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By Katharine Ferrera

 

Welcome, conscientious consumer!  If you clicked on this article, you may be looking for a new pillow. But you are probably also aware that most are made from synthetic materials that can emit toxic VOCs which damage your quality of sleep and have long-term health effects.  You want to make the right choice for yourself and your planet, but you’re having trouble finding the perfect pillow.  Don’t worry!  There are plenty of great natural options out there, and you don’t need to sacrifice sustainability in order to get a good night’s sleep.

Before we get into our top picks, here are four things to look for when choosing a pillow.

1 – Certifications: Look for independent, third-party certifications. GREENGUARD Gold and OEKO-TEX are the toughest standards for a mattress as a whole. Latex should be eco-INSTITUT® and/or Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified. Wool should be OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified. Cotton should be 100% organic and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. Ideally the product as a whole will be certified MADE SAFE® which means that it has been evaluated to ensure it is made without harmful chemicals.

Note: Be wary of non-independent certifications like CertiPUR-US which sounds good but is actually administered by the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, Inc. Nearly all petroleum-based polyurethane foams will qualify.

2 – Transparency: If a company isn’t clearly stating what materials are used in their mattresses, they’re probably trying to hide something. You’ll find that the truly eco-friendly mattress brands shout it from the mountaintops because they’re proud of what they’ve created.

3 – Vegan: Nowadays, “vegan” is a bit of a buzzword among environmentalists, but for good reasons.  Vegan products are generally better for the environment than animal products, since livestock and farm animals are a major source of carbon usage and methane emissions.  Plus, when you buy vegan you don’t need to worry that your purchase is harming animals – it’s by definition cruelty free!

4 – Goodness: Making a great product is one thing, but what about the big picture of how the business operates? Do they manufacture in the USA? Do they use recycled/minimal packaging? Do they give back? Support brands that go above and beyond.

 

Avocado Green Mattress

Our Favorite Avocado Green Pillow

Materials GOLS certified organic latex, GOTS certified kapok, GOTS certified organic cotton

Vegan? – Yes! No animal products here.

Price $89

Certifications GREENGUARD Gold, MADE SAFE®, eco-INSTITUT®, USDA Organic, FSC Certified, Formaldehyde Free, Vegan Certified, PETA Approved, Green America Certified, Sustainable Furnishings Council, Climate Neutral Certified, …

Guarantee 100 day trial, limited 1 year warranty

Delivery Free carbon neutral shipping to all US locations

GoodnessCertified B Corporation. 1% For the Planet – Avocado donates 1% of all revenues to environmental nonprofits

 

Avocado boasts that this is the best 100% organic pillow on the market, and their reviews agree!  This pillow is made solely out of high quality, certified organic and non-toxic materials – GOLS organic certified latex and GOTS organic certified kapok fill, GOTS organic certified quilted cotton cover. This is one of the most healthy, chemical-free pillows you will find on the market. It is also entirely vegan for extra peace of mind.  To top it off, it’s adjustable! Just unzip and add or subtract stuffing to get just the firmness that works best for you.

Avocado Green Mattress began in 2016.  Co-founders Alex and Jeff D’Andrea were looking for an environmentally friendly, non-toxic mattress they could actually afford, but all they could find was greenwashing and loopholes — so they decided to start their own company to provide high-quality, sustainably-sourced bedding products at affordable prices.

Avocado’s pillows are handmade in Los Angeles, by workers who are paid a living wage and given comprehensive benefits.  Their factory is one of the five mattress factories in the US to be both GOLS and GOTS Certified, meaning all their fabrics are free of toxic chemicals, protecting workers, customers, and the planet.  Avocado is a Carbonfree® Partner, meaning all the carbon emissions from their factory and product shipping are offset annually.

On top of all that, Avocado is certified B corporation, meaning they are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.  

Brentwood Home

Our Favorite  Crystal Cove Activated Charcoal Pillow

Materials Charcoal infused memory foam, stretch-knit polyester

Vegan? – Yes

Price $89

Certifications GREENGUARD Gold

Guarantee 30 day trial, limited 1 year warranty

Delivery Free shipping within 5-7 days (continental US only)

GoodnessBrentwood Home works with ReliefBeds to build mattresses for the homeless

 

The Crystal Cove Activated Charcoal Pillow is made out of memory foam infused with activated charcoal, which helps cool and purify the body during sleep.  Reviewers write that it’s firm but still comfortable, and though the pillow comes with a lot of fill, you can remove the fill and adjust to your comfort if you prefer a flatter pillow.  

Brentwood Home has over 30 years of experience handcrafting mattresses and bedding in Los Angeles.  They are committed to creating luxurious and affordable home essentials using only healthy and ethically-sourced materials.  

