A few weeks ago I visited the factory where the mattresses are made for both Lifekind and our sister company, OMI (Organic Mattresses Incorporated). I felt like Charlie going to the Chocolate Factory. I have to admit that the enthusiasm Walt has for the company he has built from the ground up is reminiscent of Willie Wonka. However, I would like to continue to be employed at Lifekind, and will therefore stop comparing my boss to a slightly deranged, socially awkward candy fanatic.
As a recent college graduate with a degree in marketing, I came into the workforce with a jaded view of the way business is done in the world. I’ve studied companies and business practices that would make the average consumer ill. I’ll never forget being told by a reputable professor of finance that financial calculations are “more of an art than a science,” then watching the financial collapse of companies “too big to fail” caused by their “artistic” financial practices; learning that perceived value is more important than actual value; that it pays to outsource labor to make a cheaper product. Please don’t get me wrong; I feel proud to hold a business degree because of the broadened horizons and knowledge it has given me. I also feel fortunate to work for a company that has gone against such misguided principles and been extremely successful because of it.
I thought about all I had learned about how to run a business and as I watched Walt explain each aspect of his immaculately clean factory and machinery, encouraging us to notice the purity of the raw materials and the quality of the stitching in the fabric. Walt was also a marketing professor for 13 years, and has run successful businesses for 40 years, so he’s no stranger to the principles of marketing; he’s just trying to run a business in accordance with his personal principles as well.
The resulting companies, Lifekind and OMI, are run in a way that limits our impact on the environment. In the entire factory there is only one traditionally sized trash can. Almost all waste from production is recycled. This was incredibly impressive to me. We also make a product that makes absolutely no compromise on quality or purity. Any cotton or wool that falls on the floor is not used, even though the floor is so clean it would put my kitchen counters to shame. Employees don’t smoke or wear fragrance and, even more importantly, they’re happy and respected.
Long story short, I came back from the factory wanting to purchase everything Lifekind has ever offered, because I have absolute faith that it’s the best available, and that makes me feel good about recommending those products to my customers.
If you are looking to make space for your new mattress, consider a few creative solutions of disposing your old one. According to Greenyour.com over 33,000,000 mattresses are produced each year and 20,000,000 are thrown away. Twenty million!! A mattress is a wealth of resources that can be used for other things. My rule of thumb, which I learned from studying Permaculture, is everything can be used more then once, or in at least two different ways. Why throw away something that still has a function? Below are suggestions for ways to recycle mattresses.
– If the mattress is not soiled then Craigslist.com is a great place to sell or give it away. You could even include the metal bed frame and bedding in the price.
– Put an ad in the paper stating the mattress is free for the taking. Many people are in need and would be ecstatic to take it off your hands.
– If you are not partial to having strangers come to your house, call your local fire department or news station when there was a natural disaster in your area. They would know of families in need who may have lost everything, and your donation may be just what they needed.
– If you live in the SF Bay Area, check out http://www.BayAreaRecycle.com
– Carefully deconstruct the mattress. The wood can be broken down into wood chips, cotton and wool is great for the compost bin or as a covering for flower beds. The springs make for a great art project or can be melted down into steel.
– Ecohaul.com is a company that strives to do what they can to keep materials they pick up out of landfills. See if they are in your area!
The possibilities are endless. Be creative and if you think of any other ways to creatively reuse a mattress, let us know!
Sara, Product Specialist
Wondering about the economic viability of purchasing an organic mattress? The federal government may be able to help.
H.R. 3382, The Home Improvements Revitalize the Economy Act of 2009 — or HIRE for short — was introduced on July 29 by Rep. Henry Johnson (D-Ga.). If passed into law, it will allow a tax credit of up to $500 and deductions of up to $2K through the year 2011 for the purchase of residential building products and furnishings (up to $4K for products that meet approved environmental standards). Yay, Rep. Johnson! 🙂
The bill, which reportedly is enjoying bipartisan support, is making its way through the House Ways and Means Committee. To track its progress or for more information, go to govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3382.
