Making a Smart Mattress Purchase: Find the Certifications, Read Labels, and Go Natural

(Guest post by Best Mattress Reviews)

 

Making a smart mattress purchase can be tough when the term “green mattress” doesn’t have a strict definition. Finding a sustainable option may take a little investigative work, but you can find a mattress with natural components that are biodegradable. Knowing the terms, looking for natural materials, and understanding sustainable mattress options will help you make a purchasing decision that leaves a smaller environmental footprint.

 

When “Green” Doesn’t Always Mean Green

Green isn’t the only mattress label that can be misleading. All-natural, organic, eco-friendly, and natural labels, too, may lead you to believe your mattress has a smaller impact on the environment than it does. Unfortunately, there are no established standards for what constitutes a “green mattress”, which means the mattress may be covered in a fabric made from organic cotton, but the whole mattress gets an organic label.

However, there are organizations that certify certain aspects of the mattress that help you wade through your choices. For example:

Eco-Institut is a German organization that looks for harmful emissions and chemical substances in textiles and building materials.

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) checks latex products and only certifies those that are 95% organically produced.

GreenGuard checks for harmful emissions in finished mattresses, though it doesn’t guarantee from odors once the mattress is removed from the packaging.

USDA Organic applies only to the raw materials used to make the mattress, but it’s a start.

Once you’ve checked the certifications, it’s time to take a close look at the label.

 

Importance of Natural Materials

Because of the complex nature of making a mattress, no mattress is 100% green or organic. It will have some synthetic components or have been through some manufacturing processes. However, you can find mattresses that are made of 60% to 90% natural or organic materials, which are more sustainable. If the mattress finds its way to a landfill, natural materials will break down eventually.  

Check labels for as many natural materials as possible including organic farming methods and harvesting of the raw materials. True green materials to watch for include:

• Natural latex (not synthetic, which is made from petrochemicals)

• Plant-based polyfoam and memory foam

• Organic wool and cotton fibers in the outer cover

• Fire socks made of wool, thistle, cotton, or Kevlar

A green mattress should not be treated with any chemical flame retardants. Instead, they should have a fire sock over the mattress made from natural materials like organic wool, cotton, or thistle. Kevlar fire socks are still considered green because they don’t go through any chemical treatment during manufacturing. Some mattresses are not treated with flame retardants nor do they use a fire sock. However, their materials burn slow enough that they still meet fire safety standards.

 

Sustainable Mattress Options

Beyond the manufacturing process, mattresses take up a lot of space in landfills. Their compaction rate is 400% less than other household items. To increase sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of your mattress, you might want to consider latex.

Natural latex mattresses start from rubber harvested from rubber trees. Once harvested, the rubber can either go through Dunlop or Talalay process to produce the latex. Dunlop latex is denser and goes through fewer chemical treatments than Talalay, but both are still considered sustainable latex. Natural latex is biodegradable, so even if it does end up in a landfill, it breaks down eventually.

Latex mattresses come with a high price, but they offer the most environmentally friendly choice. If a latex mattress is out of your price range, look for a mattress with as many natural, organic materials as possible and check for certifications that ensure environmentally and socially responsible practices.

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6 Ways to Make Everyday Life More Sustainable

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Everyone uses energy and consumes a variety of materials in everyday life. Unfortunately, this inflicts considerable harm upon our environment and makes our society unsustainable. The good news is that we all can work to improve the situation by taking a few relatively simple steps.

Packaging

1. Try to avoid instant meals that come in shrink-wrapped foam or plastic containers. You can find greener ways to cut the number of dishes that you need to wash, such as using the same mug for cereal and coffee.

2. Purchase food in bigger quantities. When compared to multiple smaller products, large items normally come in packages that contain less cardboard and plastic. Fresh vegetables and fruits often have little packaging as well.

Electrical

3. Think twice before buying devices that continually draw power, such as wall clocks or digital picture frames. Avoid smartphone-activated appliances; they constantly connect to the Internet and never stop consuming electricity.

4. When you want to purchase appliances or electronics, look for units that don’t have remote controls or built-in clocks. These models are more sustainable because they generally last longer and need less energy. They’re also less likely to require batteries.

Cleaning

5. If a food scrap or container has a strong odor even after you rinse it, keep it in the freezer until your kitchen wastebasket is nearly full. This will help you conserve garbage bags because you won’t have to take the trash out as often.

6. Use natural cleaning supplies when possible. Unlike foam products, cellulose sponges are biodegradable and come from renewable resources. You can also protect the ecosystem by replacing most synthetic cleaning sprays with a mixture of water and vinegar.

These tips highlight the fact that sustainability doesn’t have to be costly. Most of this advice actually reduces living expenses too. In addition to minimizing environmental harm, a more sustainable home will benefit your health and help to ensure that future generations can enjoy life on this planet.
At The Eco Laundry Company, we take actionable steps each and every day to ensure we’re also reducing our carbon footprint.

Are you interested in joining the movement? Learn more about our franchise opportunity and how you can launch a business that positively impacts our environment.

