Organic Bedding Explained
As sustainability grows in popularity, the term ‘organic’ has become a well-used buzzword. But what does an organic label actually mean? And is opting for organic bedding worth it?
We’ve taken a closer look at what makes some bedding organic and whether a set of organic bed sheets would make a good addition to the bedroom.
ORGANIC Bedding KEY QUESTIONS AND INFORMATION
- What is Organic Bedding?
- Organic Fabrics
- Eco-Friendly Fabrics
- How Organic Bedding is Good for the Environment
- Benefits of Organic Bedding
- Organic Certifications
- Organic Bedding Options
WHAT IS ORGANIC BEDDING?
Organic bedding is labelled due to the fabric that it is made from. It is much softer than non-organic bedding and provides a more comfortable, natural night’s sleep.
For fabric to be considered organic, it must contain a minimum of 95% of the original organic product. Additionally, the natural source from which it is made must be grown in controlled settings without the use of any unnatural pesticides, herbicides, insecticides or fertilisers.
Cotton is one of the most widely used fabrics but is famously bad for the environment because of the water demand and high use of pesticides. However, a newer form of organic cotton has joined the market and is slowly beginning to replace conventional cotton.
Organic cotton uses less water and is grown without the use of artificial pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers which protects both the local ecosystems and workers. It is also good for the soil and keeps it nutritious, fertile and healthy.
Linen is made from flax seeds which don’t require many fertilisers or pesticides. It is highly sustainable and generally ‘green’ to grow; however, very little linen is organic.
Flax is often treated with nitrates which, although not as harmful as toxic chemicals used in pesticides and insecticides, can still enter ecosystems through water run and cause damage.
Although, linen is generally a greener option, only organic certified linen can guarantee that no artificial or damaging pesticides, insecticides or other chemicals have been used during flax growth.
The hemp plant naturally grows sustainably. It doesn’t require any harmful pesticides or insecticides. Hemp fabric is made from the fibres of the plant stem. It can be made in a very green method using the original fibres or it can be made into hemp viscose which is an environmentally damaging process.
Even though hemp fabric can be made in an environmentally friendly manner and sustainable grown, it is still important to make sure that the hemp fabric is certified as organic because some farmers use fertilisers that are environmentally damaging.
The terms eco-friendly and organic are sometimes used interchangeably but actually describe different types and production methods of fabric. ‘Organic’ describes the process of strategically controlling and monitoring crops to make their growth and harvesting better for the environment.
‘Eco-friendly’ instead means the use of sustainable materials that are naturally organic. They do not need to be so closely monitored or controlled and they naturally grow in areas where pesticides are not required.
Eco-friendly fabrics have natural, plant-based sources such as bamboo, eucalyptus or beech trees. This makes them completely renewable as more of the key ingredient can be grown as fast as it is consumed. As they are plant based, eco-friendly fabrics are also biodegradable and will not be filling up landfills for years to come.
Tencel™ is a brand of lyocell fabric that is made from the cellulose of wood pulp from sustainably sourced materials. The trees, commonly eucalyptus, do not require any harmful pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers and do not cause any damage to the soil.
Tencel™ is a newer, sustainable fabric option with an incredibly soft feel, great breathability and durability. It is also made in a closed loop system without the use of toxic chemicals. Tencel™ is a popular eco-friendly fabric that is naturally organic due to how it is grown and produced.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and has the biggest potential for renewability. It doesn’t require any chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers to grow and the fibre is completely biodegradable.
Bamboo linen is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics available but takes a very long time to produce just a small amount. Most bamboo fabric that is sold is actually bamboo viscose which is made with the use of toxic chemicals that can be highly damaging to the environment.
HOW ORGANIC BEDDING IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Organic growth of natural materials that are used for organic bedding is actually good for the soil it is grown in. During the non-organic growth of crops, the ground is often exploited until it is dry and infertile.
The lack of pesticides prevents the soil from and groundwater from becoming polluted which goes on to protect the local ecosystems, saving animals, plants and humans from harm.
Additionally, healthy, nutritious soil is great for protection against extreme weather. It can absorb excess water to prevent flooding and can is more tolerant of higher temperatures, allowing for the grows of crops even during short dry spells.
Water usage is a big issue in the fabric production industry. Factories and crop growth can put huge demand on local water systems. Organic bedding uses drastically less water which is great for local systems and also prevents water wastage.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC BEDDING
Organic bedding isn’t only good for the environment. Many organic fabrics are also much better quality and make excellent bed sheets. Organic bedding can lead to sleep, life and health improvements
Better night sleep
There are a number of organic fabrics on the market that can be used as bedding and each have a slightly different manufacturing process. However, to be considered organic, the use of chemicals is limited, and the treatment of fibres is much gentler. This means that the majority of organic fabrics will be naturally much softer.
The softness of organic bed sheets will create a more comfortable sleeping environment which can be the key to improvement of sleep. Sleeping deeper and longer will in turn have positive effects on an individual’s overall health.
Natural fibres, particularly the longer natural fibres common to organic materials, are typically very absorbent. Organic bedsheets are therefore capable of wicking away moisture throughout the night and regulating temperature. This breathability will keep sleepers warm in the winter and cool and dry in the summer.
Some sleep experts estimate that we spend up to a third of our lives sleeping. When spending such a huge proportion of our lives in bed, it’s important to think about the quality of our sleeping environment and the effect it may have on our health.
Non-organic materials used in bedding are heavily processed with various toxic chemicals. Some of these chemicals, such as those used to develop wrinkle-resistance, can release known carcinogens like formaldehyde.
Children and babies in particular can be highly sensitive to the chemicals used in bedding fabrics and early exposure can put children at risk of harm.
Additionally, non-organic inks and dyes can contain heavy metal elements. Not only can these heavy metals be irritable for those with sensitive skin, they can also be triggering for allergies. They also weaken the fabric fibres which can damage the structural value of the fabric.
Organic bedding is free from harsh chemicals, unnatural treatments and synthetic dyes. This makes them hypoallergenic and a great choice for anyone with allergies or skin sensitivity. Organic bed sheets are dyed and pressed naturally without chemical assistance, creating a much safer and natural environment.
Switching to organic bedding sets can be life-changing for those with skin issues. The complete rejection of dyes and chemicals leaves the fabric free from common allergens and irritants.
Not only does this help with skin irritation and allergies, it could also help to clear up more serious skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.
Since organic products are well-known for their higher quality and benefits for the environment, there have been cases of misleading marketing and labelling that implies to the customer that non-organic bedding products are in fact organic.
Luckily for customers that want to buy organic bedding, there are independent certifications that can be awarded to organic bedding products. Buyers need only look out for one or more of these certifications to ensure that their organic bedding sets are the real deal.
One such certification is the global organic textile standard (GOTS). It is used worldwide and is only awarded to cotton that is grown and processed in line with organic standards.
ORGANIC BEDDING OPTIONS
Buying organic, eco-friendly fabrics is a great way for a person to reduce their environmental impact. The preservation of soils and local ecosystems is more sustainable and water consumption is massively reduced.
Organic certified materials are undoubtedly preferable to their non-organic counterparts, but each material is slightly different, and some are better for the environment than others.
For example, organic cotton uses a lot less water than conventional cotton uses and is much more environmentally friendly. However, organic cotton still uses a lot of water and land space.
Other options, such as Tencel™ which is an eco-friendly fabric and naturally organic, use much less water than organic cotton and use less land.