More and more, people are becoming conscious consumers. Being a conscious consumer means that you are curious about where products come from — who makes the product, how and why. Basically, it means following the chain of events from beginning to end, tracing the resources from their raw state to how they come to be the end result.
And what a trip it is! It’s almost incomprehensible to think about all of the steps it takes to create products, all the people and resources that have a hand in it.
Natural latex mattresses fall squarely into that “fascinating” category. It’s an amazing process, and it is unlike a lot of other product creation out there. Creating a natural latex mattress requires respect for the environment and careful stewardship of the resource itself.
Allow us to explain.
Latex is a naturally occurring substance that is actually the sap of a rubber tree. Rubber trees take about 10 years to mature before they are capable of producing the sap, at which point they are “tapped”, much like a maple tree is tapped for syrup.
The latex, which flows in veins in the bark of the trees, comes out in a thick, milky fluid. To harvest it, layers of bark are carefully stripped away to expose the latex vessels.
Harvesters must treat the trees with care so that they continue to produce. For example, only one side of the tree is harvested at a time. After about six years, the other side is tapped and the first side has a chance to heal. The process is repeated further up the tree for two more cycles, until 24 years has passed. After that, the tree more or less stops producing latex, and is cut down and used to make furniture and other products. New trees are planted and the cycle continues.
Sri Lanka is a popular place for latex production as it has the ideal climate and environment to grow rubber trees. Since it takes about a decade for a tree to mature, new rubber trees are planted continuously to ensure the industry remains robust and the supply keeps up with demand.
Once the latex is collected, it is then mixed with a few substances to help it solidify, then it is poured into a mold that is the shape of a mattress or other product. There are several different processes to turn the raw latex into a mattress, including the Dunlop method and the Talalay method. They generally involve ensuring the latex is even distributed throughout the mold, before it is cured, becoming the final product.
Part of the reason that conscious consumers are turning to latex mattress is because they can be created with sustainable, natural substances; conventional mattresses cannot. Natural latex is also durable and the rubber will last for up to three times as long as a conventional mattress, without losing its shape or firmness. The latex mattress is also naturally antibacterial so it won’t start to smell unclean or stuffy as time goes on, and the natural airflow that the mattresses have means that moisture and bacteria won’t build up, causing mould to grow.
Natural latex is 100% organic, and unlike conventional mattresses that are made from toxic petroleum products and natural latex mattresses are one way to support an industry that helps farmers and the environment.
If you’d like to know anything else about latex mattresses, come on into M&N. We’d be happy to give you more details about the fascinating story of latex mattresses. You can even take one for a spin!