What is GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard)?
The purpose of the GOLS organization is to make sure organic latex products are truly organic, and the standards apply to all parts of the production process. Organic latex products evaluated by GOLS include mattresses, pillows, and mattress pads or toppers.
In this blog post, we will explain the standards of this global organization, the certification process, and why a GOLS certification matters when selecting a latex mattress.
Benefits of A GOLS Certification
Both consumers and the environment benefit greatly from the GOLS certification process. Stringent requirements for processing protect human health and prevent exposure to harsh chemicals, and as a result, consumers can rest easy on a non-toxic, organic mattress.
What It Means to be GOLS Certified
It is not easy to become a GOLS-certified product or manufacturer. There is a strict set of guidelines that companies must follow to earn a GOLS certificate.
First, the amount of natural latex and the presence of other materials used in production are evaluated by GOLS. Products must contain at least 95 percent organic latex to be GOLS certified.
Furthermore, 70 percent of the remaining fibers used in processing must also be organic. Large amounts of polymers, fillers, or other harmful chemicals are prohibited in organic latex products, and each part of the supply chain must fall in line with GOLS standards.
GOLS Certification Standards
Evaluation criteria include environmental impact, farming practices, social impact, and chemical inputs. Below, we will explain the requirements that producers must follow to meet GOLS standards for each criterion.
The harvesting and production of latex products must occur in an approved GOLS facility, and these facilities are routinely inspected to ensure they are implementing proper waste management procedures to limit the production impact on the environment. GOLS units must track their waste disposal to show their latex products are sustainable. These regulations make latex beds one of the most eco-friendly mattress options.
The latex materials used in organic latex products must come from organic rubber plantations, ensuring there are no pesticides and fertilizers used on the rubber trees. Plus, an organic harvesting process protects both the soil and wildlife. All farms must be certified by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).
The GOLS requires that facilities provide workers with a safe, discrimination-free work environment. Likewise, workers must be paid a fair and living wage for their time, and all work must be voluntary and completed by those of legal working age. No child labor is allowed.
A product can only be labeled as GOLS certified if it contains at least 95 percent natural latex materials. Fillers and polymers can only be present in minimal amounts according to these national standards, and other raw materials that make up a latex product must contain at least 70 percent organic materials and fibers.
Types of Latex
Natural latex is made with two production methods and is thus divided into two types, Dunlop and Talalay latex. Dunlop latex is made by being baked in a mold; this production method gives Dunlop latex a firmer feel. The Talalay latex process involves freezing, then baking the latex. The addition of a freezing step gives the final product a springier feeling.
Synthetic latex cannot be present in GOLS products. However, people with latex allergies who may feel uncomfortable sleeping on pure latex may find peace of mind with a synthetic mattress.
Difference Between GOTS and GOLS
Both GOLS and GOTS certifications provide globally recognized standards for organic products. GOTS evaluates a wide range of textiles, fabrics, personal hygiene products, and yarns. In contrast, GOLS focuses solely on natural latex products.
The Global Organic Textile Standard offers two different labeling grades for organic textiles: organic and organic-in conversion. GOLS only offers one label grade—organic latex, for natural latex products.
The Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS products must contain 95 percent organic materials to receive an organic label. If that GOTS fabric is present in a GOLS product, it must meet a threshold of 70 percent organic materials.
Why GOLS Matters for Your Mattress
Organic latex beds use environmentally-friendly harvesting and production processes from start to finish. Buying GOLS certified latex mattress has many benefits. For one, it is the only way to guarantee you are getting a natural organic latex product.
A GOLS certification also matters for the comfort of your latex mattress, topper, or pillows, because it ensures the latex is safe for those with sensitive skin and allergies.
What is the organic content standard?
The organic content standard applies to products that are not food-related and contain 5 percent to 100 percent organic materials. This standard certifies that a product is organic in composition, distribution, and processing. The organic structure can also boost the material’s durability.
Which mattresses are non-toxic?
Non-toxic mattresses contain only organic raw materials. Organic latex, plant-based foam, or an organic wool-cotton blend are the best options for organic or natural mattresses. For a truly organic mattress, select one with GOLS and GOTS certifications on the latex and textiles used in the bed.
What is the global standard?
A global standard is a universally agreed-upon standard that makes it easier to track and establish what is considered organic across various markets. A global standard eliminates the miscommunications that can result from less standardized systems. GOLS is specifically about the organic makeup of latex from harvest to production.
What is a natural latex mattress?
Natural latex mattresses are composed primarily of natural latex and other organic fibers. When shopping for a latex mattress, you will have plenty of options. You can purchase a mattress that is GOLS certified or one that is not.
Both are safe and comfortable to sleep on. Non-GOLS certified mattresses contain either synthetic or blended latex in larger amounts, and synthetic latex can establish a hypoallergenic mattress for those with latex sensitivities.
How do I apply for GOLS certification?
Manufacturers should visit the Control Union website to apply for the GOLS certification.
After applying, you will receive a certification offer. You must agree to the offer and contract terms to proceed with the certification process. Then, the auditing process of your product and production methods will take place.
GOLS is a well-known and respected organization that sets standards for the quality of organic latex products. The firm standards used to evaluate the making and selling of organic latex products stipulate that at least 95 percent organic latex must be used in production.
The remaining 5 percent of materials may include fillers, chemicals, and synthetic latex. Furthermore, at least 70 percent of all other fibers used in making GOLS products must be organic. Organic certifications are given only to items and manufacturers that comply with all standards throughout the entire harvesting, processing, and distribution stages.