How To Create A Sustainable And Healthy Bedroom. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Emily Doe from Beyond Bamboo. Emily will share advice on creating a sustainable and healthy bedroom. Beyond Bamboo is a global community of sustainable products, services and suppliers working collectively to restore and rejuvenate the planet. With a consumer marketplace, a B2B supplier portal, a knowledge hub and a team of passionate people dedicated to triple bottom line reporting, Beyond Bamboo aim to help us all do well by doing good. www.beyondbamboo.online
How To Create A Sustainable And Healthy Bedroom
Colours, sizes and styles may vary, but all bedrooms combine a bed, bed linen, and soft furnishings to create a comfortable area for sleeping. So how can we be more sustainable regarding products such as mattresses, bed frames and bedding?
There are lots of companies making sustainable and organic mattresses in the UK. And that’s a great place to start, but it doesn’t solve the issue of what to do with a mattress at the end of its life. Can they be reused or recycled? According to The Furniture Recycling Group, Wembley Stadium could be filled five times with the 7.5 million mattresses discarded in the UK annually. Buying a new mattress will likely cost you hundreds of pounds, so most people would prefer not to pay even more money to dispose of their old one.
How Long Does A Mattress Last?
The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress as often as every seven years because it will have been subjected to more than 20,000 hours of use. That’s the equivalent of 2,555 nights, which is a lot when you consider that adults lose an average of half a pint of fluid each night and shed a pound of dead skin cells each year. But Which? durability tests revealed that the best mattresses could last up to a decade without softening, sagging, or becoming less supportive. So, if you buy a good mattress and clean it regularly, it could last ten years. Only replacing your mattress when it needs it is an excellent first step to reducing waste. But at some point, it will need replacing, so how do you dispose of it?
A report by Which? Looking at mattress disposal suggests that finding a way to dispose of a mattress free of charge is not easy, especially if you want to get rid of it responsibly. Far too many end up in landfill sites when most could have been recycled or reused. Therefore it’s essential to gather advice on how long a mattress should last and how to look after your bed and get rid of it responsibly once it’s past its best.
There are a variety of different options when it comes to disposal. Some of them are expensive, environmentally damaging, and even illegal. So be sure you research and choose an ethical and environmentally conscious one.
The best way to dispose of a mattress is to ask the company you are buying your new mattress from if they will recycle your old one. Ask them about recycling and what happens to your bed once they collect it. If you’re satisfied with their answers, then go ahead. If not, the next best option is to take it to your local council recycling centre. Alternatively, look for mattress recycling companies and pay to have your mattress picked up and recycled. Again, always ask questions about what happens to the bed and only book with a company you feel you can trust.
The good news is that at least some parts of your mattress will be recyclable, and all of it may be. While mattress recycling is relatively labour-intensive, more and more facilities capable of doing so are springing up around the UK. These facilities will break down your mattress into its recyclable components. Springs can then be melted down and remade into new metal products. Synthetic layers, such as foam, can be used to make carpet underlay or are sent to a plant where the waste is converted into energy.
When updating your bedroom furniture—for example, bed frames, wardrobes and drawers. Think first about upcycling them and giving them a fresh lease of life rather than buying new ones. Or look for new-to-you items in charity shops, antique markets and car boot sales. If this doesn’t work, you’ve set your heart on a new item. Arrange to donate your old item to a charity shop that takes furniture (not all can so do ask first). Or talk to the company you are buying from and check they can collect your old item and donate or recycle it. This is one way to support the circular economy and reduce waste if you can’t either up-cycle yourself or find up-cycled pieces to buy.
“We use our furniture daily; it forms an integral part of our homes. Modern living has caused a shift towards disposable living and utilising flat-packed furniture that generally does not support a sustainable planet. This furniture is often made from timber which is not replaced and is held together using glue full of chemicals. The furniture is cheap, cheaply made, damaging to the environment and won’t last more than a few years. Instead, look for companies that produce Sustainable Furniture by procuring wood sourced from forestry protected by commissions – cabinet-level government ministries responsible for managing and conserving their nations’ forests. They patrol the forests, prevent illegal logging and ensure a new tree is planted for each one that is felled. Logging trees is done sustainably, using techniques like thinning that help promotes new tree growth.” Explains Margaret Larson, Founder of Sustainable-Furniture (UK) Ltd.
Bedding And Soft Furnishings
One of the easiest sustainable swaps in your bedroom will be your bedding and soft furnishings. Although the same rules apply before—only buy when you need to—these items tend to be replaced more often. The good news is that they are easy to reuse (for example, as dust sheets, thrown over the sofa to prevent dog hairs or cut into rags for cleaning) or recycle (most charity shops will take them, and they are then sold as rags – this earns the charity money and means the fabric is reused). Alternatively, many animal rescue centres will take old bedding to give their residents something soft to sleep on.
However, they aren’t generally items we buy second-hand. When buying new, look for bedding made from sustainable materials such as organic hemp, linen, cotton, Bamboo (Modal), and eucalyptus (Lyocell/Tencel). The benefits are multiple: antibacterial properties; chemical-free; moisture-wicking; comfort; and long-lasting durability.
Choosing The Right Materials
Also, consider the materials your duvet and pillows are made from. Is it cruelty-free? For example, avoid feathers and down – an animal has had to suffer (quite horrifically) to make that pillow or duvet. Duvets are often made from unsustainable (plastic-based) materials. Therefore, it may be worth considering moving away from duvets altogether. And returning to traditional blankets and throws for your bedding. However, if you choose this route, you’ll still need to check that the throws, rugs and blankets do not contain plastic and are cruelty-free.
It’s important to note that Polyester Fibre fill is hazardous to health and the environment. Yet gets promoted as vegan, as do microbeads. Hence the importance of finding companies that create bedding from natural, sustainable fibres where possible.
For example, there are pillows and mattresses made of organic latex. The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) establishes a clear path and procedure on the route from the farmer level to the certified organic latex product manufacturer. Among other factors, manufacturers approved to produce organic products under the GOLS logo must follow mandatory social and environmental regulations. GOLS enables manufacturers, exporters, and sellers to showcase a unique product of organic origin. Socially justifiable, environmentally friendly and traceable throughout its value chain. Certified organic woollen duvets, pillows and mattresses are also available in the UK and have a whole range of qualities that can help you sleep better.
Suppose you want to help promote your wealth and protect the environment simultaneously. In that case, it’s essential to consider what materials your bedding, furniture and other soft furnishing are made from and what happens to the items you are replacing. It is straightforward to make these sustainable swaps. It just takes a few minutes to think about the options rather than ‘do the usual’.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Doe is Brand Warrior at Beyond Bamboo, a global community of sustainable products, services and suppliers working collectively to restore and rejuvenate the planet. With a consumer marketplace, a B2B supplier portal, a knowledge hub and a team of passionate people dedicated to triple bottom line reporting, Beyond Bamboo aim to help us all do well by doing good.