Sleep is bliss, but it isn’t always environmentally responsible. Many mattresses contain a toxic brew of chemicals — from flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ethers to formaldehyde and mercury — as well as petroleum-based ingredients. In recent years, sustainable mattress companies have risen to the challenge of making a clean, earth-friendly bed.
Some of these environmentally responsible companies sell “mattresses-in-a-box,” which are delivered in a small box and expand when opened. Earth911 collected supply chain, certification, and manufacturing details for 10 sustainable mattress manufacturers to help shoppers find the best earth-friendly sleep. We’ve filtered out all companies that do not make an explicit promise that their products are green and healthy.
The results — displayed below in a printable chart — reveal a wide range of options for earth-friendly beds.
This article contains affiliate links to products that, if you make a purchase, support Earth911’s editorial mission.
To view our printable comparison chart, click the image below.
Our Rating Criteria
The factors we considered when assessing a mattress’ environmental friendliness and sustainability include the following keystones.
Company Supply Chain
The length of the company supply chain describes the distance materials are shipped before and after the mattress is manufactured. In all cases, the sustainable mattress companies in our list assemble their products in the United States, minimizing the post-manufacturing shipping burden.
Carbon Emissions Offsets
A second supply chain consideration is whether the mattress maker offsets their shipping and manufacturing carbon emissions with carbon credits or carbon sequestration programs, such as reforestation. All of the companies with the Leaders of the Pack designation offset their company carbon emissions.
Recyclable Mattress Materials
Recyclability of the mattress and materials is a common feature of sustainable mattresses. The latex, cotton, wool, and other materials in all the mattresses we reviewed are biodegradable. However, it is important to send a mattress to a responsible recycler to ensure that it does not end up in a landfill.
Recyclable Packaging Materials
Recyclability of mattress-in-a-box packaging is generally good. Every company we reviewed offers recyclable boxes and plastic wrapping in which the mattress ships. You may receive one, two, or more boxes in your order, but the cardboard packaging and plastic film should be fairly easy to recycle locally.
Mattress Recycling Services
Old mattress recycling services are not required in 47 states. Only California, Rhode Island, and Connecticut — and soon Oregon — have laws on the books requiring removal and recycling of an old mattress. Those states also charge a fee at purchase that ensures no-charge recycling at the mattress’ end of life. Unfortunately, none of the companies we reviewed seems to offer free recycling services.
Charity and Giving
Charity and giving programs are another important feature of a responsible company. Returned mattresses cannot be resold, so every company has a donation program to dispose of returned mattresses responsibly. Shoppers also want to know that their spending is supporting ethical business practices, which often involve extensive charitable giving. With active giving ranging from 1% for the Planet to extensive networks of charitable programs supported by most of the mattress makers in our comparison, you can find a sustainable mattress that aligns with your values.
Certifications: Safety First
Certifications are essential guidelines for mattress buyers. Consumer Reports provides a comprehensive summary of mattress materials certifications to look for when shopping. For a second opinion, read Triple Pundit’s assessment of the certifications for mattresses, many of which are forms of greenwashing.
Seek out products that have the following certifications:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading, and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibers.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) outlines requirements for latex products. To achieve GOLS certification, a product must contain more than 95% certified organic raw material and comply with permissible limits for harmful substances, emission test requirements, and polymer and filler percentages.
- CertiPUR-US certification of the foam used in the mattress. The CertiPUR-US seal ensures the mattress foam you or your kids sleep on is made without chemical flame retardants, mercury and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates. CertiPUR-US also reviews the emissions, or “off-gassing,” by new mattresses for low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, less than 0.5 parts per million.
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification addresses the safety and sustainability of textiles, such as cotton and wool, used in mattresses. The Standard 100 certification provides customers assurance that harmful chemicals and environmentally harmful substances are not produced by the manufacturing process or included in the product.
- eco-INSTITUT certification involves similar testing, measuring the emissions from the mattress, and the environmental responsibility of the sourcing of materials. In particular, eco-INSTITUT examines the sources of latex, which is harvested from rubber trees, and used in mattresses.
