The types of bedsheets we use can be pretty important. After all, we spend several hours a day sleeping on them! Choosing ethical bedding is just one small way we can make a big impact on the textile industry.
Current Trend & Status Quo
From our research, much of the bedding industry depends on cotton as a primary textile. Cotton’s durability and feel are primary reasons why companies source cotton for bedding. All farming has a significant level of risk, and farmers understandably take measures to mitigate crop loss to insects and plant diseases. In conventional cotton growth, large amounts of toxic insecticides are used to curb insects. Conventional cotton crops account for anywhere from 15% to 30% of pesticide use globally. These pesticides often have serious impacts on the health of the farmers who use them, and as with most large-scale pesticide use, there are also significant concerns with runoff. The same toxins used to eliminate insects on cotton crops are also toxic to marine life. Cotton crops can dramatically affect a region’s water system in a variety of ways.
- Boll & Branch: This company made $2M in revenue during their first year of production and $10M in revenue during 2015. They’re currently on track to make $40M in revenue in 2016. They also offer additional home textiles like duvet covers, throws, and towels.
- West Elm: A major national retailer, this company has a line of organic bedding that utilizes a variety of textiles that includes patterned duvet covers.
- The Clean Bedroom: A veteran in the industry, this player has been in the organic bedding market since 2004. They also sell organic mattresses.
- Country of Origin: You’ll notice that all three companies we’ve highlighted source their cotton from India. This makes sense, considering India is the world’s leader in organic cotton farming (followed by Syria, China, Turkey, and the United States). It would be great to see more bedding companies sourcing domestically grown cotton, as American organic cotton farmers have a difficult time competing price-wise with organic cotton from India.
- Nontoxic Dye: Most ethical bedding companies opt to use low-impact dyes in their products. Conventional dyes use synthetic chemicals that can have harmful health and environmental impacts. Dyeing fabric with low-impact dyes also uses synthetic chemicals, but with markedly less negative impact.
Other Brands to Consider
- Portico: Uses organic cotton and low-impact dyes. May be found at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
- Target: Carries a line of GOTS certified organic sheets.
- Plover Organics: Offers many fun and and colorful patterns. They are also GOTS and Fairtrade certified.
Why I Chose These Companies
All three companies not only offer bedsheets that come in crisp, clean, and neutral colors (forming the perfect base layer for your bed), but they also support fair labor practices and seek to be environmentally friendly. You can also shop each company from the comfort of your home, as each of them offer online ordering systems that are easy to use. Available in a variety of price points, try swapping out your current bedsheet with any of these more ethical options.
Written by Casey Nelson
Edited by Leslie Chi