The past century saw a mounting concern for sustainable, “green” products that deliver the same quality of their predecessors. This was no easy task for businesses; “going green” often means retrofitting existing equipment, buying new production equipment, and restructuring marketing strategies to convince the consumer that their new eco-friendly product is the way to go. Memory foam mattress producers faced all the same challenges, and they have met them with exciting new products that reduce environmental impact. Changes that promote air flow, utilize all natural construction materials, and reduce dependence on oil-based derivatives all contribute to the creation of a new line of mattresses that are easy on the planet and the consumer’s checkbook alike.
Eco Foam is Cool
New memory foam mattresses are constructed with two major advances that allow for superior airflow: newly designed foam cells, and a channeled airflow layer. First, these new products are made with newly engineered foam that improves air circulation. These new foams are composed of octagonal shaped cells, similar to a honeycomb, that allow air molecules to move freely through the mattress. Keeping the air moving through a mattress is a key component of sleeping comfortably, as it carries body heat down through the mattress and away from the body. Traditional innerspring mattresses and original memory foam lack octagonal cell structures, resulting in heat retention and discomfort. Next, these new mattresses have a channeled airflow layer located just beneath the octagonal cells of the foam. As the permeable foam carries body heat through the mattress and away from the user, the channeled airflow layer removes the hot air from the mattress entirely.
Creating a cool sleeping surface is important in terms of ecological sustainability. When trying to reduce our impact on the environment, the first thing we must assess is our energy consumption. Usually, this is in the form of electricity. New memory foam helps users keep cool during the night, reducing their dependence on air conditioning each night.
New Foam is All Natural
Memory foam was first made with petroleum byproducts. This was the industry standard during the 1990s, and many big name brands still use this production technique today. Many consumers complain that mattresses made with petroleum byproducts emit a foul odor, and they worry that inhaling noxious fumes each night may be detrimental to long term health.
Responding to consumer complaints, memory foam manufacturers have begun to use all natural ingredients in mattress assembly. For example, many company’s use plant based materials like hemp, cotton, and tree sap instead of petroleum byproducts. Transitioning from petroleum-based to plant-based byproducts is an important step in reducing environmental impact. As we transition away from oil as a source of power and production material, we will reduce the need for dangerous and often times catastrophic oil exploration. Reducing and eventually eliminating the demand for oil and petroleum byproducts is the only way to preserve the longevity and integrity of our planet’s delicate ecosystems.
The coming year will surely see many exciting developments in technology and consumer products. After the past decade and this summer’s Deepwater Horizon tragedy in particular, expect manufacturers to respond to consumer demand for eco-friendly goods. We have seen this trend take the mattress industry by force, accelerating innovation and yielding sensible, high quality products.