Yes, memory foam is vegan. It is made from polyurethane, which is not animal-derived, does not use inhumane production methods, and is considered cruelty-free. Memory foam is suitable for a vegan lifestyle, although not for a sustainable lifestyle.
However, it should be noted that both shoes and memory foam mattresses often have other materials in them that may not be vegan. For example, a memory foam mattress may have a mattress protector made from satin, silk, down, or flannel. These animal products are not vegan fabrics and not compatible with a vegan lifestyle.
A memory foam product is not always 100& memory foam. Always check the label or ask the manufacturer if you are unsure about the materials used in the product.
What Is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is made from polyurethane, a type of plastic also used in car seats, in glues, and as insulation in buildings and fridges. Chemicals are added to polyurethane to increase its density and viscosity and to create the open bubbles (or cells) that allow air to move through it freely – these bubbles are what make it “squishy.”
Memory foam was originally invented by NASA as a material that could keep astronauts safe and comfortable when launching to space. Mattresses that are made from this material will change their shape to fit the person lying on them. The foam is also very elastic and will quickly regain its original frame as soon as you get up (hence the name – memory foam – because it ‘remembers’ its original shape). It also has a high density and a longer lifespan than an ordinary mattress.
Is Memory Foam Sustainable?
Memory foams are plastics, which are petroleum-based. This means that they are not a sustainable option since they rely on natural resources that will run out. Additionally, polyurethane is highly flammable, so it is treated with flame-retardant chemicals, most of which aren’t great for the environment.
Memory foam is recyclable, so that’s something. Recycling polyurethane results in a product of lesser quality and value, so you can’t turn it into another mattress, but it can be used for things like carpet underlay. Unfortunately, despite this, many mattresses still end up in the trash.
Verdict: Should Vegans Buy Memory Foam?
Memory foam is vegan, and despite some environmental concerns, the material that is completely artificial and animals are harmed in the production process. It is important to note that other materials in the shoe or mattress may not be vegan. Always check the label.