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Vegan Mattresses Explained

December 11, 2020 4 min read

Vegan Food

There are about 75,300,000 vegans all over the world or around 0.1 percent of the global population. So, what does it mean to be vegan?

Veganism is a fairly recent term coined only in 1944. However, veganism as a lifestyle has been around for thousands of years as versions of it were practised in Ancient India and Eastern Mediterranean societies.

Today, the number of vegans has grown. However, the lack of vegan options in certain products still has some vegans scratching their heads. After all, veganism rejects the commodification of animals in whatever form.

This is why any new purchase of anything usually involves thorough research. Vegans need to find alternatives to products that we take for granted every day. So even the simple act of finding a vegan mattress can become a complicated affair.

Now, let’s find out exactly what qualities would make a mattress vegan, and if such mattresses exist.

What makes a mattress vegan?

For a mattress to be considered vegan, it should have zero animal-derived ingredients. Also, it should be cruelty-free and must not have been produced using any inhumane methods.

Many vegans also pride themselves on living a sustainable lifestyle and this where buying a vegan mattress gets a little tricky. Most mattress materials are made from Petrochemicals or requires coal to produce. To top it off, all mattresses must pass mattress flammability standards to be legally sold - and wool is the only natural option.

So, how do you find a mattress that is good for the environment, free of animal byproducts, and healthy for you? We’ll go over the most common types of mattresses to find the best fit.

Latex Mattresses

Natural latex is sourced from sap produced by the rubber tree, making it 100 per cent plant-based and Vegan friendly. Additionally, all our latex is GOLS certified organic which includes additional content, social and environmental parameters.

The primary difference between Vegan and non-Vegan latex mattress resides in the cover. For example, all our “organic mattresses” contain a layer of temperature-regulating, flame-resistant PureEmbrace Joma Wool. Obviously, a mattress containing wool cant’ be vegan.

If you want a vegan latex mattress, you would need to choose one of our “latex mattresses” as the covers in those models are made from Tencel or Bamboo. Tencel and Bamboo are both cellulose fibers derived from the eucalyptus tree or bamboo, respectively.

Unfortunately, cotton is flammable and must treated with fire-retardant chemicals or combined with an additional fire barrier (such as wool) to meet mattress flammability standards. Since wool is the only naturally based fire-barrier, all vegan mattresses must contain some synthetic components to be legally sold.

We have found using closed-loop cellulose fibers such as Tencel to be the most natural and environmentally friendly way of creating vegan mattresses that meet mattress flammability standards.

Innerspring Mattresses

A typical innerspring mattress comprises three layers: the innerspring, the comfort layer and the cover. Most innerspring mattresses, in general, are vegan because they’re primarily made from steel and polyurethane foam.

However, here lies the dilemma for those who are both vegan and want to lead sustainable lifestyles. While innerspring mattresses are cruelty-free, not animal-derived, and don't use inhumane production methods, they may not suit those who want to live sustainably.

The cover is where you would most commonly find animal by products such as wool and silk. These materials would only be found on higher-end spring options.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Since memory foam is made of polyurethane (a type of plastic also used in car seats), it is highly likely to be vegan. Similar to innerspring mattresses, Memory Foam Mattresses are petroleum-based and may not fit with other lifestyle choices.

One good thing is that polyurethane foam is recyclable. The components of a memory foam mattress can be recycled and turned into something else, like carpet underlay. It can also be reclaimed and reused as car seat padding.

Also, when purchasing memory foam mattresses, you need to check if the mattress cover is vegan, as those made of flannel, satin, silk, or down are not vegan-compatible. For total reassurance, you can always inquire with the manufacturer to ensure they use only vegan materials in their products.

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses are typically made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC. There’s also a new generation of air mattresses made of a special type of urethane plastic or rubber.

So, whether it’s made of PVC, rubber, or urethane plastic, an air mattress can certainly be considered a vegan option, although it may not be a chemical-free or sustainable one. As with all other mattress options, some higher end air mattresses have deluxe mattress coverings which may contain animal byproducts.

Your mattress, your choice

As a vegan, there’s no compromise when it comes to finding products that are free from animal ingredients — including mattresses. While difficult, it’s good to know that there are vegan mattress options you can choose from.

If you want a vegan organic latex mattress, any of our “latex mattresses” are considered vegan, don’t contain any animal byproducts and are the most sustainable way of creating a vegan mattress. If you have any questions you can reach out to us directly at Nature’s Embrace and we'll be happy to help you explore your best options.

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