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Rest Easy on an Eco-Friendly Mattress

Posted: Dec 3, 2013 8:35 PM by Caroline Hecker, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Dec 3, 2013 8:39 PM

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JEFFERSON CITY - With the number of eco-friendly products steadily on the rise, bedrooms are going green as well.

Purchasing an eco friendly mattress is the latest "going green" strategy happening in the place where you sleep.

And it can go beyond just searching for mattress tags that say organic or all-natural.

Traditional mattresses are created using various kinds of chemicals and glues that can potentially harm a person's health and the environment.

Among the most environmentally unfriendly materials are traditional memory foam and synthetic latex. These materials contain potentially damaging chemicals and use non-renewable resources.

Doug Luebbert, factory manager at JC Mattress Factory, says natural latex mattresses and the newer memory foam mattresses are equally popular.

"We see people coming in and for the most part, it's sort of split between what people want," he said. "There isn't really one that is sold above and beyond the other."

The creation of innersprings inside of traditional latex mattresses has become increasingly more efficient and eco friendly over the years.

According to Luebbert, in the past, the steel would pass through large ovens-some the size of a small building- in order to temper the steel to its appropriate thickness and shape.

The entire process was powered by natural gas.

Today, steel that makes inner springs is said to be nearly 90% recycled and tempering the steel no longer requires large ovens or as much natural gas.

When shopping for a new mattress, there are certain features that accompany an eco-friendly mattress.

Faced with choosing between natural latex and synthetic latex, all-natural latex is suggested.

All-natural latex lacks toxic additives and fillers, making it highly durable and biodegradable.

Luebbert says eco-friendly latex can be slightly more expensive than other kinds of beds, but holds its shape well and will last a long time.

Another eco-friendly option is purchasing a memory foam mattress made of plant-based ingredients. This is a slightly cheaper option than other eco-friendly options and used by those who dislike the feel of latex.

Innerspring mattresses can be made more environmentally friendly by replacing the synthetic foam used with either latex or plant-based memory foam. However, innerspring mattresses are non-biodegradable.

Certain organic materials also make mattress fabrics more environmentally friendly. Organic cotton is a popular choice because it is hypoallergenic and sustainable. In addition, it is more breathable than polyester.

Tiffany Jaegers says environmental impact factors into her decision when shopping for mattresses.

"I want something that's going to last me a long time but isn't going to cause a lot of damage to the world around me," she said. "There's a balance there and I try to find it."

Equally important is her family.

"Obviously my family is a very important part of making the right decision," she said. "I want what's best for their overall health."

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