Here comes the vegan bed!

Mattresses are undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of furnishing at our homes. A good mattress can rid you of back and neck pains that are quite common among people these days. When people pick a mattress, however, they always look for comfort – back support, cushioning, skin-friendly material and so on. Little does one think about the impact they have on the environment.

Traditional spring and foam mattresses have several environmental impacts that most of us are unaware of. Most mattresses aren’t vegan unless they’re specifically labeled as such. This is most usually owing to the presence of wool and/or feathers in the mattress’s bedding. A mattress’s vegan status can also be harmed by chemicals that have been tested on animals.

Why do vegans avoid wool? After all, sheep aren’t frequently slaughtered for the purpose of producing wool, are they? Sheep reared for wool are eventually slaughtered and sold for their meat, despite the fact that this may seem rational. Before being butchered, ‘dual-purpose’ sheep usually survive for 5-6 years (less than half of their natural lifespan). These sheep are not only butchered, but they also dwell in appallingly brutal conditions, frequently dying of starvation and/or hypothermia. In addition to the neglect, there has been evidence of physical abuse in the sector. Choosing a wool-free mattress is, therefore, the most ethical option, because it is in the best interests of these sentient individuals.

This thought drove Martin Joseph, the founder of Kochi-based Mattress Club, to pursue the eco-friendly and vegan line of business. “Mattress Club has been endorsed by PETA. Our vegan mattresses and pillows have been verified to be free of wool or other products that have been tested on animals,” he says.

What really makes a mattress vegan?
“Plant fibers such as organic cotton and latex foam are commonly used in vegan, eco-friendly, and non-toxic mattresses. Harmful chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, and flame retardants are avoided. Products made from or tested on animals are, of course, a strict no-no,” Martin adds.

The green drive
Martin and his brother Mathew have their roots in Pala, known for its rubber cultivation. “Rubber plantations and the life surrounding them form a vivid part of our childhood memories. We wanted to do something that’s nature-friendly and supports the rubber industry,” says Mathew.

The brothers say they attend major mattress expos in the US, Germany and Hong Kong. “We saw this trend of vegan mattresses in international markets over the past few years. An increasing number of customers have been showing interest in natural, eco-friendly mattresses and sleep accessories,” says Mathew. “As of now, we have 12 stores in Kerala, and online sales across India.”

Is latex vegan?
Natural latex, which comes from rubber trees, is vegan. Not all latex mattresses, however, are vegan. After all, some of them have a wool cover or are filled with wool batting. Besides, some types of latex are synthetic and consist of toxic ingredients that can cause a variety of health issues.

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