Article from Green Business Bureau:
Mattresses pose a serious problem when it comes to disposal. These large household products take up more than their fair share of space in landfills because they’re difficult to compact, clog machinery, and create large soft spaces that can turn into sinkholes after filling. The problem of mattress disposal can be confronted from two sides. The first is to recycle old mattresses, reusing their components to make new products. The other side of the equation involves purchasing organic/natural, biodegradable mattresses. For those in the hotel industry, understanding how to make smarter mattress purchase and recycling decisions can help positively impact green programs your organization may be undertaking.
Mattresses are a complex product with numerous recyclable components. Mattress recycling programs deconstruct the bed, removing the materials that can be reused or repurposed. This process not only prevents the mattress from entering a landfill but also reduces the need to use more natural resources in product manufacturing.
Depending on the mattress type, the components that can be reused include:
- Foam: The foam used in the comfort layer of the mattress can be compressed to make carpet padding, oil filters, mats, and upholstery stuffing.
- Fabric: The exterior fabric, whether it’s natural or synthetic, can be shredded and made into other textiles.
- Metal: Innerspring mattresses can have as much as 25 pounds of steel coils. Once removed, these coils can be melted down to make tools, construction materials, and auto parts.
- Wood: The wooden frame of a box spring can be used in flooring or chipped to be used as mulch or compost.
Not all recycling facilities offer mattress recycling. Hotels are in a unique position, with the high number of mattresses they require, to develop mattress recycling programs within their local communities for their use and the use of community members.
BETTER MATTRESS CHOICES
The other side of mattress disposal is making wise purchasing choices. Everyone from private consumers to large hotel chains can make purchasing decisions that protect the environment. While there’s not a mattress available on the market today that will completely break down without a trace, there are 95 percent biodegradable mattress options.
NATURAL LATEX MATTRESSES
Natural latex mattresses begin as sap from a rubber tree. Through one of two manufacturing processes, that sap eventually becomes a natural latex mattress. Of the two processes, Dunlop and Talalay, Dunlop latex mattresses are the most biodegradable and won’t create sinkholes in a landfill. These mattresses come with a high price tag, and they will still be composed of anywhere from 5-40 percent synthetic latex.
NATURAL AND ORGANIC MATTRESS OPTIONS
If an expensive natural latex mattress is out of your budget, there are hybrid latex/innerspring mattresses that are highly biodegradable, but don’t carry such a hefty price tag. In this case, keep an eye out for eco-friendly components like:
- Plant-based polyfoam
- Plant-based memory foam
- Organic fibers in the cover like cotton or wool
- Wool, cotton, thistle, or Kevlar fire socks
Because there are no regulations or standards for what constitutes a “green” mattress, you’ll need to look for certifications from organizations that monitor environmental impact rather than trusting a “natural” or “organic” listing on a sales tag. A few certifications to watch for include:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS certifies that both raw materials and their derivatives are 95 percent organic.
- Cradle to Cradle: Cradle to cradle looks for carbon emissions, water conservation and ecological impact throughout the manufacturing process. It’s used to monitor latex and organic materials used in mattress covers.
- United States Department of Agriculture Organic (USDA): This certification evaluates any crops or agricultural products used to produce components of the mattress.
Taking the time to recycle old mattresses and research your next mattress purchase are both great ways to keep mattresses out of landfills. For an example of a hotel that is currently undertaking a mattress recycling program, check out this recent article on Hilton’s recycling initiative.
Rick Blanchard is an expert on sleep product materials and manufacturing for BestMattressReviews.com. His research covers the entire life cycle of mattresses and bedding, including production, wear over time, and disposal. Rick lives in Tarrytown, New York.
Savvy FAQs (And Our Answers)
Many people are perplexed to learn that not all latex is created equal. There is a natural form of latex and synthetic. As a matter of fact, there is a world of difference between natural latex and synthetic latex.
Natural latex is manufactured from sap tapped from rubber trees, then it is either vulcanized (Dunlop method) or frozen, then vulcanized (Talalay method.) I don’t want to get too involved in which method is better, because it’s hugely dependent upon the processing facility and a number of other factors.
The point is, natural latex is an incredibly resilient and durable, clean and supportive material. It is resistant to dust mites, anti-microbial, antifungal, and hypo-allergenic.
The important thing to remember when considering a product made of natural latex is purity – what is the percentage of pure natural latex vs fillers or synthetic material. Look for certification by an independent laboratory such as Oeko-Tex, which tests for chemicals and toxins in the finished product. The Oeko-Tex stamp of approval will attest to the cleanliness and purity of the product.