- GREENGUARD Gold certification, from United Laboratories, validates that a mattress does not exceed the emission standards for VOCs that contribute to indoor pollution.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified latex and wood products ensure that these products come from responsibly-managed forests.
- Fair Trade certification ensures safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods, and community development funds where these products are cultivated.
- Cradle-to-Cradle certification is a global standard for products that are “safe, circular and responsibly made.”
- Rainforest Alliance certification involves third-party auditors evaluating growers for social, environmental, and economic factors.
- The MADE SAFE seal means that products are nontoxic and made with safe ingredients for human health.
Earth911’s Sustainable Mattress Rankings
No single mattress is right for everyone, and manufacturers take different approaches to delivering a sustainable mattress at the right price. You need to be aware of the trade-offs they make so that you arrive at the environmental outcome you want.
Completely organic materials are prohibitively expensive for many consumers and the length of supply chains varies dramatically. These two factors, along with certifications, are the most important to our general ranking of the companies.
We broke down the top green mattress manufacturers into three categories: Leaders of the Pack, Green Innovators, and Noticeably Green. The top designation, Leaders of the Pack, is for companies with at least one material sourced in the United States, numerous third-party certifications, and emission offset programs. Green Innovators may lack emissions offset programs or are less transparent about their supply chains. Finally, manufacturers in the Noticeably Green category don’t offset emissions and provide less information on charitable giving programs.
Leaders of the Pack
Avocado offers 10 organic mattresses in total and has a certified-vegan version of its eponymous mattress. It is a Certified B Corporation and is Climate Neutral Certified. The mattresses are GREENGUARD Gold certified and OEKO-TEX textile safety. Its products use 100% GOTS organic certified cotton and wool, as well as hydrated silica as a natural fire retardant. The latex originates from Kochi, India, where it is cultivated and processed by Avocado Organic Latex. Mattresses are assembled and shipped from California. Avocado purchases carbon offsets through Carbonfund.org and uses easily recycled LDPE plastic in its packaging. As members of 1% for the Planet, Avocado donates 1% of its revenue to vetted environmental nonprofits.
Birch by Helix
Helix goes the extra mile to ensure sustainably sourced material, safe working conditions, and nontoxic mattresses. Materials include certified organic cotton, ethical wool, and sustainably farmed latex. The firm works with a variety of partners to ensure high standards and levels of certification, while also giving back through environmental charity giving programs. Also, it participates in a carbon offset program.
Brentwood Home (Avocado Brands)
Brentwood Home, an Avocado company, makes one of the two vegan mattresses (no wool) in our review: the Crystal Cove mattress. The company uses one of the most extensive supply chains among the companies we reviewed, but it makes an annual carbon offset payment to compensate for the shipping and manufacturing of its mattresses. It donates money to Carbonfund.org for reforestation projects that sequester carbon equal to its production footprint. Brentwood Home and Avocado also have numerous extensive sustainability certifications — of the quality seals that matter — among companies reviewed here. Both companies emphasize the recyclability of their packaging and offer white-glove installation, which does not include old mattress removal and recycling.
Naturepedic is an excellent source of sustainable mattresses. The company has all the necessary certifications — including GOTS and GOLS sustainably made textile and latex and GreenGuard air quality tests. Naturepedic mattresses are generally more expensive than Avocado, Birch by Helix, and Brentwood Home, making the brand a luxury choice for those looking for a long-lived high-quality mattress. Naturepedic works with Climate Neutral to measure and offset its carbon footprint. Because Naturepedic does not share its supply chain information in detail, Earth911 added them to this list in fourth place.
The Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress features latex and coil construction and an impressive lifetime warranty. It has earned numerous certifications, including GreenGuard Gold, and uses Rainforest Alliance-certified latex, organic cotton, and organic New Zealand wool. It uses silica-based flame retardants and water-based adhesives. Also, the company plants a tree for every purchase to help offset emissions. However, Awara is a bit vague about its materials sourcing and doesn’t feature charitable giving programs.
