Organic Mattresses

Over recent years there has been a surge of interest in environmental issues and a desire by consumers to be more eco-friendly, "green" products. Many companies and stores have responded - today you can even buy "green" memory foam.

As part of this trend towards environmentally friendly living the organic mattress has become increasingly popular. But exactly what is it?

What Is An Organic Mattress?

There's no strict universal definition of an organic mattress - but that's not surprising since there's no strict universal definition of the word "organic". Here in the UK, for example, the most well known organic certification body is the Soil Association, an environmental charity. In the US the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) reviews products against the USDA National Organic Standards. Other countries have their own definitions and standards.

Ideally an organic mattress would be made purely from natural materials produced and certified according to internationally agreed standards. Such a product is very rare, if it exists at all.

Material vs Method

There is some confusion between the concepts "organic material" and "organically grown". Most of the mattresses sold as organic are made from natural materials with attention paid to best practices regarding environmental and sustainability issues. Materials such as latex, cotton and wool can be described as organic (as opposed to synthetic) materials even if they haven't been organically grown.

So the concept of an organic mattress seems to be more of a spectrum than a hard and fast definition. As a buyer you'll want to check out both the materials used and the manner in which they were produced. Formal organic certification is a useful shortcut to this process.

The price you pay will ultimately depend on your personal priorities. Are you trying to discourage the use of artificial chemicals on farms? Do you simply want a chemical free mattress? Are you opposed to genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Are you being careful as to what you put in your baby's crib? Or are you looking to reduce your carbon footprint with a mattress that can easily be recycled or is biodegradable?

Not all mattresses sold as organic will meet all these criteria, so do your research.

External Links:
Soil Association
Organic Materials Review Institute