Getting a good quality night's sleep is not as straightforward as you might think.There are so many variables involved, from your personal health and the environmental conditions, to what you are wearing and the mattress you are sleeping on. We are going to take a look now into one of the fundamental building blocks of a peaceful sleep, the materials used to make your mattress. When searching for a mattress you are likely to find yourself bombarded with confusing terminology and jargon, and if your search has been for a natural material mattress you have probably come across the acronyms GOTS and GOLS, but what do they mean?
What is GOTS?
GOTS, Global Organic Textile Standard, is an independent body that assesses the raw materials used and manufacturing processes in the production of Organic textiles. The assessment has 4 key elements:
- ORGANIC FIBRES - The fibres must be grown to the organic standards set by the country/ region of origin.
- ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL CRITERIA - The manufacturer must demonstrate best practices in waste water management; limiting the use of any chemicals in the processing; and fair and open employment practices.
- ALL PROCESSING STAGES - The standard covers the full process from seed to finished material.
- THIRD-PARTY CERTIFICATION - The use of independent 3rd party accreditation bodies protects the credibility and integrity of the Standard.
Once a company has been assessed they will be certified as either simply having a 70% organic fibre content, or a minimum of 95% organic content. At Snoozel Green our Organic Cotton and Sheep wool are GOTS certified to the highest standard, with a minimum of 95% organic content, so you can rest assured that the sleep surface is made using completely natural materials, in a completely natural way that does minimal damage to the environment, whilst promoting positive social and employment practices.
What is GOLS?
GOLS, Global Organic Latex Standard, has similar objectives to those of GOTS, namely to ensure the ethical production of Organic latex products. The Rubber tree plantations used will be assessed to ensure that the trees are grown without the use of chemical fertilisers; that the processing of the tapped latex involves no synthetic chemical additives or fillers; and the workers are fairly treated at all stages of the manufacturing process.
Why is Snoozel Green latex not GOLS certified? Our supplier is in the process of gaining certification, but having visited the plantations and processing facility we have seen first hand that they actually go above and beyond the criteria laid out by GOLS to produce our 100% natural grade A tree tapped latex, which is blended with graphite to make it naturally fire retardant.
The key thing that you are looking to avoid is synthetic latex, which is made using a man-made petroleum based material. This shares a lot of the same properties as natural latex, but is less resilient, elastic and durable, but most importantly, more toxic. The chemicals in the material will be released, off-gassed, as the synthetic latex breaks down over time, which can lead to a whole raft of health issues. The most common type of synthetic latex is memory foam, so we strongly advise that you avoid this material that has become so pervasive in the mattress industry as a heap substitute for the natural option.
In summary, the GOTS and GOLS certifications are two great ways to ensure that the product you are buying contains Organic materials that have been organically grown to a high standard, processed in a clean and ethical way, and that no worker has been exploited along the way. Keep an eye out for their logos and always question the provenance of materials when selecting your mattress.