The truth about organic vs natural latex - what you need to know
In an environmentally conscious world, it always seems to be a good idea to buy everything natural. If you’re on the hunt for a new mattress, a natural latex mattress is one of the best options out there.
Before you dive in, the natural latex mattress world has a secret…organic latex mattresses are actually the real deal for maximum eco-friendliness and the best green option. Every organic latex mattress is 100% natural, but not every natural latex mattress is organic.
Organic latex mattresses have a guaranteed seal of environmental approval so you can be sure that your mattress is free of man-made products and chemicals. Synthetic mattresses are also available on the market, which are manipulated with synthetic latex to create a wider variety of firmness.
What is natural latex?
Natural latex comes from the milky sap harvested from the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). Rubber trees allegedly originated in Brazil, but were planted across the globe and now are mainly found in the tropics of South East Asia and Africa.
Rubber tappers strip a thin layer of bark off the tree to release the latex and collect it from cups. This latex is then processed to become a wide variety of products, from rubber tyres to latex mattresses.
There are two famous production processes for making latex foam for mattresses: 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. The Talalay freezing process consumes a lot of energy for little gain, which is something to take into consideration when choosing an environmental friendly mattress.
Some mattress brands will claim that they are “natural”, but this does not mean that their mattresses are purely natural latex. Sometimes you will find the mattress is made of a natural and synthetic blend. Synthetic latex is created from the polymerisation of petroleum. This is not necessarily a bad thing (synthetic latex allows for more flexibility in firmness and comfort) but it is helpful to understand just how natural your mattress is.
What is organic latex?
Organic latex is a form of natural latex, but with an organic seal of approval. The best organic latex mattresses come with a certification from the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
GOLS is the gold standard of the industry and ensures that the latex in the mattress has come from trees which were grown to meet organic practices and the whole manufacturing process was sustainable and eco-friendly. An example of one of the GOLS regulations is that all the trees were grown in an area where no chemical fertilisers were used for at least four years.
Our rubber tree plantation is certified by GOLS, and it is the first plantation in the world that is awarded with organic, carbon neutral and fair choice labels.
If you care about the environment, organic is the right choice for you.
Buying organic latex mattresses helps local plantations keep an eye on sustainability and eco-friendliness. We all have a duty to look after the world we live in and buying organic helps to fulfil our responsibility. It also encourages people to be thoughtful about using precious resources in a sustainable way.
The organic label also guarantees that your mattress has no toxic chemicals or pesticide residue, inside or outside the mattress. As the organic process prevents the use of chemicals in the plantation, the natural latex is pure, with nothing added. Furthermore, organic means there are no toxic chemicals used in the production process in the factory - you can be sure that the mattress isn’t contaminated in any way. This makes it a particularly great choice for parents who want to feel safe and comfortable about where their kids are sleeping.
An organic latex mattress is a completely guilt-free purchase.
If you decide to buy an organic latex mattress, it is a good idea to make sure it is from a recognised brand or supplier. It should be certified to confirm that the latex in your mattress was not from a plantation grown on a deforested rainforest.
Another thing to look out for is the Oeko-Tex certification. Oeko-Tex Class 1 is the highest rank and certifies that the organic latex mattress is 100% safe to sleep on, even for sensitive infants.
The importance of research
Make sure you are fully informed before buying any sort of mattress. A mattress is something that you spend a third of your lifetime on, so it’s well worth taking the time and effort to make sure the mattress suits you.
Here are three main things to look out for:
- 100% natural latex – if you want a pure natural latex mattress, make sure you ask the salesman on the mattress composition and whether it is made with 100% natural latex without any added fillers.
- Proper certifications like the Oko-Tex standard or GOLS, both of which guarantee the eco-friendliness and safety of your mattress.
- Comfort and fit – there’s no point in having the most eco-friendly mattress in the world if it doesn’t suit you. Check which feel of mattress suits you best.
It is easy to be confused by salesmen and shops who may deliberately try to mislead you. Some may try “greenwashing”, where they imply the mattress is more eco-friendly than it actually is.
Ensure that the mattress conforms to recognised green standards, not just their own made-up guarantees. Some misleading salesmen may also use meaningless terminology, like “eco-cotton”, which tells you nothing of use about the mattress’ real eco-friendliness.
Don’t be afraid to ask for confirmation, and if you feel worried, go to a reputable mattress store or website. They should have salespeople that are happy to answer your questions properly and provide proof that their mattresses adhere to the real standards.
Good sleep is one of the most essential things in life, and a both comforting and supportive mattress is the most important step to getting it right. With Heveya, comfort meets nature and you are sure to buy and sleep with a healthy peace of mind.