Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on March 24, 2008
As cave people, we slept on animal pelts. And 10,000 years later, what are we laying our heads on? Pillows stuffed with feathers or down, plucked from a living creature, or petroleum-based foam/synthetic fills with the potential to off-gas. Not exactly the march of civilization, if you ask me.
But fear not, sleepy heads, there are (as always) less poisonous and barbaric options available.
One of the most exciting new options is kapok, “a silky fiber harvested in the rainforests of the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, tropical America and Africa.” The manual harvesting process is labor-intensive, which involves separating the seeds from the fiber and then cleaning and drying it before it’s ready for stuffing. But not only is kapok a healthier alternative for the consumer, “it helps preserve rainforests and the indigenous people who harvest it.” Kapok pillows are not treated for flammability, so they are only allowed to be sold as decorative items – not intended for sleeping. But if the choices are breathing in fire retardant chemicals every night or sleeping on a pillow that might suddenly burst into flames – I, for one, will take my chances.
Others options include: organic cotton pillows; organic hemp pillows; and organic buckwheat pillows. With this many organic sustainable alternatives, you can safely count sheep from a featherless environment or catch some zzzzzzs gas-free.