We live in a world of madness.
Plastic is mounting up everywhere and toxic substances are used in the production lines of so many everyday items. Who would honestly choose this?
Let’s face it, the last thing that we want is more man-made substances cluttering up the planet and in our homes, substances that have been through toxic processes even if they are deemed safe before they get to us. When it comes to sleeping, you want to be sure you are lying next something as close to nature as possible.
What is Organic?
In the pursuit for more natural, organic bedding you will no doubt have come across the latest trend for bamboo.
While bamboo has only fairly recently made its debut on the market, it is actually just one more raw material used to make a fabric that has been around since 1855, and that is Rayon.
And it is Rayon derived from bamboo that you get in products advertised as bamboo – not just bamboo.
Rayon requires cellulose fiber derived from plants or trees to be manufactured. The problem is that it has to be heavily processed by dissolving the plant source in harsh toxic chemicals before it can be spun and then woven into the finished product. There are distinct advantages to using bamboo as a source of cellulose fiber in that it grows in abundance, it grows back when cut, it requires no pesticides, and it requires very little water. However, until more manufacturers take an interest in using benign eco-friendly manufacturing processes such as those employed in the production of Tencel for example which uses a closed system, and recycles 99.5-99.8% of the solvent it uses, it is unlikely that you would be getting a truly eco-friendly product.
There are some positive steps being taken even in the manufacture of man-made fabric.
Microfiber is made from 100% polyester which, although is sourced from coal, air, water, and petroleum, can be, and is now in many instances made from recycled plastic soda bottles, meaning there are fewer of them hanging about in the world to cause trouble.
You might think that cotton is as near to nature as you can get and is probably your safest choice but it’s more complicated than that. You see, while it is sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable, it uses up 25% of all the pesticides used in the US as well as even more polluting or toxic chemicals such as those used in the dyeing, bleaching and finishing processes.
I have no problem with you buying whatever fabric will make you and those in your life more comfortable. The key thing is to look after what you have. The less waste we dispose of, the kinder we are being to our planet. As with anything, treat your bedding with a little tenderness and love and it will love you right back, and reward you with years of comfort.
Linen vs Cotton Bedding
If it is important to you that your bedding is as natural and as eco-friendly as possible – kind to your skin, home, and our beautiful planet – then you should consider either organic cotton or pure linen as your bedding of choice.
Organic cotton and pure linen have many excellent qualities in common. Both are 100% natural, kind to the planet and to your skin, they are cool to the touch, durable and strong and they each get softer with every wash.
Linen requires very little in the way of recourses – making it one of the most eco-friendly fabrics available. Flax grows more easily in the cooler, damper climates of Western Europe and other than natural rain, the flax plant requires very little water. Unlike standard cotton, even non-organic flax requires few pesticides – fewer in fact than an ordinary potato! What’s more, no harsh or toxic chemicals are required to process the flax plant fibers. The plants are simply pulled from the roots and left in the field for a couple of months to soften naturally in the sun, rain, and soil. There is no waste left over from the manufacturing process and linen is also, needless to say, completely biodegradable and recyclable. Another advantage of linen is that the creases, imperfections, and crinkles are all part of its rustic charm! You can read more about linen and linen bedding under the Bedding drop-down menu at the top.
The photo, above right, shows part of the range of the beautiful Washed Linen Collection by Levtex, available here.
Organic cotton is as eco-friendly as you can get and has a charm and quality all of its own!
If you love that crisp, old-fashioned, high-class hotel quality feel, you can’t go wrong with pure 100% organic cotton bedding.
What to Look out for When Shopping for Your Bedding
There are certification standards that are always good to look out for, and I will point these out whenever I find a product that holds one of these which can be validated.
Of course, man-made fibers can never qualify as organic but as in the case of a gel infused memory foam topper that I reviewed, the company, “Lucid Mattresses,” is on the list of participating companies that meets CertiPUR-US® standards for content, emissions, and durability, and has been analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories. This means that the topper is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants, formaldehyde, phthalates, mercury, lead and other heavy metals and is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Notable and globally recognized in the regulation of organic cotton are the following: EU regulation (EC), USDA National Organic Programme (NOP), Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
These organizations have strict guidelines that must be complied with in order to qualify for certification. It is simply not enough to just exclude pesticides in the growing process. All stages of production must comply with these standards to ensure environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing is carried out right up to, and including the label.
Below are some excellent choices if you want to ensure that the bedding you choose has been produced following these strict guidelines and therefore qualifies for one of the above standards of certification.
Dream Collection Organic Cotton Sheet Set
by Magnolia Organics
This bed set is made from 100% Organic Cotton and certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Magnolia Organics is a listed company on GOTS’s public database. Whether you go for the crisp white, the natural shade or one of the beautiful earthy tones, they remind me of a box of chocolates, this bed set is as close to nature as they come. Instead of a plastic package, it even comes in a rather cute organic cotton shoulder bag. It has a 300 thread count and a sateen finish, which gives it the feel of silk and look of satin but if you wish you can opt for the 550 Count, Estate Collection, in a choice of 5 cooler tones.
Read the full review here.