Lifekind

Our Favorites All of them, but especially their Organic Cotton Pillow

Materials GOTS certified organic cotton, GOLS certified natural rubber and latex, natural buckwheat hulls, GOTS certified organic wool

Vegan? – Some models 

Price Starting at $99

Certifications The Organic Cotton Pillow is completely GOTS certified

Guarantee Unopened products may be returned within 30 days

Delivery Items ship within 7-10 days

GoodnessNo CSR initiatives are mentioned on their website

 

Lifekind offers many pillows made entirely out of certified organic materials, ensuring that you’ll be able to find the perfect fit without sacrificing sustainability.  You will find pillows filled with wool, cotton, natural rubber, down, even buckwheat!. Some of their pillows allow you to adjust the firmness, while others, like the Organic Cotton Pillow, come in three loft sizes (light, medium, and full) so that you can choose how thick you want your pillow.  With such a wide assortment of products — including neck, body, and travel pillows — Lifekind has something for everyone.

Walt Bader had always been chemically sensitive and struggled to find quality products that wouldn’t cause irritation, so in 1997 he founded Lifekind with the goal of making safe household products with transparent, easy to understand ingredient lists.  Their products are handmade at their Eco-Factory in California, using GOLS and GOTS certified materials.

 

Naturepedic

Our Favorite Organic Cotton PLA Pillow

Materials Organic cotton, PLA from organic sugarcane

Vegan? – Yes

Price $79

Certifications OCS 100, MADE SAFE®, GREENGUARD Gold, Zero Toxics

Guarantee Free returns within 30 days

DeliveryFree shipping to locations in continental US, fee for other locations

GoodnessNaturepedic donates 1% of annual gross income to environmental nonprofits

 

If you haven’t heard of PLA before, it’s a bioplastic made from fermented plant starch.  In addition to being made with renewable resources, it has a low carbon footprint, making it an excellent choice for sustainability.  It also makes for wonderful pillow filling: according to Naturepedic, it’s fluffy, supportive, and has excellent moisture wicking properties.

Naturepedic’s mission is to create high quality products free of all toxic chemicals, and their numerous awards and certifications reflect that.  Every Naturepedic product is GREENGUARD Gold certified and formaldehyde free, so you can sleep soundly knowing you’re in good hands.

 

Metta

Our Favorite Spiraled Wool Pillow

MaterialsOrganic spiraled wool, organic cotton sateen

Vegan? – No 

Price $89

Certifications GOTS

Guarantee Unopened products may be returned within 30 days

DeliveryFree shipping within 7-10 business days (continental US only)

GoodnessNo CSR initiatives are listed on the website

 

Metta’s Spiraled Wool Pillow provides softness without sacrificing support because their unique spiral shape allows the wool to easily compress and recover for optimum comfort.  It comes in a medium loft, perfect for back, side, and stomach sleepers alike.  

Metta brand products are manufactured by the same family that owns Organic Mattresses, Inc. and Lifekind.  Metta is committed to providing quality, healthful products made exclusively out of premium certified organic materials.

 

Savvy Rest

Our Favorites Organic Kapok Pillow, Shredded Latex Pillow

MaterialsOrganic kapok, organic cotton, GOLS certified organic Dunlop latex, Cradle-to-Cradle and FSC certified Talalay latex

Vegan? – Yes

Price Starting at $99

Certifications GREENGUARD Gold, GOTS, eco-INSTITUT®

Guarantee Adjustable pillows, but no returns

DeliveryNormally ships within 7 days

GoodnessFor every purchase made, Savvy Rest donates 5 trees through the American ReLeaf program

 

Savvy Rest offers a variety of pillows so you’re sure to find one that meets your needs – and if you need help choosing, they even have a number of articles on their blog that can help!  If you prefer a soft pillow, try the Organic Kapok Pillow, which is their softest pillow.  If you’d rather have a firm pillow, try the Shredded Latex Pillow, which they describe as dense and supportive.  Either way, both pillows are customizable, so you can adjust the fill to your liking.

Savvy Rest offers high quality, long-lasting products that are free of toxic chemicals, pesticides, bleaches, and harmful dyes.  They’re one of the few certified B corporations that are also employee-owned, proving that Savvy Rest is committed to doing good.

 

 

How is your back doing?

If you would benefit from a more comfortable night’s sleep, be sure to check out this selection of non-toxic mattresses. Rest easy and rest healthy.

Our team researches products, companies, studies, and techniques to bring the best of green building to you. Elemental Green does not independently verify the accuracy of all claims regarding featured products or manufacturers. Additionally, product and brand mentions on Elemental Green do not imply endorsement or sponsorship unless specified otherwise.