guest article by 

How To Choose An Eco Friendly Mattress

Is latex or futon the best choice of green mattress?

It is not uncommon to see an old mattress in the dump yard. Every household has at least two mattresses and these go in the dump yard once they are discarded.

The problem with mattresses is that they are difficult to recycle. There are lots of mattress recycling tips but not all of us have the creativity or the interest to do those things. Most recycling centres also do not accept regular spring beds because they are difficult to recycle.

a quality green mattress

Now that we understand the perils our world will have to endure when we are populated with discarded mattresses, we have to think about choosing an eco friendly mattress.

This type of bedroom furniture is easier to recycle because it lacks the usual chemicals incorporated in other mattresses. In addition to that, the natural and organic materials in a green mattress allows it to decompose easier when it is discarded.

This leads us to two choices — latex mattresses and futon mattresses. Both can be considered as "green" mattresses.

But which one is actually better?

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Why Choose Latex Mattresses?

Latex is taken from rubber tree sap. This is the same raw materials used in making tires and gloves. However, this type of mattress follows a different manufacturing procedure.

There are two ways of producing latex beds. They are the Talalay and Dunlop manufacturing methods. Talalay is often preferred by mattress companies because it produces foams that are softer and more comfortable. Dunlop's method produces a firmer product, so this is often used as a base material for mattresses.

A typical latex bed can last for up to 20 years. Its durability surpasses the other types of mattress because latex material is really durable to begin with. It is one of the most resilient materials used in manufacturing mattresses today. Because this is a natural material, the mattresses manufactured are more eco friendly*. It can easily decompose when you dispose of it and it can be easily recycled in recycling centres.

What makes this kind of green mattress even more appealing is the fact that it lessens your risks of developing skin rashes. The absence of  harmful and toxic chemicals make this mattress a better choice for babies and adults with chemical sensitivity.

*See below for more about the environmental credential of latex.

Why Choose Futon Mattresses?

This type of mattress actually encourages minimalist-style living. Japanese people prefer this over big and bulky mattresses. A futon is usually made up of cotton and wool which makes it easier to dispose of at the end of its life. The mattress is also flatter than an average mattress so it does not make use of a lot of materials and foams.

Its use of fewer materials makes it a good choice for people concerned with the environment. What is great about this type of mattress is that the manufacturing process does not consume so much fossil fuel.

If you are using the traditional futon, you won’t even need a bed frame for it. You are lessening wood consumption which may subsequently preserve trees in the forest.

Using either type of mattress helps in preserving our natural resources. It all comes down to the style of comfort that you prefer. For those people who prefer a real bed with bed frames, a latex mattresses might prove to be a better choice of green mattress.

A futon mattress provides better back support for lower back pain sufferers. Today, you can also find futon mattresses with frames. There are even convertible futon mattresses that can be transformed into a sofa during the day. This might be a convenient choice of eco friendly mattress for people with space constraints.


Zach Smith is the creator of the website



Postscript on latex mattresses and the environment

While it is nice to think that all natural latex might be a very green mattress option, the truth is not quite so simple.

Latex incorporates other materials in the production process, usually petroleum derivatives. This is necessary to produce a firm and lasting product. There are also synthetic varieties of latex now on the market. Latex can easily be confused with the increasingly popular memory foam, which uses some quite unpleasant chemicals in its manufacture. 

The rubber industry has a long way to go to be considered green and sustainable; some rubber plantations are developed on ancient rainforest sites, damaging biodiversity and local wildlife in the process.

Many sites in south east Asia are now suffering environmental degradation in the shape of increased pollution, erosion, landslides and run off from pesticides and fertilisers. Quite a catalogue of problems! 

Going green with a good green mattress

So, the message is don't compromise your green ideals by buying a poor quality mattress: take a look at the benefits of good quality latex mattresses or natural cotton futons.

There's certainly an element of enlightened self-interest in this approach. You are less likely to suffer from back problems and chances are your mattress will last for a few years more than the less sustainable option which ticks the budget price box.

If you opt for an eco-friendly green mattress you will probably sleep like a baby as your conscience will be clear and your back will be comfortable. That sounds like an excellent deal to me.

If you have any comments on green mattresses, either for health or sustainability please contact us or use the Add Your Tips button on the nav bar. Thank you!

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