Sustainable Bedding Guide

17 Sustainable Bedding Brands That Will Help You Sleep Better

You’ve changed what you wear and what you eat. But how about sustainable bedding for where you sleep?

We spend one-third of our lives in bed, so shouldn’t it be a safe, non-toxic zone? 

Whether from fertilizers, pesticides or chemical fire retardants, traditional mattresses and conventional cotton bed linen release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. These include formaldehyde, toluene, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry repeated, long-term, exposure to these chemicals can result in serious effects. These can include a range of issues including seizures, cognitive impairment, hearing loss, liver damage, thyroid, and reproductive issues. 

The good news is that there are many companies and products redefining our concept of sustainable bedding. And the rise in direct-to-consumer bedding brands translates to higher quality goods for fairer prices, from sheet sets made with chemical and cruelty-free manufacturing and biodegradable-fill comforters to certified-organic mattresses and fair-trade pillows. For the consumer, the benefits are manifold. You get safer and healthier products. You have peace of mind thanks to clear traceability and certification standards. And you get the satisfaction of making a positive impact on the livelihoods of farmers and the environment. 

Our guide walks you through the process of researching and buying bedding that doesn’t compromise your health or the planet’s.

Sustainable Bedding
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Can Mattresses Be Sustainable?

The short answer is yes. But manufacturers take different approaches to delivering a sustainable mattress at the right price. If the materials are 100% organic, a mattress may be prohibitively expensive. Or a mattress may be 100% biodegradable but the shipping distance worryingly long. Inform yourself of the trade-offs so that you arrive at the environmental outcome you want.

These are some factors to consider when judging the sustainability of a mattress. 

1. Company supply chain

What is the distance materials are shipped before and after the manufacturing process?

Ideally your sustainable mattress company will assemble its product in the same country it sells in. Shorter shipping distances reduce CO2 emissions. If this isn’t the case, are shipping and manufacturing emissions with carbon credits or programs, such as reforestation? Several environmentally responsible companies now sell “mattresses-in-a-box.” These are delivered in a small container and expand, thus reducing transportation load and overall product cost.

2. Recyclable mattress materials

The use of recyclable materials in a sustainable mattress is key. Materials such as cotton and latex are 100% biodegradable. However, it is also important to check the recyclability of packaging materials on the mattress maker’s website. To ensure your unwanted mattress doesn’t end up in a landfill, do look for a responsible recycling company.

3. Company philosophy

Another key factor determining the sustainability of a mattress is how it is manufactured and disposed of. Does the mattress maker have a donation programme for returned mattresses? Do they plant a tree per purchase? Do they partner with a relevant charity?  The company philosophy should align with your key values.

4. Certifications

Mattress makers may consider and market themselves as sustainable. Without official verification, how can consumers be sure?  For peace of mind, we recommend checking the product specifications for any (or all) of these certifications prior to purchase.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

GOTS covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading, and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibers.

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

GOLS products must contain more than 95% certified organic raw material and comply with permissible limits for harmful substances, emission test requirements, and polymer and filler percentages.

CertiPUR-US

The CertiPUR-US seal ensures the mattress foam is made without chemical flame retardants, mercury and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates. CertiPUR-US also reviews new mattresses for low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

eco-INSTITUT

eco-INSTITUT certification measures mattress emissions, and examines the sources of latex, which is harvested from rubber trees.

OEKO-TEX Standard 100

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification ensures that no harmful chemicals are produced by the manufacturing process or included in the end product.

GREENGUARD Gold

GREENGUARD Gold certification validates that a mattress does not exceed the emission standards for VOCs.

Sustainable Bedding
Photo by Jennifer Chen on Unsplash

Sustainable Textiles 

Choosing the most sustainable bed linens can be confusing. Brands can describe their products as eco, green, environmentally friendly and / or organic. But they may have still been treated with chemical dyes or are not 100% biodegradable.

Here we explore the sustainability credentials of the key organic materials and the certifications to look out for.

1. Organic Cotton

Conventional cotton is a natural fibre that biodegrades but it is also one of the most environmentally demanding crops. Figures from the 2020 United Nations Environment Programme suggest it takes between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans. Plus, conventional cotton production accounts for one-sixth of all pesticides used globally; a 2008 World Health Organisation report showed that in developing countries approximately 20,000 individuals die of cancer and suffer miscarriages as a result of chemicals sprayed on conventional cotton. See more in our “sustainable fashion” article.

By contrast, organic cotton is grown and processed without any chemicals, including pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic cotton certifications also consider the health of cotton farmers. It makes sure they are treated and paid fairly, and work in safe, hygienic conditions. Organic cotton farming also requires significantly less water and energy than traditional cotton.  

Certifications to check for : Better Cotton Standard, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-Tex 100, Bluesign, USDA-Certified Organic

2. Organic Hemp

One of the oldest fibers around and is one of the most eco-friendly. It requires 50% less water than even organic cotton and no pesticides. Plus, for every tonne of hemp produced, 1.63 tonnes of carbon are removed from the air. This makes hemp a much more effective sequester of C02 than trees. The roots of the hemp plant grow up 9 feet deep, holding soil together and preventing erosion. It’s also excellent at temperature regulation, both in hot and cold climates and has natural UV protective properties. 

