How to Find a True “Green Mattress”

On your journey to protect the environment and live a green lifestyle, you may have run into mattresses labeled green, all-natural, natural, or organic. Those terms are often used interchangeably, and, because there are no clearly defined regulations for a green mattress, they don’t necessarily mean the mattress is truly green. A true green mattress will have as many natural, and hopefully organic, materials as possible along with being made through manufacturing processes that don’t harm the environment.
What to Look for in a True Green Mattress
The cover, comfort layers, and support core of a truly green mattress will be made of as many natural and/or organic materials as possible. Though no mattress can be 100% natural or organic, they can include up to 95% natural materials. Check mattresses that include some of the following:

Natural latex?
Plant-based polyfoam and memory foam (though any foam will still have some chemical treatment)
A fire sock rather than chemical flame retardant
A cover made of organic wool or cotton fiber

Though a mattress may be labeled green or organic, you’ll need to check to which parts that label applies. It may only indicate that some components, like the cotton used to make the cover, were grown or harvested organically while the rest of the mattress was made by traditional means.

If you see certifications on the mattress, ask the salesperson what the certifications indicate or look them up yourself. Some may mean the mattress passed inspection for VOCs (volatile organic compounds) while others may be related to the social responsibility of the manufacturing process rather than the finished product.
Green Mattress Options
Some mattress types are more environmentally friendly than others. Though you can’t find a green mattress option in every type, you can find models with organic or natural components or ones that use eco-friendly practices amongst each of the types.

Most green mattresses are made of natural latex. Latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree. Depending on the process used to make the latex, the density of the foam changes. Dunlop latex makes a firm, durable mattress while Talalay latex is less dense and wears down slightly faster.

Latex mattresses can be made of up to 95% natural materials and, as long as they are made of natural latex, not synthetic, they are biodegradable. If you don’t like the feel of an all-latex mattress, there are companies that combine latex with elements from other mattress types like innersprings. Making a green mattress with the feel of a hybrid or innerspring mattress.

Foam is most often made using chemicals and petroleum-based products. However, PLA (plant-based memory foam) offers a greener solution if your budget or personal preferences lean toward foam.

Innersprings get their name from the steel coils inside the mattress. They include a foam comfort layer, which means some kind of synthetic materials or processing has to be used. Innersprings can be made using sustainable methods, but they do have to go through manufacturing processes that expose them to chemicals.

Hybrids use elements from all-foam and all-latex models (innersprings being one variety) to build a mattress that has both good comfort and affordability. They usually have innersprings or pocketed coils along with a comfort layer made of either foam or latex. Because of the components, hybrids will have had some exposure to chemicals and use some synthetic materials. However, you can find some that have organic components and/or be made with eco-friendly methods.