Latex Mattresses Biodegradability Explained By A Molecular Biologist.
Latex mattresses are one of the most popular alternatives to traditional mattresses. Natural latex is made from a renewable resource and has many advantages over synthetic materials. But what about its biodegradability? Can you throw away a natural latex mattress after it gets old or damaged, or does it need special recycling treatment? This article will explore whether natural latex mattresses are biodegradable and what steps you should take to recycle them after their useful life.
How Natural Latex is Harvested
The harvesting process for natural latex is simple. Like maple syrup, latex trees are tapped at specific times of the year when they produce sap. The process removes a small section of bark, leaving the tree unharmed. For every 100-150 taps on a tree, farmers can collect only about 20 cups of natural latex a day. As a general rule, producing one double mattress<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”> requires a whole day’s output of 12 acres of natural latex trees. This means more forests!
This sap is then whipped into foam and poured into moulds. Latex is also one of the only foams that can be moulded into specific shapes, sizes, and densities. This allows for high levels of customization and personalisation. The whipped latex is then baked at high temperatures, going through vulcanization and turning into natural latex foam. This foam is then rinsed to remove any leftovers and proteins.
Latex is a material that has been used for over 100 years, and it’s an environmentally friendly option. It doesn’t produce any harmful byproducts in the manufacturing process, so if you want to make your home more eco-friendly, then latex may be right up your alley!
Natural Latex Biodegradability
Biodegradability is a term to describe how easy it is for organic matter to be broken down by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. This is an excellent example of biodegradation if you have a compost heap in your garden. The Soil Burial Test is often used to determine a material’s biodegradability. This test involves placing a sample of a material such as natural latex foam in the ground and measuring reductions in mass over a specific period.
Here is the finding of a study
Weight loss of natural latex foam during 3-month soil burial.
As you can see, over three months, there was a significant decrease in the mass of the latex foam. This was due to biodegradation. We can estimate that natural latex foam takes anywhere from 1 to 2 years to be fully biodegraded at that rate of breakdown. The study concluded that ‘the weight loss percentage proved the biodegradability of the natural latex foam upon soil burial. The cell structure’s degraded area further supported the biodegradability of NR latex foam.
Natural Latex is Environmentally Friendly
Natural latex is probably the most eco-friendly mattress material in the world. As we have previously proved, natural latex foam is entirely biodegradable, which means you can return it to the earth as soon as its useful life is over. However, the benefits for the environment don’t end there.
Natural latex mattresses do not contain any petroleum-based foams, so they will never release VOCs. They are also made without toxic chemicals like formaldehyde or chlorine, which can harm the environment.
One of our favorite benefits of natural latex mattresses is that they often do not contain toxic fire retardants. People who tend to purchase natural latex mattresses are informed, consumers. They have a high standard in what they want their products to be made of and demand from manufacturers a mattress free from harmful chemicals and environmentally friendly.
This does not mean these mattresses are fire retardant. Natural latex will burn if you apply enough heat. However, natural latex mattress companies often find alternative ways to make their mattresses fire retardant without toxic chemicals.
Does Natural Latex Release harmful VOCs?
While the odour of some mattresses can be a sign that chemicals have been used in their production, the smell produced by natural latex is often a sign of its purity.
The smell produced by natural latex mattresses is often described as mild vanilla. However, the odour from these mattresses will diminish over time and should not affect your sleep quality. The smell of natural latex mattresses does not bother most people when they lie down on them for the first time because their senses are distracted by how comfortable the mattresses feel.
Is Natural Latex Safe?
Many people are concerned with the allergy risks of natural latex; however, due to the production method, most people can sleep on a mattress containing natural latex without experiencing any allergic reactions. Natural latex foam mattresses baked moulded whipped sap in an oven at high temperatures. This process denatures the proteins in latex that could cause an allergic reaction. Furthermore, the foam is also washed, which removes most of the rest of the proteins that could cause an allergic reaction.
There has never been a recorded case of latex mattresses causing an allergic reaction in the twenty years that natural latex has been utilized.
Natural latex mattresses are made from100% biodegradable materials. They’re eco-friendly and perfect for those who want to sleep on something that will break down without harming the environment. They also come in many sizes, firmnesses, and thicknesses, so there’s one that is perfect for your needs.
You deserve to sleep well at night knowing you’re not hurting our planet while doing it. With natural latex mattresses, you can rest easy knowing your purchase is helping make this world a better place!