Like linen, hemp sheets are highly absorbent and breathable, which help to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Hemp is also incredibly strong; it has 8 times the tensile strength and 4 times the durability of cotton. It is naturally hypoallergenic, antiviral and antibacterial. Because of this, it is an excellent choice for asthma and allergy sufferers.

Certifications: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-Tex 100,  Bluesign, USDA-Certified Organic

3. Organic Linen

Linen is a beautiful fabric with a unique texture created by the slubbiness of its threads. Its crumpled look is elegant and intentional (so no ironing)! Organic linen is nearly identical in sustainable growth and manufacturing and fabric properties as hemp but instead derived from the flax plant.

Flax fibres are different to cotton in that they have a hollow core. Because of this, linen fabric is able to absorb a large amount of moisture without feeling wet, and dries quickly, making the fabric very comfortable against the skin. It has fantastic insulation properties, helping you to keep cool in summer and warm in winter, and is naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial. 

Certifications: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-Tex 100, Bluesign, USDA-Certified Organic

4. Organic Bamboo

In raw, unprocessed form, organic bamboo is one of the fastest renewing plants on earth as it can be harvested without killing the core plant. It also requires only natural rainfall to grow and consumes more carbon dioxide than hardwood trees. 

Super soft, bamboo fabric is luxuriously soft and silky, the absorption, wicking and ventilation properties of bamboo are superior to that of cotton, helping you stay drier. As well, they are breathable and thermal regulating.  Like linen and hemp, bamboo fabric is hypoallergenic and antibacterial – perfect for those who suffer from sensitive skin or eczema. Plus, bamboo needs no more than a 30 degree wash, dries in half the time of cotton and resists wrinkling.

But a word of caution: it is imperative to check the production methods of your organic bamboo product before you buy. It can either be one of the most sustainable fibers or the least. 

Certifications for Organic Bamboo in raw form: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-Tex 100, Bluesign, USDA-Certified Organic

5. Organic Latex

For eco and vegan mattresses and pillows, you’ll find organic latex is most common.

Natural latex comes from the milky sap harvested from the rubber tree. There are two famous production processes for making latex foam: Dunlop and Talalay. Both involve whipping up rubber sap into froth and steam baking it. But the Talalay process also freezes the latex foam in a vacuum chamber, consuming additional energy, which is something to take into consideration. Some mattress brands will claim that they are “natural”, but this does not mean that their mattresses are purely natural latex. They may be blended with synthetic latex, created from the polymerisation of petroleum.

Organic latex is a form of natural latex, but with an organic seal of approval. Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certification ensures the rubber trees which were grown to meet organic practices and the whole manufacturing process was sustainable and eco-friendly. 

Rubber can be sustainaly produced without clearing natural forests. When done responsibly, rubber production increases biodiversity and carbon sequestration, and reduces carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. As with bamboo, it’s important to check a company’s rubber production credentials before making your purchase. This is typically noted on the brand’s website. If not, call or email to verify.

Certifications: Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), eco-INSTITUT

Sustainable Bedding
Boll & Branch

17 Sustainable Bedding Brands

1. Devon Duvets 

Handcrafted at their Devon workshops, the Botanic duvet range is the only product of its kind registered by the Vegan Society. It’s been tried and tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute, featured in Good Housekeeping magazine. And, it won an award as “Best Summer Duvet” in the UK media. Unlike many bamboo duvets, the TENCEL™Lyocell is fully traceable in terms of source, DNA identification and fibre processing. This guarantees the consumer a 100% organic and sustainable product. With a smooth drape and silky-smooth texture, this duvet is 100% biodegradable too.

Find out more here.

2. Ecosophy

The first UK brand to offer certified organic linen bedding, Ecosophy’s organic flax is grown by a handful of pioneering farms in France. It’s woven by machine at a GOTS-certified mill in Portugal then dyed using low-impact GOTS-approved dyes. Slubby, elegant and sustainable, the set includes one duvet cover, one fitted sheet and two housewife pillow cases

Find out more here.

3. American Blossom Linens

American Blossom Linens is the only bedding brand made completely in the USA with 100% USA Organic Cotton grown by family farmers in West Texas. These eco-friendly and chemical-free pillow-cases are woven to last a lifetime — and they grow softer the longer you use them. A special shout out for the transparency of their manufacturing process and keeping it all – from farmer to sewer – in the USA.

Find out more here.

4. Boll and Branch

With several styles for sheet sets, Boll and Brand offer choice but all with 100% organic cotton and ethical production. This hemmed flat sheet has a buttery feel and gets softer with each wash. Rest assured products have certifications such as Fair Trade Certified Cotton & Factory, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton and Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®.

Find out more here.

