Do you have your mind set on becoming the greenest person of yourself you can be? Not the money green, but the environmentally friendly green. You know, the person who bikes to work for the sake of the greater good. The person who actually seeks out green beauty products instead of top-selling chemical-based products.
Does that sound like you?
I want you to think for a long moment. Is it possible you aren’t being as green as you could be? I’m sure everyone can admit they aren’t doing 100% of what they could. Life is much easier with a car than with a bicycle. But your carbon footprint can be reduced in many ways, not just by changing your method of transportation.
What Do You Sleep On?
Ah, you may be catching on to what I’m hinting towards now.
Seriously, what’s materials are used to make your bed? Maybe the frame is wooden, but what about the mattress? If you’re a typical human, it’s probably something comfortable. Memory foam, shall we say?
Time to get grilled!
The Environmental Disparities of Memory Foam
It’s an actual law in many countries (here’s an example) for memory foam mattresses to be fire resistant. Fair enough, but the way a manufacturer goes about protecting the mattress from fire isn’t the best. They do this by using chemical fire retardants. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) is a very common one.
PBDE is actually banned by the European Union!
Don’t be fooled by thinking the alternatives to PBDE are that much better either. No chemical fire retardants are environmental friendly. Safety issues are also a concern.
Memory foam mattresses also emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have been proven as being a type of irritant to the lungs in mice. This toxicity issue is a major concern as no one knows the potential long term effects in humans.
If a fire does happen, don’t be surprised if the mattress goes with it. Memory foam clocks out around 500 degrees Fahrenheit and lets off fumes of isocynates and hydrogen cyanide. Sure you would be dead from the burning flames caused by other flammables in the home, but adding to the poor emissions is simply bad for the rest of the world. That’s a bit akin to the concept of not taking the world down with you…but seriously, it goes to show that memory foam isn’t as eco-friendly as one would think.
Are There Environmentally Friendly Alternatives?
In fact, there are memory foam mattresses currently sold that don’t have these same issues. These are referred to as plant-based memory foam mattresses as they are primarily composed with plant materials. For example, you can find soy mattresses in many online mattress stores.
The main problem is that these come with a very niche market. Many don’t think about being green and eco-friendly when buying a mattress. It just doesn’t seem relevant. So companies aren’t able to mass-market these beds. It leads to environmentally conscious consumers not being able to find plant-based memory foam mattresses in local stores. You may get lucky, but most of the time you will have to shop in a different city or order online. This also comes at a hefty cost, but a ‘luxurious’ memory foam mattress can be pricey too.
Are you uncertain of how to gauge the eco-friendliness of a particular mattresses? Check out the memory foam mattresses section at The Foam Factory for better insight. They grade each of their memory foam mattress types with an important set of criteria, including tests evaluating the mattress’s properties. Seeing real test results like these can go a long ways to ensuring your next mattress purchase is as green-friendly as you can reasonably make it.