There is a wealth of information on the internet about polyester as a material, but often the information stated is not based on fact. Many of these articles promote natural products as a superior material to synthetic which is often deceptive and inaccurate. The polyester used in mattresses is non toxic, does not contribute to any plastic (microfibre) pollution and is extremely breathable.
We use academic research to allow us to create a Life Cycle Assessment on all the materials we use. By studying the LCA we can analyse how each material affects the four assessment areas: Human health, the ecosystem quality, climate change and resources.
With all materials, natural or man-made, both positive and negative attributes will be found when considering the whole Life Cycle Assessment. For example, there is large quantities of methane as part of the wool production cycle, polyester is not biodegradable and there is a huge quantity of water required for growing cotton.
It is our responsibility, as a manufacturer, to assess and balance both the positive and negative attributes of a fibre to create the most sustainable and effective material choices for our products, bearing in mind factors such as the Circular Economy.
Our Life Cycle Assessment of Polyester used on and in mattresses is below:
Polyester and Human Health
- Human Toxicity. Our primary concern here at Veganmattress.co.uk has always been the negative impact that Flame Retardant Chemicals have on human health. Polyester is inherently fire resistant and fire safe. Polyester pulls away from a flame and meets the UK Mattress Fire Regulations naturally. This makes it a fantastic choice for our Vegan products, as no chemical treatment needs to be applied.
- Respiratory Effects. Polyester is hypoallergenic as well is being incredibly breathable. We use the same type of polyester that is used in hiking fleeces, so is perfect for those who struggle with overheating at night.
- Off-gassing. Polyester is one of the lowest off-gassing of all materials.
- Polyester has many uses as a fibre in many industries, but there are great differences in the polyesters often used in fashion in comparison to those used in soft furnishings such as your mattress. Clothing polyester is often treated and dyed before being woven to a silken finish. It is the finish in the tightly woven fabrics which can cause some polyesters to become non-breathable. Pure polyester that is used in our mattresses is not only very breathable but wicks away any moisture, keeping you cool in your sleep.
- Comfort and Longevity. Polyester is often deemed online as a cheap alternative to other materials which is simply untrue. Whilst polyester is a synthetic material, it allows us to produce a very high quality product with proven longevity.
Polyester and the Ecosytem
- Recycled polyester fibre comes from PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate.) Typically this component comes from plastic bottles and food packaging which is recycled. Once those items are washed and turned into chips it is liquefied and woven into a fibre. Recycled polyester is not made with catalytic agents or antimony-based catalysts.
- The Stockholm Convention prevents any products with Persistent Organic Pollutants POPs (such as some flame retardant chemicals) from being placed into landfill. At Veganmattress.co.uk our mattresses can be completely recycled and are Stockholm Convention compliant. They are carefully labelled as such. No damage to the water courses, no harmful impacts on recycling workers and absolutely no chemicals.
- Polyester has such a negative reputation when it comes to plastic and microfibre pollution which ONLY occurs when it is washed and laundered. NONE of our Vegan mattresses can be washed and therefore cause on plastic microfibre pollution.
Polyester and Climate Change / Resources
- There is very little difference in how much energy is used in finishing natural, wool and polyester systems. Pure polyester can be infinitely recycled but recycled polyester uses less energy.
- There is no water pollution created from our polyester as our Vegan mattresses are not washable. Therefore, there is no contribution to plastic microfibre pollution in water from our products.
- As polyester can be so easily recycled, it has a low carbon footprint and effectively supports the Circular Economy by using waste as a resource.
- In the physical production of polyester fibre, less water is consumed than that typically used in natural fibres.
At Vegan Mattress.co.uk, as a maker and not simply a retailer, we believe in giving you the facts and the information that we use to inform our own manufacturing decisions. We feel that it is then up to you to make an informed decision on the materials you want in your own home, without being influenced by commercial opinions, which are often put online without research or evidence. We hope this article has helped to provide you with the knowledge about polyester you need to sleep with peace of mind.
For more information check out the following sources:
- Environmental Footprints of Recycled Polyester. Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu · 2019
- Modern Polyesters. Chemistry and Technology of Polyesters and Copolyesters. John Scheirs, Timothy E. Long. 2005.
- Recycled Polyester. Manufacturing, Properties, Test Methods, and Identification 2019.
- Sustainable Fashion and Textiles. Design Journeys. Kate Fletcher. 2012.
- Well Dressed? University of Cambridge Report. 2014
- Handbook of Life Cycle Assessment of Textiles and Clothing. Muthu.
- Ecological Footprint and Water Analysis of Cotton, Hemp and Polyester. Nia Cherrett, John Barrett, Alexandra Clemett, Matthew Chadwick,and M.J. Chadwick. 2009.
- The role and business case for existing and emerging fibres in sustainable clothing DEFRA April 2010.