What Are Sustainable Mattresses and How to Choose the Right One for You
As the awareness around climate change grows and many people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, more and more are switching to sustainable products in every area of their lives.
Surveys confirm this demand has increased significantly in the last few years. Today, 90% of consumers are willing to spend more on sustainable products (compared to just 34% a few years ago).
Broadly, sustainability means the ability to meet our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. That means minimizing harm to the environment and aiming to maintain long-term ecological balance.
So what does sustainability mean in the mattress and bedding world?
Sustainable mattress companies are those committed to producing their mattresses in a way that minimizes harm to the environment. And a sustainable mattress is one that's made with organic and natural materials in a way that does minimal harm to the environment.
But how can you make sure a given company is really committed to producing sustainable mattresses—and what are the best sustainable mattresses out there? We explain it all below.
What is a sustainable mattress?
A sustainable mattress has all or most of the following characteristics:
- A sustainable mattress has no harmful chemicals used in the growing process. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are extremely harmful to the environment. The best sustainable mattress will be made with organic materials that are grown without these toxic chemicals. For example, an organic latex mattress is one of the best sustainable mattresses because the latex it's made from is sourced from rubber trees grown without pesticides.
- A sustainable mattress has no chemical flame retardants. By law, all mattresses must be able to withstand 30 minutes of exposure to an open flame. To meet that standard, mattress companies often use chemical flame retardants, many of which are extremely toxic. A sustainable mattress will use natural flame retardants instead, such as thistle or wool (which is what we use in our Saatva Latex Hybrid mattress). Both of these fire barriers are chemical-free and nontoxic.
- A sustainable mattress might contain recycled materials. If a mattress contains recycled materials it also significantly reduces its carbon footprint. For instance, Saatva’s innerspring mattress is made with recycled steel support coils.
- A sustainable mattress is manufactured locally. Cutting the distance the mattress has to travel between factory and consumer significantly cuts emissions and therefore reduces its carbon footprint.
- The best sustainable mattresses are long-lasting and durable. As with anything, the longer you can use your mattress, the better it is for the environment. Most mattresses will last you seven to 10 years. But a high-quality natural latex mattress, on the other hand, can last up to 25 years without losing its quality. This makes it much more sustainable. (Here's what you need to know about vegan mattresses.)
How to make sure you're choosing a sustainable mattress
To ensure you’re buying a sustainable mattress, it's helpful to look for several certifications.
If you’re looking for an organic latex mattress, for example, check for a Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certification. GOLS is an organization that monitors and certifies organic latex producers, and its standards are extremely stringent.
Besides farming practices, it monitors materials sourcing, Fair Trade practices, and wastewater treatment, thereby fully supervising the social and environmental impact of latex production.
Other certifications, like CertiPUR-US, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), GreenGuard, OEKO-TEX, and eco-INSTITUT, can ensure the general nontoxicity of other materials in the mattress.
Another thing you can do is check if the manufacturer is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). SFC is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers, and designers committed to expanding the adoption of sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry and helping companies reduce their carbon footprint. (Here's how to adopt more sustainable habits in the bedroom.)
What mattress is most environmentally friendly?
The most sustainable mattress is one made from nontoxic materials, manufactured locally, and that has third-party certifications showing it meets strict safety and emissions standards.
How do you sustainably buy a mattress?
Buying a locally produced mattress from a company that's a member of the SFC is a great way to ensure you’re getting a sustainable mattress. You should also look for third-party certifications like GOLS, GOTS, GreenGuard, CertiPUR-US, OEKO-TEX, and eco-INSTITUT.
Are any mattresses biodegradable?
A biodegradable mattress is one made from natural materials. Polyester and memory foam aren't biodegradable. Natural latex, cotton, and wool are.
What is the healthiest type of mattress?
It depends on what you mean by “healthiest.” Both latex and memory foam mattresses have properties that make them good for your health.
Both are antimicrobial, making them resistant to mold and allergens, and both promote proper spinal alignment, ensuring quality sleep and spinal health for years to come.
However, natural latex mattresses are healthier for the environment—and therefore more sustainable—than memory foam.
Saatva’s commitment to sustainability
Our innerspring mattresses, meanwhile, use coils made of recycled steel. (Saatva’s luxury innerspring mattress was even previously named Sustainability Product of the Year by the SFC.)
Additionally, our mattresses come with organic cotton covers and use natural plant-based thistle and GOTS-certified New Zealand wool as flame retardants.
Plus, All our mattresses are manufactured locally—we even have a solar-powered factory—which allows us to further scale our environmental efforts.
Find the best sustainable mattress at Saatva
Ready to find the best sustainable mattress for you? Take our mattress quiz to see which one of our mattresses is ideal for you. All of our mattresses come with a 365-night home trial and lifetime warranty so you can try one out before deciding if it's right for you.