THE BEDDING PROBLEM
In the land of bed linens, Egyptian cotton is luxury at its finest. Or that's what department store clerks and their price guns would have you believe. But according to Human Rights Watch, the children who pick the cotton and remove leaf worm infestations from leaves to produce the indulgently soft, high thread count sheets work 11-hour days, 7 days a week, while typically being beaten by their foremen in 100 ⁰ F heat, for miniscule wages.
Even if we were to ignore the human rights issues associated with the manufacturing of bed linens, there's the matter of cotton farming to consider. This water-bogging crop, which, by the way, is mostly grown from genetically engineered seeds, receives 25 percent of the world's insecticides. Not only is it covered in chemicals that contaminate local groundwater and make wildlife and workers sick, it's then bleached with chlorine, soaked in chemical dyes, and sprayed with a wrinkle-resistant, permanent-press chemical finish such as formaldehyde.
THE ECO-FRIENDLY SOLUTION
With organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and flax linens so readily available these days, it has become easier to put allergies, chemical sensitivities, and ethically and ecologically unsound manufacturing to rest. Help green your home and the environment by purchasing bedding and linens from the following companies and retailers.
- Indika Organics: Indika's Environmental Bedding Collection is made of the finest plant- and vegetable-dyed Peruvian organic cotton, with prints inspired by ancient wooden block patterns. Made for you in the United States , Indika's sheets combine luxurious natural textiles to create a healthy, sustainable environment. While on the pricier end of things, Indika also offers a selection of duvet covers and shams made with 100 percent organic hemp, cotton, and flax, as well as textile blends such as hemp and silk or flax and silk, etc.
- Coyuchi: Founded in a small town on the Northern California coast, Coyuchi offers a signature bedding line made from 100 percent certified organic cotton. Everything they create is designed to nurture a connection to the natural world in customers' lives and homes. Their cotton products are certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and produced using fair labor practices, which are verified by in-country auditors. Coyuchi sheets are available in a variety of fabrics and weaves including percale, sateen, flannel, jacquard, damask, twill, linen, and flax. Their bedding line gets its hues in part from naturally colored cotton strains from Latin America .
- Gaiam: This one-stop green shop sells a wide selection of all-natural, premium-quality sheets, pillowcases, and bedroom sets that are made with the very best in earth-friendly, comfortable materials like organic cotton, flannel, and silk. Browse fabrics and weaves ranging from organic cotton/bamboo blends, houndstooth, sateen, jersey-knit, percale, jacquard, and matelasse.
- Rawganique: Choose from an impressive selection of organic bed linen collections including hemp, French linen, cotton, and cotton/hemp blends. Rawganique's European hemp and French linens are sweatshop- and chemical-free, with no heavy metals or harsh chemicals whatsoever used in production. Their American Heritage Organic Cotton Sheets are made in the US from 100 percent certified organic cotton without the use of bleach, dyes, chemicals, heavy metals, or formaldehyde.
- Native Organic Cotton: Featuring organic home furnishings produced with raw, U.S. Certified long staple Pima fiber, Native Organic Cotton offers sheets that are 100 percent chemical free and colored with low-impact dyes in accordance with the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Unique to Native Organic Cotton, all sheet sets come in a reusable organic cotton package! Though somewhat limited in variety, Native Organic Cotton Sheets are budget-friendly for the penny-pinching greenie.
- West Elm: Sheet sets offered by West Elm are made with 100 percent organic cotton that's certified by the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) and meets strict harvest-to-market criteria. West Elm is also committed to using non-toxic dyes that are better for the planet. West Elm's affordable sheet sets come in patterns inspired by nature and made to be mixed and matched, with fibers designed to get softer with every wash.