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Announcing Our Strategic Partnership with G-Star’s RAW for the Oceans

G-Star Raw for the Oceans

It’s a great week for The Eco Laundry Company!

We’re proud to share the news that our company is announcing a strategic partnership with international denim and fashion retailer G-Star RAW.

We will be offering free dry cleaning for life on any piece of clothing from G-Star’s RAW for the Oceans collection, a clothing line curated by Pharrell Williams and made with fabric spun from recycled ocean plastic.

When we learned more about RAW for the Oceans, we realized that we had to get involved. It’s a wonderful example of what happens when people come together to address a pressing environmental concern.

RAW for the Oceans is part of a long-term exploration to make a serious impact on the plastic pollution found in our oceans. It’s an ongoing collaborative project between G-Star RAW, Bionic Yarn and Parley for the Oceans—a group of artists, scientists, musicians, and designers dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans.

We’re thrilled to join this movement, offering free dry cleaning to anyone with items from the RAW for the Oceans collection. It’s easy: People can simply bring the garments in to be dry cleaned at The Eco Laundry Company any time during business hours. Our store is located at 249 W 18th St., New York, NY 10011.

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How We Celebrated Earth Day 2015 at The Eco Laundry Company

Earth DayLast week, The Eco Laundry Company commemorated the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, joining more than one billion people worldwide to pledge an act of green with the Earth Day Network.

For our part, we implemented a ‘Plant a Tree’ initiative at our New York location and vowed to plant a tree for every piece of clothing dry cleaned on Earth Day.

Thanks to our wonderful customers who supported us on Earth Day, we’re proud to say we’ll be planting 204 more trees in Madagascar through our charity partner WeForest. To date, The Eco Laundry Company has planted more than 3,500 trees through our ongoing tree planting initiative.

For those of you unfamiliar with WeForest, it is a global non-profit that restores the planet’s natural resources and brings about social justice by planting bio-diverse and indigenous forests in tropical countries. WeForest cools our climate and provides jobs for women so they can send their children to school.

Again, we wanted to personally thank all of our customers who helped us on Earth Day — and those who help us everyday — achieve our ultimate goal: to wash pants and save the world.

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Eco Laundry Company “Spills the Dirt” About Dry Cleaning Industry

Perc

When you drop off your clothes and receive your ticket at your local dry cleaners, do you ever wonder how your clothes get clean? Do you imagine your clothes being thrown in a huge washer and dryer, then ironed neatly, and voilà, your clothes magically appear underneath a crisp plastic cover?

You might be surprised to know that dry cleaning is a process that cleans clothes with a liquid solvent, and generally without water. Although this solvent does the job of cleaning the harshest stains out of the most delicate linens, this solvent contains an active ingredient that actually does more harm than good.

Perchloroethylene or “PERC” is a chemical solvent that accounts for 80 to 85 percent of all dry cleaning fluid used in the dry cleaning industry and is listed as a Group 2A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This solution is a clear, colorless liquid that has a sweet odor and evaporates quickly. PERC is an effective solvent that removes stains from all common types of fabrics, and because of its effective cleaning results, it is used by countless businesses throughout the dry cleaning and textile industries, including, most likely, the dry cleaner where you currently take your clothes.

The risk of exposure to PERC poses a real threat to human health and the overall environment. Contact with this chemical may occur through skin absorption, or breathing of the vapors or contact with the eyes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, breathing PERC for short periods of time can adversely affect the human nervous system. This chemical can harm the brain, damage the liver and kidneys, and is believed to be a cause of cancer.

According to Cancer.org, some studies of people exposed to PERC at work (dry cleaning workers, workers at a chemical company, and workers in aircraft maintenance) found more cases than expected of certain cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, kidney, cervix, and bladder, as well as lymphomas. These harsh effects are not just limited to people who work in dry-cleaning plants and businesses. Exposure can occur simply by bringing clothes cleaned with this chemical into your home. If you’ve had any garments dry cleaned lately, this toxic substance may be absorbed through your skin.

PERC can also cross the placenta and be found in breast milk. This is very alarming because it can harm the fetus and newborns through maternal exposure. Once PERC is in the body it can be stored in fat tissue.

In addition to the threat to your health, exposure to PERC is just as dangerous, if not more so, to the environment. The air, water and ground can easily become contaminated by PERC during the cleaning, and waste disposal stages of dry cleaning. PERC run-off has been shown to be toxic to plants, as well as to aquatic animals, with toxins stored in the animals’ fatty tissues, ultimately causing kidney and liver cancer. Even worse, perhaps, is that the greens or fish you eat may have come into contact with this dangerous substance.

The Eco Laundry Company does not take this issue lightly. In fact, we are tackling this controversial subject head-on by protecting our customers and the planet from PERC by utilizing ‘effective microorganism’ technology, which makes dry cleaning completely safe by neutralizing any chemicals involved in the process.

Our mission is to lead by example, educate our customers about sustainable business practices and pave the way for a cleaner more conscious industry.

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