Some manufacturers add fillers (most commonly clays, calcium oxide, or titanium dioxide) to the natural latex to make it go further (imagine taking one gallon of milk and diluting it with water to create two gallons of milk). While the finished product will be less expensive, the addition of fillers ultimately makes the latex less durable and more apt to rapid breakdown. Here’s where the consumer needs to be very vigilant…the fact is that natural latex with additives such as those listed above can technically still be called “natural latex”.
Synthetic latex (aka polyurethane foam/memory foam) is made of petroleum by-products, sometimes actually mixed with natural latex.
Again, that’s where you have to be careful. There are many manufacturers who tout their product as “natural latex”, when in fact it’s actually a blend of natural AND synthetic. Interestingly, Dunlop and Talalay latex can be either natural or synthetic. Needless to say, Caveat emptor — do your research.
Synthetic latex, being chemically based, has a tendency to break down more quickly than natural latex. If you’ve ever had a warranty issue with a mattress, you’ll understand immediately. Have you ever had a body impression in your mattress measured by your friendly local mattress salesman and told that it’s “normal wear and tear?”
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Latex Mattress
If you’re interested in buying natural latex mattresses but don’t exactly know where to start, here is the basic information you’ll need to know.
It’s Not Pure Latex
Even if someone sells a mattress as “100% latex” it’s not technically true. The natural sap from the rubber tree has to be processed in order to be able to form latex layers or cores for the mattress. If the sap was processed at 100%, it would be to thick to form the natural layers in the beds. The manufacturing process involves adding a few minor additives which is why the actual percentage is between 95-97% latex. Many bedding companies use blended latex, where they use only 5% of natural latex and the remaining is petroleum based foam. In the process they increase the margins and profits by misleading you the customer.
If you’re in the market for truly natural rubber then the less than 5% that isn’t latex should have no bearing on the comfort or quality of the mattress when you compare it with synthetic or blended foams.
How Long Will it Last?
This depends on the manufacturer but natural latex mattresses have a considerably long life. If you buy high-quality, natural latex mattresses and take care of it you could have the mattress for up to 30 years and still get a good night’s rest. The average traditional coil spring mattress usually lasts six to ten years. So at the end of the day, any additional cost or hassle associated with a latex mattress is well worth it considering how much longer they last.
Rubber Isn’t Easy to Get
You might think that because the sap from the rubber tree comes from a tree that it’s simple to process but rubber trees only grow within 10 degrees of the equator, making the supply rather limited. Another limitation on harvesting rubber is the weather. Rubber trees can only be sliced during the dry season – which only adds up to 180 days out of the year.
How Rubber is Harvested
The rubber tree is sliced at an angle, about three feet long, allowing the serum to run into a holding container. After an hour or so the serum stops flowing and the tree eventually heals. It’s interesting to note, when the serum is harvested more than half of it is water.
How Latex Rubber is Processed
In order to prevent the serum from coagulating before it can be processed most companies add ammonia, which eventually washes out as it is processed. The rubber serum is then whipped in a centrifuge to separate the elements and concentrate the rubber to be used. The final step involves washing the latex through water and squeezing the excess out using metal rollers.
Pros to Sleeping on Latex
Most foam mattresses “sleep hot” which means they absorb your body heat while you sleep, making you warmer. A latex mattress allows air to circulate which creates a cooler and more comfortable sleeping arrangement and the night’s sleep you’ve been looking for. Traditional mattresses will sag with use and time but because of the resilient material, latex mattresses are less prone to sagging providing you with a better night’s sleep. Latex mattresses are also great for relief on your pressure points while providing enough support for your back and joints. Because the latex material absorbs motion it makes it the ideal mattress for sharing. This way, everyone has uninterrupted sleep.
Take a look around www.naturalmattressvt.com to see our wide selection of latex mattresses. Call us at 802-985-2650 with questions you may have.
We know the classics: starfish, fetal, side, stomach, stick straight, and many more. However, what is the best sleep position for you and how can you get the most out of your sleep position?
There are so many different ways to sleep on your side, but all help relieve and calm insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation. While sleeping on your side, putting a pillow between your legs/knees can also relieve back pain by taking pressure off your hips and lower back. P.S — many believe it is most comfortable to bend your knees towards the chest while sleeping on your side. “This position (where your torso and legs are relatively straight) also helps decrease acid reflux, and since your spine is elongated, it wards off back and neck pain. Plus, you’re less likely to snore in this snooze posture, because it keeps airways open. For that reason, it’s also the best choice for those with sleep apnea” (National Sleep Foundation).