Before working at Lifekind® I was an Outdoor Science teacher. After settling in as a Product Specialist, I realized my job title may have changed, but my responsibilities are similar. As a science teacher I educated my students about where their food comes from, how it is processed, and the difference between conventional and organic produce. You would be surprised how many of the children had never seen a piece of food growing in a garden.
Living in America, we are blessed with the ability to make many of our own decisions. I encouraged my students to teach their families what they learned and to aid in the decision making process about what ingredients they put in their bodies.
Here at Lifekind®, I am still teaching the public about environmental issues and the importance of making educated decisions. Families have the choice whether to support corrupt chemical-laden industry or to purchase U.S.-made products that use organic and natural ingredients.
It is great that more families are conscious about eating healthfully. Now let’s teach children to support healthy practices around the home as well. It takes a lot of time and energy to educate yourself about chemicals and processes in the mattress industry. At Lifekind®, we’ve done the work for you. Our Product Specialists are extremely knowledgeable, and will assist you in making good decisions.
We would love to hear from you!
Sara, Product Specialist
Organic mattresses aren’t just a fad. Why? Most people are concerned about their health, and it makes sense to avoid unnecessary chemical exposure. After all, we spend about a third of our lives in the bedroom. Why would you want to poison your body with chemicals, flame retardants, other toxic ingredients if you didn’t have to?
Our opinion is that if you’re going to invest in a nontoxic mattress, you should invest in the best. Here at Lifekind®, we’re setting the purity standard for our industry.
No regulations monitor the manufacturing, marketing, and advertising of organic mattresses. This means that an “organic” mattress found on a website may contain a percentage of organic ingredients, but also a plethora of undisclosed synthetic ingredients — Tyvek®, recycled newspaper, polyester, boric acid, and formaldehyde. This tactic is known as “greenwashing.” Even if a mattress does contain mostly organic ingredients, the components can be very low grade. (We’ve dissected quite a few “organic” mattresses to find cotton fibers that look similar to what you’d find in the lint screen of your clothes dryer.)
Lifekind is different. You’ll never find undisclosed ingredients in our mattresses, and our Purity Promise guarantees that if you can find a purer mattress, we’ll give you ours for free.
We hope you’ll take us up on it. Your body will thank you.
Rowena, Product Specialist
We think it’s important to support American organic farmers and manufacturers – so we do! Lifekind® is dedicated to supporting America’s organics industry and to keeping jobs here in America.
We make our own mattresses right here in the U.S. Our GOTS-certified mattress Eco-Factory™ is located in Yuba City, California – the only mattress facility in North America to be awarded true third-party organic certification.
Our organic raw materials come from sources as close to home as possible. The Naturally Safer® wool and certified organic cotton we use in our mattresses and bedding are U.S. grown, and the natural rubber latex we use in our mattress cores and pillows is also manufactured here in the U.S.
Your commitment to purchasing organic products and supporting America’s environmentally-conscious farmers and businesses helps to ensure the continuing growth of the organics industry in the U.S. Also, you contribute to the reduction of your carbon footprint when you buy products made closer to home.
We are proud to support American organic farmers and to be your “go-to” company for “Made in the USA” items.
Carol Bader, Co-Founder
I’ve been thinking lately about the differences between the ways our great grandparents lived compared to how we live now. My great-grandmother used to take salt baths and rubbed oils on her hands to make them smooth. She used vinegar as hair conditioner and as a softener for clothing in the washing machine. She bought all of these ingredients at the local market. My grandparents even had a horsehair mattress that was made by a merchant in town.
Why is it so common in this day and age that we go shopping for other countries’ products when ours are time tested and proven to be effective? I say, when your health and well-being are involved, support American workers and buy U.S. manufactured mattresses. I know my great grandparents would have never imagined there was any other option.
If you aren’t supporting your neighbors, then who will be there for you when you need it?
Sara, Product Specialist