Eco-Friendly And Sustainable Bedding Guide

 

Our bedsheets were approaching 5 years old when they suffered a massive, irreparable tear, letting us know it was high time for an upgrade. When we either run out of something or something breaks beyond repair, I like to look at it as an opportunity to make a new sustainable switch. So when our old (probably highly unsustainable!) sheets were finally on their way out, I began the search for an eco-friendly, sustainable replacement. Here’s what I was looking for in a sheet set:

 

  • Organic. Especially when it comes to cotton. Conventional cotton relies heavily on pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which are harmful to both the environment and to human health. While only 2.4 percent of the world’s arable land is planted with cotton, 24 percent of the world’s insecticides and 11 percent of pesticides are used to grow it.

  • Social Responsibility. In our globalized world, it’s far too easy for brands to obscure reprehensible elements of their supply chain. And, unfortunately, as we now know all too well, the textile industry has a long track record of horrific human rights abuse. I was looking for a brand committed to full transparency, clean and safe working conditions, and providing fair compensation for work done.

  • Free of Harmful Chemicals. Did you know that sheets labeled “wrinkle-free” often means they were finished in a chemical process that includes formaldehyde (a known human carcinogen)? YIKES. I wanted to be sure the sheets that spent hours and hours, night after night, pressed up against my skin were free of toxic chemicals.

  • Certifications. Arguably the most important thing I look for! Anyone can use the buzzwords “natural”, “eco-friendly”, and “sustainable” in their product descriptions. But do they have the certifications to back up those claims? Look for certifications like GOTS (to certify organic), OEKO-TEX Standard 100 (to certify the final product contains no toxic chemicals), and Fair Trade (to ensure workers were paid a fair wage). Don’t see certifications listed on their website? Reach out to customer service and ask for details! I came across plenty of brands claiming to manufacture responsibly while providing zero supply chain transparency. Before writing off the brand, I always (respectfully! Don’t interrogate) reach out asking for their certifications and for information that backs up their claims.

  • Affordable. Now, I wasn’t expecting cheap. I was looking for quality along with environmental and social responsibility so I was prepared to pay for those non-negotiable elements. However, I couldn’t break the bank either and was hoping to find something within our budget (under $200).

 

I’ll save the suspense and start with the sheet set that we ultimately decided best fit what we were looking for and follow with a comprehensive guide of the top 6 contenders! 

OUR PICK:

Ettitude

Bamboo Lyocell Sheet Set (Queen) - $178.00 , Ettitude

Bamboo Lyocell Sheet Set (Queen) - $178.00 , Ettitude

Certifications:

  • Ecocert (certified organic)

  • WRAP

  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100

  • FSC certified

After a month of sleeping on Ettitude’s sheets, I can confidently recommend them. While I was initially afraid they’d have a silky shiny-look (not our desired aesthetic), I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and soft they are but without excessive shine.

I also love that they’re made of 100% organic bamboo lyocell. Bamboo is fast-growing and resource-efficient compared to water-intensive cotton. With much of the bamboo fabric on the market being bamboo viscose (which requires a chemically-intensive process to dissolve raw bamboo pulp), bamboo lyocell differs by using a non-toxic solvent that produces non-hazardous effluent. Additionally, Ettitude uses a closed-loop system that recycles and reuses 98% of water used during fabrication.  

Finally, the Ettitude sheets arrived to us plastic-free and in a bag made from residual fabric. Ettitude is PETA approved and is part of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of bedding sales to environmental non-profit organizations.

 

TOP CONTENDERS: 

Coyuchi

300 Thread Count Organic Percale Sheet Set (Queen) - $238, Coyuchi

300 Thread Count Organic Percale Sheet Set (Queen) - $238, Coyuchi

Certifications:

  • GOTS certified organic

  • Depending on the fabric type (linen, percale, jersey, etc.), certified Made Safe and/or Fair Trade. 

From the start, I had my eye on Coyuchi. Its California coastline-inspired aesthetic drew me in and their GOTS certified organic relaxed linen sheet set + duvet cover is what I set my heart on. Founded in 1991, Coyuchi has long been a leader in organic bedding. Along with their GOTS, Fair Trade, and Made Safe certifications, they are members of the Textile Exchange (TE), partners with 1% for the Planet, they work with many small to medium-sized family-run companies, and are incorporating circular economy initiatives into their business model. Coyuchi will take back your old textiles to be resold, composted, or recycled into yarns that will be used to create new products.

Ultimately (despite numerous visits back to their website thinking “well…mayyyybe”), we had to pass solely due to the price tag. The particular sheet we had been eyeing (the relaxed linen) rang in at $548.00 for a queen set. However, percale sheets were a more affordable option ranging from $198 to $238 for a queen set.

Alterra Pure

Organic Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) - $160.00, Alterra Pure

Organic Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) - $160.00, Alterra Pure

Certifications:

  • GOTS certified organic

  • Fair Trade certified

Alterra Pure’s commitment to transparency is truly impressive. You can trace the entire supply chain from seed source to weaving to product packaging. Location, factory name, license numbers, and certificates of compliance are all made public. Given the number of brands I’ve now researched, I can attest that finding this information so easily accessible is rare.

