Eco-Friendly Bedding Guide: Pick the Best Eco Sheets for Your Bed

With an abundance of earth-respecting bedding options, maybe it's time to change the sheets!


| November/December 2007


As demand for green products increases, bedding is getting a makeover. Organically farmed cotton is more common. Manufacturers are obtaining wool from sustainably raised, grass-fed sheep. Bedding companies are experimenting with new fibers such as beech-tree cloth for sheets and milkweed down for pillow stuffing. Mattress makers have reintroduced all-natural, rubber-tree latex foam as an alternative to petroleum-based foam and synthetic latex blends.

Natural fibers offer respite for those with sensitivities to chemicals and dyes, and most natural fibers are hypoallergenic and softer than their synthetic counterparts.

Picking cotton and other fibers

Cotton sheets are cool, absorbent and durable. They hold up to hot-water washings, making them ideal for babies and hospitals. Unfortunately, conventional cotton farming is responsible for much of the world’s pesticide use—25 percent of the total in the United States and more than 10 percent worldwide, according to the Sustainable Cotton Project (www.SustainableCotton.org). While the risk of pesticide contamination through cotton fibers in bedding is negligible, the effect on soil and water is enormous.

Fortunately, you have your choice of several better bedding options. Organic cotton is farmed with natural controls and no hazardous chemicals. Alternative fibers such as bamboo, hemp and wood pulp (also sold under the trade names Lyocell, Tencel and Legna) can be grown sustainably, without chemical pesticides and herbicides.

Some alternative fibers are equal or superior to cotton in texture, luster or warmth, though some are less durable when subjected to dryers, irons, hot water or conventional detergents. Ask about fabric care before you purchase.





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