Know What to Look For Before Buying Eco-Friendly Bedding
Consumers like to think that they’re responsible shoppers. They’d like to think that they’re careful and thoughtful shoppers and that they aren’t swept up in marketing hype that urges people to buy things on impulse. On the other hand, furniture and bed linen manufacturers are always competing against one another, hoping to beat out the competition. It’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff and to figure out what these companies are offering consumers – besides the popular lingo and advertising strategies that cover up the relevant details about the products they’re advertising.
An important part of being an environmentally conscious shopper involves learning about the products you will buy. When it comes to bedding, nothing could be as apt as the saying “knowledge is power.”
Bedding Made From Natural Textiles Isn’t Necessarily Green
If you want to be sure that your bedding is eco-friendly, you have to delve deep enough to see beyond the raw textiles that are used to make bed linens. To put things into perspective, let’s consider cotton. Cotton is an excellent material for bedding because it’s durable, it breathes well, and it’s comfortable.
What most people don’t realize is that traditional cotton (versus certified organic cotton,) is arguably one of the least green crops grown anywhere in the world. Conventional cotton is far more pesticide laden than any food crop you buy in the grocery store. According to Mother Earth News, conventional cotton farming is responsible for 25 percent of the United States’ pesticide use. The Sustainable Cotton Project explains that it accounts for 10 percent of the rest of the world’s pesticide use. In other words, cotton is one of the biggest sources of soil contamination in the world. The pesticides that contaminate soil also seep into the water supply.
Cotton farmers depend on their yield for their livelihood. They can’t afford to lose their crop to insect infestations or other problems. The cotton that is grown for use in the textile industry is treated with massive amounts of pesticides and other pollutants. The chemical treatment doesn’t stop there, however. The bleach and dyes used in the textile manufacturing industry are added chemical pollutants.
The Oeko-Tex Standard was developed by European textile institutes who were committed to finding a way to reduce our environmental footprint. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is a global testing and accreditation program that successfully sets the standards for the screening of harmful substances in consumer textiles.
Products with the Oeko-Tex label are tested and guaranteed to be free of all harmful substances including toxins and irritants so the fabrics you bring into your home are safe, natural and healthy.
What to Look for When Buying Bedding
Sierra Club Green Home suggests that you look for bedding that specifies that it contains no formaldehyde. You’re likely to find that in cotton flannel and cotton jersey bedding.
Look for other natural and sustainable fabrics like:
- Organic cotton or any other organic bedding materials
- Bamboo – which is a renewable resource that is grown for everything from flooring and wooden furniture to fabric for bedding and clothing.
- Modal, which is a type of rayon that is made from the pulp of beech trees.
What to Look for in Blankets and Comforters
When you’re looking for green bedding, think beyond the sheets. Consider the materials that are used to make the blankets or quilts you place on your beds. While price is always a concern, don’t let that be the driving force behind your purchases. When you buy quality bedding made of sustainable fabrics, you’ll be more comfortable in bed, and that can translate into lower utility bills because you use less energy. Organically grown natural materials are always the greenest option. Avoid using electric blankets because most electricity is produced from fossil fuels.
Educate yourself so that you know what to look for and what to avoid. When you become more eco-conscious, you’ll also discover how much better the quality of your sleep is because your bed and bed linen are so much more comfortable.