Latex ... and Soy Based Foam

Reading through Phoenix’s recommendations for SEPA (Southeast Pennsylvania), we visited with the crew over at Pottstown’s Magic Sleeper today. We looked at the 5 latex options they have on display, and have narrowed down our consideration to two of their own products (2 of the options were from Natura(?)). However, their two main display models downstairs are a single layer of Talalay, underlain by a denser foam layer. When I asked if this was a natural latex or polyurethane foam, the answer was that it was a soy-based foam.

How natural is a soy-based foam?

I will add that after a quick trip to the local chain store, I was relieved by the lower key sales situation at Magic Sleeper. Those chain store guys are A-G-G, R-E-S-S, I-V-E. The showroom environment is fairly industrial, but it is very comfortable inside. The Pottstown neighborhood? A little to be desired.

Anyway, we are headed to Verlo this week for some comparison shopping. Our cursory look at Hollandia indicates that we needed to win Friday’s lottery to shop there.

Also - Verlo base layers are typically an “AcellaFlex” layer. What is AcellaFlex?

Hi blulew3,

When I talked with John Santos at magic Sleeper, he told me that he uses the Natura as the “bring in” mattress because it is a more well known brand which people will often look for. He doesn’t however sell a lot of them once people realize that what they make has much better value. They are there in essence for “name recognition” and there are many outlets which need to do this or customers unfortunately don’t even walk through their front door.

There are basically only 3 different types of foam and each of them have many “variations”. One of these is polyfoam, one is memory foam, and one is latex.

Polyfoam has two main chemical ingredients … one of these is an isocyanate and one of them is a polyol. Both of these are derived mainly from petrochemicals. In the case of “soy based” foams (or other plant based foam) … part of the petrochemical based polyols have been replaced with plant oil based polyols. The amount of replacement varies but it is typically less than 20% of the polyol content. In other words … this is a small step in the direction of replacing petrochemicals with with more “bio friendly” alternatives but it is still just another word for polyurethane foam (polyfoam). The emphasis on these newer generation of foams as being “eco friendly” is more about greenwashing by the foam producers than it is about reality. Polyfoam of any kind … even if all the polyols were replaced (which is not yet close to being possible) is not a “green” material. It is slightly more expensive to produce than foams that are made completely with petrochemical polyols.

Acella-flex is a trade name for polyfoam which is manufactured by Sleep Innovations (the same people who make the gel memory foam in the iComfort) and was acquired when they purchased the leggett and Platt flexible foam division.

So the bottom line is that “soy based foam”, “ecofoam”, “plant based foam”, “biofoam” and all the other so called “green sounding” names are really names for polyfoam that is a tiny bit greener but is anything but “green” or natural. Memory foam is also a form of polyfoam with added chemicals and a different formula to give it its unique characteristics and “memory”. It too can be made with formulas that replace some of the polyols with plant based versions.

As with all polyfoam (and memory foam), it’s quality and durability is determined more than anything else by the density of the foam and it’s suitability in a mattress would depend on the density that was used in certain layers in the mattress and whether the price of the mattress justified the use of lower cost polyfoam as an alternative to other higher quality foams.

Verlo is definitely a good place to do some comparison shopping. Hollandia has some very interesting mattresses and fabricated layers but as you mention, a lottery win … or at least a good night of winning some high stakes poker would be a good idea before going in that direction :slight_smile:


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