While it does rely on latex from Asia, Happsy encourages sustainable rubber plantation practices which, the company says, lowers its carbon emissions. Shipping latex to its factory is its largest carbon footprint contributor. Happsy also buys organic cotton from a Texas growers’ collective. When possible, the company sources wool from U.S. suppliers but most of its wool comes from New Zealand and Australia. A donor to 1% for the Planet, Happsy is poised to rise in these rankings by adding carbon offsets.
PlushBeds is a leading online luxury mattress manufacturer and retailer, specializing in organic mattresses and bedding. All products are handcrafted in their GOLS and GOTS certified organic production facility in California, with free shipping within the contiguous USA. The company offers a thorough selection of certified organic mattresses at accessible prices, especially through key holidays, so keep an eye out for their promotions. Each of the brand’s mattresses is GREENGUARD Gold Certified, ensuring your bed has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low chemical emissions. The company also provides environmental scholarships for college students, gives back to environmental and social nonprofits, and offsets 100% of its carbon emissions via TerraPass.
The Spindle latex mattress features organic Dunlop latex, wool, and cotton and has made a concerted effort in the last year to transition to certified organic materials. Its products also feature U.S.-grown cotton, which can reduce the carbon footprint of its supply chain when compared to cotton grown overseas. It also has some very strong charitable giving programs, including a commitment to donate one mattress for every 10 sold and to donate 10% of its after-tax profits to environmental nonprofits. It could increase its ranking by participating in a carbon offset program and earning GREENGUARD certification.
Another quality U.S. mattress manufacturer, Nest uses a nice array of organic materials. Their mattresses feature a lifetime warranty, excellent breathability, and phase-change cooling that makes it cool to the touch. With a design for waste reduction, each mattress features a zipper that allows customers to swap out or replace the comfort layer, significantly extending the life of the mattress. During the trial period, customers can even swap out the layer for a different feel. Nest recommends rotating the layer every six months to ensure more even wear on the mattress. With no recycling, a vague corporate giving initiative, and no carbon offset programs, Nest is lower on the list.
Saatva has excellent materials sourcing processes and builds its mattresses at 19 different locations and 145 fulfillment locations in the U.S. On average, a mattress travels less than 100 miles from the factory to its new home, saving energy and supporting the local economy. This online-only mattress company sources some of its materials from North America. The company was founded to disrupt the mattress store business with less-hassle shopping online. Nevertheless, it has worked hard to build a sustainable mattress. Its latex foam, organic cotton, and wool sourcing — and use of recycled steel spring coils — make Saatva mattresses a solid green option. The company could improve its ranking by earning more third-party certifications, such as GREENGUARD and GOTS-certified organic materials and by offsetting its emissions.
Previously in Top 10
Tuft & Needle
Tuft & Needle is the darling of Silicon Valley, founded by sleep nerds who built a robust business with retail locations in several states. It makes great strides to ensure nontoxic ingredients and flame retardancy and it’s available on Amazon.com. However, it does not contain organic ingredients, offset its carbon emissions, or provide mattress recycling and offers little information on charitable giving.
Casper has created a sensation online, contributing to the popularity of mattress-in-a-box products through online and retail locations. Its engineers work to improve the comfort and sustainability of its mattresses, but the company does not publish extensive supply chain information to validate its materials sourcing and makes no investment in carbon offsets. We are, however, very impressed with Casper’s charitable efforts. The company has contributed more than 70,000 times to homeless and women’s shelter programs, as well as employee volunteers who work with Start Small Think Big as well as Women In Need. Casper can improve in the rankings with more transparency and an effort to reduce its overall carbon footprint and to source organic materials.
EcoCloud by WinkBed
Composed of Talalay latex and pocketed coils, with an organic cotton and wool cover, this mattress is known to wick moisture. The EcoCloud by WinkBed has an impressive list of certifications including OEKO-TEX, Rainforest Alliance, and GOTS-certified cotton but little information on how and where the materials are sourced.
Editor’s note: We originally published this buyer’s guide on September 28, 2018. We updated the rankings in May 2022.