Sustainable Bedding
Coyuchi

5. Coyuchi

From relaxed linen to organic cotton, Coyuchi is making bedding to suit everyone. This year-round comforter is made of the versatile Crinkled Percale fabric. It works as a stand-alone cosy comforter or a lightweight duvet insert. Packaged in a reusable organic cotton bag and 100% organic cotton grown and woven in India, the Coyuchi 2nd Home Take Back™ program will recycle and renew your old Coyuchi linens.

Find out more here.

6. Delilah Home Goods

Delilah Home Goods aren’t cheap. But as the Wall Street Journal states, they are “worth the splurge”. These organic hemp sheets also come highly recommended by Vogue and Vanity Fair for their style and silky feel. Even better, Delilah Home pride themselves on paying above living wages and donate 10% of profits to local charities that support health, kids and pets.

Find out more here.

7. My Green Mattress

These mattresses are made at a family-owned GOTS-Certified Factory. All materials are organically grown, harvested, and sustainably processed. The GOLS certification ensures the latex is harvested from the sap of organic rubber trees and processed in an organic and eco-friendly way.  The Natural Escape offers breathable organic latex, lumbar support and pressure point relief at an affordable price. 

Find out more here.

8. Grund

These ultra-soft, 100% organic cotton throws come in several sizes and colours that will add warmth to any room. And it only gets softer with every wash. Wrap them, toss them, throw them. Whatever you want to do with them, do it knowing they’re 100% Organic Cotton and 100% comfy. Based in North Carolina, Grund’s mission is to provide conscious consumers with luxury organic products. 

Find out more here.

9. Avocado Green

The king of the sustainable mattress makers,  Avocado Green offers certified-vegan and affordable products. It is a Certified B Corporation and is Climate Neutral Certified. The mattresses are GREENGUARD Gold certified and OEKO-TEX textile safety. Its products use 100% GOTS organic certified cotton and wool, as well as hydrated silica as a natural fire retardant. The latex originates from Kochi, India. Mattresses are assembled and shipped with carbon offsets through carbonfund.org. It uses easily recycled LDPE plastic in its packaging. As members of 1% for the Planet, Avocado donates 1% of its revenue to vetted environmental nonprofits. And the products are 

Find out more here.

Sustainable Bedding
Naturpedic Mattresses

10. Naturepedic

Made with organic latex and Naturepedic’s signature organic cotton stretch knit fabric, this topper offers that luxurious touch comfort without the harmful chemicals. All the cotton is free from synthetic insecticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms.  The company donates 1% of profits to the planet. You also have a 30-day trial! But you won’t be sending these back.

Find out more here.

11. PlushBeds

Another brand who offers a wide range of bedding textiles including organic cotton, linen and Tencel. This natural pillow is stuffed with pieces of latex — and it won’t shift or clump. It is also hypoallergenic and mould and mildew resistant. PlushBeds don’t outsource manufacturing overseas. Plus, for over a decade, PlushBeds has been awarding Green and Environmental Scholarships to students.

Find out more here.

12. Savvy Rest

Savvy Rest is a US organic brand specializing in mattresses, bedding, furniture and so much more. Like PlushBeds above, they have perfected the art of the comfiest sustainable pillows. Their Organic Kapok Pillows are vegan and offer luxurious softness and “fluffability” without the feathers. Kapok is a cotton-like substance that grows from the tropical ceiba tree. For every Savvy Rest purchase made, the company donates 5 trees to struggling forests around the world. 

Find out more here.

13. Sol Organics

Sol Organics live up to these four features: sustainable, organic, fair and transparent. And, the Sol motto is Fair Trade at a Fair Price. Impressively affordable, the company refuses to mark up what it costs for their products to be Fair Trade Certified™ and organic beyond the initial premium.

Find out more here.

14. Brentwood Home

Brentwood Home has several different mattress types and prices to choose from. They made sure to include one that is very affordable ($599 for a Queen!), but still made with eco-friendly materials. The Cedar Natural Luxe Mattress is the pinnacle of eco-conscious luxury mattresses, and is 100% GOTS organic certified.

Find out more here.

Sustainable Bedding
West Elm

15. Under The Canopy

Under the Canopy has been in the game of bringing conscious consumers quality, organic and fair products since the beginning.  Breathable and crafted in the renowned French style, these blankets are made with only 100% GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified organic cotton. 

They adhere to 4 other kinds of certifications {FAIR TRADE, C2C, RCS & FSC}, and sustainability is at the forefront of their business model. These materials and facilities are audited and verified each season.

Find out more here.

16. West Elm

West Elm has probably the biggest selection of eco-friendly bedding of any brand on this list. It’s a leader in the sustainable and ethical home goods arenas; and many of the bedding materials are FSC-Certified, recycled, GREENGUARD certified, or Better Cotton certified. Since 2018, more than 1,500 farmers have been trained by West Elm’s Better Cotton Initiative.

Find out more here.

17. The Natural Bed Company

Those looking for a vegan mattress topper need look no further. These lightly quilted, slim pads are made from GOTS and Soil Association certified 100% organic cotton and gentle cushioning to a mattress that is a little too firm. Made in Sheffield, England, the Natural Bed Company prides itself on using local craftspeople to make its products.

Find out more here.

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