Is Your Mattress Toxic? And How To Choose a Natural Mattress

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While unable to sleep last night, I got thinking – is my mattress preventing me from a good night’s sleep? What actually is in the mattress, where I spend 1/3 of my life. 


Your life is important, including where you put your mind and body (and energy). Naturally a mattress is a huge part of your time spent. I decided to look into the whole mattress idea and found some pretty interesting if not a little scary facts… Here’s what I found:


What Is a Mattress Made Out Of? 


An average mattress is most commonly made of cotton, foam rubber or metal springs. The most common type of mattress is memory foam, although springs are still very popular and widely used. 


There are of course different comfort levels to each mattress, depending on your posture and own preference, whether the mattress is light, medium or hard. 


Those materials don’t seem that unusual, unnatural or harmful to the naked eye, right? Well, there is a little bit more to it and it turns out, our mattresses can have a huge impact on not just our health, but also our planet. 


They take up a lot of landfill space and are hard to dispose of for most households. In the UK, it’s a pretty regular sight to see a mattress dumped in a field…


How to Dispose of a Mattress? 


That’s a tough one, as they’re not small (therefore transport and additional costs are most likely to be involved). If you have a car big enough? Awesome. Load it up and you can take it to your local tip or recycling centre – tips are normally free but recycling centres may charge. 


If your car isn’t big enough however, you can also hire a company to come and collect your mattress – depending on where you live and the size of your mattress, this can vary between $25 and $70. 


If you’re already buying a new mattress and of course they’re not cheap themselves, you know that this extra charge can put a dent in your budget or monthly wages. 


There is also the option to have your local Council (UK) come and collect the mattress. I did some digging, and most UK Councils will charge around £20 to £50 to collect the mattress (our local Council for example charges £27). 


But even then, it may just get sent to landfill anyway, instead of getting recycled so if you’re trying to dispose of it without harming the planet, this probably isn’t the option for you.


Through research I found a few recycling companies that will happily take the mattress off your hands picking it up from your home. For example, one company charges £23 for a single mattress, going up to £38 for a king-sized…


The cheapest option it would seem, is just throwing it to your local tip… 


But if the mattress ends up at a tip or landfill, it won’t get recycled and cause more issues for the environment, most likely it’ll be stuck at the landfill for years to come. 


Why are Mattresses a Problem at Landfills? 


The US throws away 18.2 million mattresses a year, while the UK gets rid of 7 million (2017) mattresses per year. Mattresses of course aren’t small, so they take up a lot of room at landfill and are hard to manoeuvre. Mattresses contribute 204 million kilograms of waste and fill more than 100 million cubic feet of landfill space every year. To give you an idea of that number, that’s roughly 55,000 mattresses discarded per day


Can You Recycle a Mattress?


To put simply, yes it’s possible to recycle your mattresses. However, in the US there are only 56 facilities available for you to do that which is a small number compared to how many people throw away mattresses each year. 


I wondered why such a small number of mattresses were being recycled?


In the UK 2017, 19% of mattresses were recycled. Which is a promising number but it could and should be a lot higher. Although the recycling rates are growing (with 2019 expected to increase by around 20%) according to NBF’s 2019 report, it would take another 50 years to reach a 100 per cent mattress recycling rate


Which is a very long time and with waste at landfill growing as fast as consumerism and people’s greed, this is only possible IF people don’t dump their mattresses recklessly. 


The answer to my question was quickly answered –  mattresses are extremely difficult and time-consuming to recycle . Each component of the mattress needs to be separated manually, so each element and material needs to be first extracted and separated, in order for it to be recycled. Most mattresses will be recycled for: 


  • Mattress foam is processed into carpet underlay 
  • Steel, mainly mattress springs, are melted and remade into many products

  • Fibre is reprocessed and used to create filters for industrial equipment. Natural Fibres such as cotton can be shredded or used to create yarn – which is great for making more macrame. However, if the fibre used was synthetic, e.g. polyester, this is shredded and granulated into small polyester “chips”. These chips can be melted and used in new polyester textiles including clothing and mattress fabrics. It’s  great that they can be recycled and reused, but polyester in clothes isn’t a good idea if you’re thinking of going toxin and plastic-free… and who says that this recycled t-shirt won’t end up in landfill or worse, won’t even get sold by the brans and will end up being burnt (or at landfill), without being worn? Posing another issue of Fast Fashion
  • Wood can be used to make mulch

Although most of the materials within the mattress are recyclable, all components/materials are difficult to separate. Softer materials (like cotton, fibre) are attached to the metal inner springs. As such, the process of disassembly usually involves manual labour, which is time-consuming and expensive which is normally manually separating  each spring with a knife… 


The manual labour makes it so expensive to recycle the materials for manufacturers that it’s not worth the money where very little profit is made. 


Mattresses and Sleep


One of the most shocking things I found through my research, is that mattresses can be harmful and contain toxins that impact our health. 


Now hang on a minute?!” I thought. We sleep on these every night and we’re potentially exposing ourselves to chronic diseases and even cancer while we sleep?! 


