What Does it Mean to be GOTS or GOLS Certified?

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Organic mattresses are popular because they are made with raw materials and free of harmful chemicals. Some people gravitate toward organic bedding to keep allergens from interfering with their sleep. Others look to organic products so they can make an eco-friendly purchase.

The GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certifications are two standards used to determine if a product is organic.

In this article, we’ll discuss the significance of the GOTS and GOLS labels and some of the prerequisites products must meet to receive this certification.

What Is the GOTS Certification?

Global Organic Textile Standard, also known as GOTS, is the worldwide leading textile standard. This certification system covers all organic textiles such as cotton, silk, wool, and bamboo. Products with the GOTS certification are made with at least 95 percent organic fibers.

When a product only contains 70 percent organic textiles, it receives a secondary GOTS certification. These items are labeled “GOTS made with Organic materials.”

As a requirement of the GOTS label, products must not include more than 10 percent synthetic fibers, but there are a few expectations.

Items like socks, leggings, and sportswear may contain 25 percent synthetic fibers because these materials enhance the moisture-wicking abilities of certain products.

Unlike other standards, the GOTS certification oversees the entire textile chain, not just the finished product. GOTS ensures the supply chain, in addition to the final product, is free of harmful substances.

What Is the GOLS Certification?

GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) is the first global standard for organic latex issued by the Control Union. The main difference between GOTS and GOLS lies in the material each standard certifies but both have similar requirements. For instance, the GOLS certification requires latex products to contain at least 95 percent organic material in their total weight.

Additionally, the GOLS certification supervises the production process of textile chains as well. This standard limits water consumption and pollution during manufacturing to promote environmental stewardship.

The GOLS certification also protects employees in addition to the entire supply chain. It enforces an ethical work environment to uphold the organic integrity of products, keep workers safe, and promote sustainability.

Guidelines for GOLS and GOTS Certification

The purpose of GOLS and GOTS certifications is to monitor chemical inputs and synthetic materials used during processing. 

There are specific criteria organic natural fibers must meet before distributed. In the next section, we look at the requirements to receive the GOLS and GOTS certification.

Farming

Farmers must follow production standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM). This includes using chemical-free fertilizers and pesticides to sustain healthy soil and ecosystems.

Furthermore, all-natural latex should come from organic rubber plantations. These plantations have to be certified by the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) before production can begin.

Processing and Manufacturing

During manufacturing, organic fibers release chemicals into the air and workplace. Though these materials are natural, this chemical release compromises the quality of a product. Below, we list practices used to reduce chemicals for more responsible manufacturing. 

  • Dyes, auxiliaries, and process chemicals are evaluated for toxicity and biodegradability.
  • Toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, genetically modified organisms (GMO) are harmful to the environment and human health, and their enzymes are prohibited.
  • Textile production should not treat materials with chlorine bleach. Instead, manufacturers use oxygen bleach because it’s more gentle on fibers and protects the fabric color. Not to mention, oxygen bleach is a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Knitting or weaving oils used to protect products from rusting cannot contain heavy metals.

Packaging and Labeling

Packaging for organic latex and textiles must follow sustainable practices as well. The packaging material for organic products cannot contain PVCs. PVC is a synthetic resin made with dangerous chemical additives like phthalates, and lead, which are toxic.

Paper or cardboard used in packing must be recycled or certified by appropriate global agencies: FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Additionally, printing methods must not include phthalates and PVCs.

FAQS

Is it expensive to purchase an organic latex mattress?

Organic mattresses can be expensive. Sourcing organic raw materials like pure rubber tree sap makes the manufacturing process more difficult, so these products come with higher prices. A queen size mattress costs about $2000.  That said, for many, the higher cost is worth it because latex is so durable.

How long will an organic mattress last?

The lifespan of an organic mattress is two times longer than other mattress types. Most innerspring beds and memory foam mattresses typically last 5 to 7 years, depending on how well the sleeper cares for their item. On the other hand, latex mattresses are highly durable and may last for 10-15 years or more. 

What is the CertiPUR-US® certification?

CertiPUR-US® is a certification program for memory foam mattresses. The certification prohibits items made with ozone depleters, fire retardants, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, or other heavy metals. 

Also, the CertiPUR-US® organization guarantees low levels of VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions from their products to better protect the environment and consumers. 

What is the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100?

OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certification makes certain textiles are free from chemicals known to be harmful to one’s health. Some of these chemicals include azo dyes, formaldehyde, and nickel. 

The OEKO-TEX® STANDARD examines the textiles in a product but not the entire supply chain like other standards. For this reason, the GOTS certification is a more exacting standard because it certifies both the supply chain and the final product.

What is the Greenguard Certification? 

The Greenguard Certification limits the number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used to create and maintain products. Off-gassing occurs when new household items like your mattress release gases, toxic chemicals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Exposure to harsh chemicals is dangerous and causes health problems such as congestion, coughing, skin irritation, allergic reaction, and asthma attacks.

Conclusion

The GOTS and GOLS certifications determine the integrity of organic products like mattresses. Organic products need to contain quality materials and cannot use harsh chemicals during the manufacturing process to meet these standards.

These certifications go the extra mile and enforce sustainable farming techniques to protect the environment. Both GOTS and GOLS certifications make it easier for shoppers to trust brands and manufacturers when they make a new purchase.

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