If sleeping on your back is your most comfortable sleep position maybe try a few of these alternatives. Back sleeping is known to cause lower back pain and episodes of sleep apnea. This can cause a lack of sleep and overall restfulness. To ease these symptoms place a pillow under your knees to allow your spine to curve naturally. On Health.com, ” It’s also ideal for fighting acid reflux, says Eric Olson, MD, a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. ‘If the head is elevated, your stomach will be below your esophagus so acid or food can’t come back up.'” Healthy Sleeping Positions
Though it can be done, and with fewer risks with a proper pillow, many sleep professionals are against sleeping on your stomach due to the major strain on your lower back and neck. Stomach sleepers also tend to have more restlessness and don’t feel fully alert because of tossing and turning at night. If you sleep on your stomach try your best to sleep with a thin pillow, if any, this allows your neck and vertebrae to align and cause less strain. Stated by the National Sleep Foundation, “seven percent of adults pick this pose, but it can lead to back and neck pain, since it’s hard to keep your spine in a neutral position. Plus, stomach sleepers put pressure on their muscles and joints, possibly leading to numbness, tingling, aches, and irritated nerves.”
We have a few of the store’s floor models on sale! Queen Ergo 8 by Green Sleep and Twin Sized Savvy Rest Earthspring are 25% off. Twin White Lotus Organic Cotton and Wool Dreamton 50% off! We also have an in stock Queen Ergovea Valencia which is 15% off.
Please stop by today to try out these practically brand new mattresses being offered at a great price!
Is It Better To Sleep On Your Back?
It’s Up To Your Body
Generally speaking, lying on your back creates the most consistent support for your spine. Your muscles and tissues can relax evenly in all directions. Like a baby, or a kitten napping on its back, you can just lie flat and your musculoskeletal system will be all lined up for restful sleep.
Except when that’s not true. If you have a wonky back, a sore hip, shoulder pain, breathing problems, or other bodily quirks (or you are pregnant), flat-on-back may not be the best sleeping position for you.
People sleep with themselves for a lifetime, and most have figured out what position works best. If you used to sleep happily on your back, however, and now find yourself contorted into a new, uncomfortable position or using multiple strategically-placed pillows, it could be your body has been searching for a way to compensate for a mattress that is no longer supporting you.
Not Sleeping Well?
If you miss a time when back sleeping was sound and comfortable, first consider replacing your mattress. You may need something firmer than you thought, for solid back support. You may need a more forgiving surface, or denser support and a softer surface. An optional topper can offer extra cushioning that relieves surface pressure without compromising the stability you need for your spine. If you have nerve-related back pain, choose a shallower topper. The 2″ Savvy Woolsy creates a cozy, comforting surface without letting you “sink” so much that back support is undermined. If you’re petite or lean and have no serious back problems, you may love the deeper softness of the 4″ Harmony topper.
Over the years, it’s not unusual to find that you prefer a different sleeping position than when you were younger. The most common change is to shift from the back to sleeping on your side. On your side, your rib cage prevents compression of the lungs, allowing freer, easier breathing. For some larger people, sleeping on the back can contribute to pressure in the chest, restricting the flow of breath.
One condition that can develop with age, or excess weight, is obstructive sleep apnea. Tissues in the back of the throat collapse during sleep, blocking the airway. It’s a serious issue that, untreated, can lead to elevated blood pressure and other harmful consequences. (Central sleep apnea is triggered in the brain, not in the throat, so it’s important to see your doctor for a correct diagnosis.) Heavy snoring or gasping during sleep are clues to apnea. Many people with obstructive apnea breathe better on their sides. Those who sleep wearing a CPAP (controlled positive airway pressure) device, however, may need to sleep on their backs with the head of the bed slightly elevated.
Folks with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), too, can benefit from sleeping on the back with the head of the entire bed elevated. A common mistake is to use a pile of pillows under the sleeper’s head — this just puts an additional kink in the diaphragm and can worsen GERD symptoms. Two four- to six-inch blocks placed under the legs at the head of the bed create a complete incline that helps gravity keep stomach acids where they belong.
If you are fit, limber, and of normal weight, you can likely sleep happily on your back – or in just about any position you like. If your body’s asking for a change, try your side or a partial-side position. Use a body pillow at your back or front to stabilize your trunk until you’re used to the change.
The one sleeping position most experts “tsk” about is on the stomach, particularly while using a pillow. The pillow creates strain on the cervical spine from a kinked-back neck, and the spine is tilted upward from the pelvis. Over time, stomach sleeping will stress the lower back.
Once you have the right mattress and have experimented with position, surface softness and perhaps new pillows, you’ll find it easier to recognize which way of arranging yourself gives you sound, refreshing sleep. Sleep well!