Well, with your body heat, you can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the mattress while you sleep. Polyurethane is one of the most common and main chemicals used on a mattress which is basically a byproduct from petroleum. That itself doesn’t sound safe… right?


Some of the chemicals used have also been classed as carcinogens. Although there aren’t that many studies to prove it, if there is even a suggestion or slight chance of carcinogens and you can avoid them, then it’s worth looking into. 


Naturally, the better our sleep, the better we feel. An uncomfortable mattress can cause pain, aches and irritation, as many of us may have experienced in an uncomfortable hotel room, feeling cranky the next morning… 


Therefore not only affecting our body, but also our mind and wellbeing. You wouldn’t want to waste your life feeling cranky each day, right?


Mattresses can also contain non-biodegradable synthetic foam and fibres, plus hazardous flame retardant chemicals which can leach into drinking water – which is another reason why recycling isn’t always the best option. 


So all in all, consider how much your mattress costs, what it’s made of, what you’re going to do with it at the end of its life, and if it’s worth risking your health or wellness of our planet….


What’s an Eco Mattresses?


Wouldn’t it be great to have a mattress that you don’t need to feel guilty about throwing away, where it’ll end up and whether you will be contributing further to the scary figures of mattress dumped at landfills? One that is comfy and beneficial to your health? To remain planet conscious even with your mattress, you should look around for an eco mattress. 


They are made from natural materials (as opposed to manmade ones such as steel), thus you can be rest assured that your mattress will eventually degrade after you throw it away. 


Another thing that makes a mattress ecological/sustainable, is the way it’s made. An eco mattress is made in a sustainable way that doesn’t hurt the environment/planet during the manufacturing process. 


You can easily find mattresses now made from bamboo or wool for example – both biodegradable. Which is great news! No chemicals, toxins and can be easily disposed of without guilt.


Toxin-Free Mattress


How about a Hevea milk memory foam mattress? Yup, that’s a thing. 

A very comfy, toxin-free, natural and breathable mattress. As most mattresses are made with chemicals and manmade materials that are unnatural to our human body, mattress toxins are released during sleep and can really impact the health of our body, mind and soul. 

Essentia mattresses however are different. They are non-toxic, organic latex, and natural, absolutely ideal for your mind, body and that much needed sleep. 

As our lives are so precious and affected by many chemicals, toxins from man-made products each day, you should at least be able to sleep tight and without the risk of chemicals entering your body while sleeping…

Essentia mattresses are the most natural mattresses in the world – they use natural and organic materials to make the mattresses, making them natural and toxin-free. 

They do not contain any wool or fiber batting – these normally create a nesting area for dust mites, attracting critters that may cause allergies as reported by Dr. Robert G. Hamilton of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicin.

As you can see, a natural Essentia mattress has a lot of great benefits, and as it reduced your exposure to chemicals and toxins in your sleep, you can sleep with a rested mind, knowing that your mattress is safe. 

There are mattresses to choose from 4 categories: 

Lifestyle – natural latex, no wool or fibre batting, recognized as the top foam mattresses by the leading independent consumer publication

Performance – World’s Only Natural Memory Foam Mattress with heaps of benefits for your body: 

Benefits: pressure redistribution for unobstructed blood circulation, posture support, spinal support (so those with bad backs, this one is ideal for you! And me quite frankly…)

Wholebody Recovery – helps to maintain your deeper sleep cycle, by accelerating your mind and body’s self healing. 

Benefits: clean air environment, spinal support, pressure relief, and zero-gravity comfort

Hybrid Crossovers: natural memory foam and organic latex foam

Benefits: Adaptable to all sleeping positions & body types, edge support and pressure relief through Essentia’s patented natural memory foam.

To make things that little bit sweeter, they offer FREE shipping, 0% APR finance options. 

Essentia have been certified and meet the Beyond Organic™ standards – which basically means that the materials used in the mattress are organic and natural. 

These include Hevea Milk, GOLS Certified Organic Latex, Natural Dunlop Latex, Organic Essential Oils, Natural Plant Extracts, and GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. How good is that?! This means they are absolutely ideal if you have any allergies or are sensitive to chemicals, toxins and artificial materials. 

UrthSleep Vegan Mattress by Essentia 

You can even choose a vegan mattress that is completely cruelty-free which means you won’t find any wool, animal products or by-products or components that were tested on animals during the manufacturing. The UrthSleep cruelty-free, vegan mattress is carbon-infused with natural latex for better temperature regulation, wicking moisture away from your body while absorbing heat for a cooler sleep. If you’re in a hotter country or living in a moisture-prone area of the world, this is pretty ideal we think! 

In Our Humble Conclusion 

If you don’t want to worry about chemicals and toxins being released in your sleep, Essentia is THE one. Their mattresses are pure, natural and organic. What more could you want? Oh, and they come with a 20-year guarantee… + a 120 day trial. Try before you buy, right?

Sleeping on a cloud is certainly possible and you shouldn’t sleep on a dirty, chemical-filled cloud… 

If you know anyone that is struggling to find a natural or a decent mattress for their posture or allergies, share this post with them, they might just thank you…

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