Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — Berkeley, California’s The Wooden Duck has announced that it’s now carrying Oasis by Sleeptek, a line of 100 percent organic mattresses.
As part of a rising demand for mattresses and bedding that do not expose the user to the harsh chemicals contained in the conventional flame retardants and other synthetic materials found in most industry-standard beds, consumers are seeking out organic alternatives that emit far fewer potentially harmful chemicals and gasses. Typically constructed from latex (either Talalay or Dunlop), cotton and wool, organic mattresses have become a popular alternative for consumers seeking a healthier night of sleep.
However, as this niche industry has grown, many different companies, brands and manufacturers have emerged with varying levels of commitment to creating a truly organic product with as low a chemical content as possible. Many companies boast mattresses that are “natural”, “eco-friendly”, “green” or “non-toxic”, but what exactly do these terms mean? How does the consumer determine just what kinds of materials (both organic and not) really go into the construction of these products and, therefore, what kind of health risks they might pose?
“The main thing you want to look for is some sort of third-party certification of the organic materials,” says Kevin Kirby, co-owner of the San Francisco-based A Happy Planet, a company that has been selling mattresses made from 100 percent organic materials for almost 20 years. “Unless certified to conform to a widely recognized organic standard such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (G.O.T.S) by an approved body, terms like ‘natural’, ‘green’ and ‘low VOC’ are pretty meaningless. We’ve been approached by every so-called ‘natural’ mattress company out there, so we’ve seen the full spectrum. The Sleeptek brand is the benchmark of what we will accept in our non-toxic showroom, 100 percent certified organic materials, as low a chemical content as possible, this is what we want to emphasize.”
Unlike buzz-terms such as “green”, “natural” or “chemical-free”, the term “organic” has actual legal consequences when used on product labels and must be certified by independent organizations.
Furniture and mattress retailer Eric Gellerman of The Wooden Duck has had his eyes opened to the realities of “natural” mattress manufacturers since his company’s foray into the industry a few years ago.
“We sort of get wiser every time we try a new company,” he said. “We parted ways with a couple brands once we realized how much of the materials in their mattresses were not at all organic, despite their claims about being ‘natural’ or ‘green’. It took a few tries, but we’re really happy with our current brand, Oasis by Sleeptek. There’s just no confusion with them, their mattresses are made from 100 percent organic materials, third-party certified, all the construction is high-quality and we can still sell them at a price that’s affordable for our customers.”
However, even amongst manufacturers who boast certification, a wide spectrum of quality can be found within the organic mattress industry.
“Then you have the brands that put all their money into making sure the materials are organic, but try to save on cheap design and shoddy construction,” said Kirby. “Exposed zippers, bad stitching and exposed layers of latex are some of the tell-tale signs. I guess, the idea is to attract the customer with the organic materials and save on the back-end with cheap construction, but the quality and durability really suffer.”
Shoppers can find Oasis by Sleeptek at The Wooden Duck, located at 1823 Eastshore Highway in Berkeley. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit their website at http://www.thewoodenduck.com.
About the company:
The Wooden Duck has been making commercial furniture from recycled wood and reclaimed materials in their shop in West Berkeley and around the world for almost 20 years. Their imported, reclaimed wood furniture is generally considered the most direct-to-consumer value on the West Coast as they ship factory direct and are located a mere seven miles from the port of Oakland.
They sell directly to Northern California customers from their shops in Berkeley and San Rafael and have eliminated the “tiered” designer/wholesaler/trade pricing to which most direct importers still adhere. The Wooden Duck offers a discount system according to how much the customer buys… not who they are. The Wooden Duck does not ship out of state in order to keep costs down for their local clientele. Their weekly “Duck Deal” is considered the lowest price in the country on one particular item two or three times a month and it has a loyal following (sign up on their home page). They pride themselves on always having used 100 percent solid recycled wood (no ply, no veneer) and their factory in Berkeley specializes in locally-made dining tables, beds and custom finishing on exotic reclaimed lumber from the world.