Additionally, the farms where they source their cotton rely on rainwater using no irrigation. The factory has no discharge or effluent and all water is recaptured and reused. To top it off, Alterra Pure doesn’t just certify their products; they take the extra step to verify them too. They use an international test lab to ensure their cotton is organic and is free of any hazardous chemicals.   

Can every brand do these amazing things??

Sol Organics

 

Classic Organic Sheet Set (Queen) - $140.00, Sol Organics

Classic Organic Sheet Set (Queen) - $140.00, Sol Organics

Certifications:

  • GOTS certified organic (cotton only)

  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified (linen only)

  • Fair Trade certified

Sol Organics checked off all of my boxes when it came to organic cotton sheets along with promising not to markup what it costs for products to be Fair Trade certified and organic (beyond the initial premium), making responsible bedding affordable and accessible (“Fair Trade at a fair price”). Sol Organics also gives back by donating $7.50 of each purchase to one of four charities of the customer’s choice.

The linen sheets are not GOTS certified organic. However, linen comes from flax, a versatile, relatively earth-friendly plant that doesn’t require much fertilizer or pesticide usage. But to be completely sure no harmful pesticides have been used, I still like to air on the side of caution and look for GOTS certified organic linen.

Buffy

Eucalyptus Sheet Set (Queen) - $199.00, Buffy

Eucalyptus Sheet Set (Queen) - $199.00, Buffy

Certifications:

  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified

  • FSC certified wood-pulp based fibers

Buffy sheets are made of 100% eucalyptus lyocell, which is sourced and harvested from regenerative forests in Austria and the Czech Republic. Eucalyptus uses 10x less water than cotton, grows quickly, and does not require perfect soil conditions leading to little to no pesticide use. Due to this, they are not certified organic. The eucalyptus pulp is transformed into fiber using a closed-loop system that reuses 99% of the non-toxic, chemical solvent, amine oxide. Buffy uses natural dyes derived from plants and minerals (like pomegranate and turmeric!) and they offset CO2 emissions from shipments.

What I really love about Buffy is the section of their website dedicated to their sustainability goals. I think it’s amazing that they recognize how far they’ve come while acknowledging there’s always more that can be done. So they discuss working towards a fully closed-loop system, they have 4 points of focus, and they include a timeline summarizing what they hope to achieve by 2021, 2025, and 2030. 

While we didn’t test out their sheets, I’ll probably be investing in their cloud comforter this winter! 

Boll & Branch

Classic Hemmed Sheet Set (Queen) - $240.00, Boll & Branch

Classic Hemmed Sheet Set (Queen) - $240.00, Boll & Branch

 

Certifications:

  • GOTS certified organic

  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified

  • Fair Trade certified

You can’t go wrong with Boll & Branch. Their thorough and informative “About Us” page will leave you resting assured that this thoughtful company truly believes “every choice we make today needs to be something we can defend to our children.” Being GOTS, Oeko-Tex, and Fair Trade certified, to me, is the golden trifecta. Additionally, they went above and beyond by publishing an impact report in 2019 and included commitments they’re making to do even better. Boll & Branch does come in on the more expensive side.

PACT

 

Room Service Sheet Set (Queen) - $180.00, PACT

Room Service Sheet Set (Queen) - $180.00, PACT

Certifications:

  • GOTS certified organic

  • Fair Trade certified

I’ve always liked PACT. I love their underwear and have recently purchased a set of their bath towels that I’ve been very happy with! Given my positive experience with the brand so far and their sustainability commitments with certifications to back them up, I’d give their sheets a try!

 

What about Parachute?

Parachute makes beautiful sheets that frequently appear on sustainable bedding lists so they were among the first brands I looked into. Initially, they just didn’t make the cut for me since they weren’t certified organic (they are Oeko-Tex certified only). Then I found a Parachute blog post that stated in bold “Organic Doesn’t Mean What You Might Think” and goes on to make the argument that organic is not enough, the term is frequently manipulated, and comes to the conclusion that Oeko-Tex “surpasses all other existing criterion in safety and environmental protection.” This was pretty disappointing so see. 

Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certifies that the final product (zippers, buttons, and all) has been tested for over 100 harmful substances and has therefore been deemed harmless in human ecological terms. And while any and all effort is absolutely better than nothing, Oeko-Tex does not certify organic and provides little transparency into all stages of production. Given all we know now about how pesticide-intensive conventional cotton is and how harmful it can be to the environment and to the health of the farm workers tending to it, writing off organic felt misleading. Especially when the GOTS organic certification not only certifies organic but also prohibits the use of a long list of chemicals during production along with encompassing strict social criteria.

How do I think Parachute could do better? They could source GOTS organic cotton AND keep their Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. We’ve seen that from several brands mentioned above. If they need time to make the switch, they could acknowledge there’s always room to do better and publicly set goals for the future. We’ve also seen this from a couple of brands mentioned above. Parachute’s defense of non-organic sheets fails to acknowledge their shortcomings and instead chooses to defend them.

 

 

 

Don’t see your favorite bedding brand here? Let us know what we missed in the comments below!

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