In this complicated world we live in, the materials used in mattresses are no exception. There are many good reasons why you just can’t say natural materials are good and manmade are bad. Most poisons, neurotoxins and allergens are virtually all natural! If you look at any material hard enough you will find pros and cons.
The world’s most important resource is water. Cotton, for instance, uses up to 14,000 litres of water to grow one kilo of cotton, and uses pesticides. Sheep (wool) create a methane problem whilst wool (both organic or non-organic) is also treated with insecticides. Some people also have allergies to wool and plant material.
Most importantly, when it comes to the Circular Economy (i.e. everything should be recyclable if possible, to save the world resources), natural fibres can be found wanting as most natural fibres can only be recycled once, mainly made into a felt. That is why many natural fibres have a higher carbon footprint.
There are sites on the internet that will support anything natural and condemn anything manmade. This is not the way forward. Natural materials have their positive attributes, and this is the same for manmade fibres.
One of the most important manmade fibre is polyester, which is one of the oldest and simplest polymers. Polyester fibre was developed in 1941 and has been mixed with cotton and worn next to the skin for generations. For decades it’s been used in fleeces and worn by walkers and climbers for its excellent venting and drying properties. These properties make it ideal for a mattress where ventilation and breathability are vital. Recycled polyester fibre also has the lowest off-gas of almost any fibre and very rarely causes any form of allergic reaction. It is also one of the important materials used in the Circular Economy as it can be recycled many times.
From a water use point of view, it only takes one litre of water to make one kilo of polyester unlike cotton. It is made from a petrochemical base and, one could argue, oil is also from a bio background.
At Cottonsafe® we believe the most important rule here is each material must be judged separately and assessed on both its advantages and disadvantages. By using our unique polyester covers on our Vegan range it allows us to get rid of kilos of pesticide-linked flame retardants, with all their problems of toxicity and skin permeability. And importantly, polyester within the mattress also allows us to get rid of foam which, again, contains a HUGE amount of toxic fire retardant chemicals – up to 20% of the weight of a mattress! This is our passion.