Wait, what? Soybean foam isn’t made of soybeans?!

 

soybeansI’ll keep this short: soybean foam is primarily made from petrochemicals, not soybeans.  

You might have also have heard of soybean foam as bio-foam, soy foam, and other names combining soy-, bio-, or eco-.

No forest green lettering, or image of pastoral fields on marketing materials, can change the truth: soy foam might contain 20% soy content but can contain as little as 3-5% depending on the product. The rest is highly flammable polyurethane foam.gasoline

If a consumer is looking for an alternative to polyurethane foam, soy foam isn’t the solution.

Sigh.

But soy foam sounds so healthy … and marketers count on it.

The initial green angle for soy foam was on using renewable plant-based resources* to supplement non-renewable petroleum. Mattress and furniture company marketers, however, soon found that marketing could intentionally lead consumers to make seemingly logical – albeit false – assumptions about what was, and wasn’t, in “soy foam”.

With the addition of green imagery and colors, the trick was complete, and the public assumed that soy foam was made from soybeans.

Seriously. Green lettering can make anything look healthier. Watch.

poison

Now look.

poison logo

 Looks healthier, friendlier and greener, doesn’t it?

Look at the labels on soy-foam products: the implication is clearly that the foam is primarily made from soybeans and is manufactured with fewer chemicals.

This is clearly false.

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*You can read volumes about industrial soy crops. While out of the scope of this post, recent concerns include deforestation in Brazil for giant soybean plantations.  More than 90% of U.S. soybeans derive from GMO (genetically modified organism) crops, and as far back as 2007 more than 50% of global soybean crops were GMO.

Additionally, a story  published March 23, 2014 in The Telegraph claims “The United Nations will officially warn that growing crops to make “green” biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices…” Environmentalists have been concerned about biofuel crops and their environmental impact for some time. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to publish the actual report on March 31, 2014. Read The Telegraph’s article at http://bit.ly/1iwMv3K.

 

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2 Responses to “Wait, what? Soybean foam isn’t made of soybeans?!”

  1. I’m so happy I found your post! We own an organic latex mattress. My parents are looking into a new mattress, and are considering a “soy based” mattress. I just knew it was bad based on what I know about GMO soy, but I couldn’t articulate the reasoning clearly enough. Now, I can send them your post and hope it changes their minds. You are spot on about green marketing…it fools even really smart folks like my parents! Basically, these mattresses are no more green than conventional innerspring products.

  2. Sebastian says:

    You are welcome! There is so much terminology out there implying one thing yet meaning another it’s easy to get tricked. We make organic latex mattresses certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), but we also offer a variety of latex/coil hybrid and even latex-free mattresses, all certified organic. I mention this because not everyone knows there are certified organic options for people who do not want an all latex mattress or who prefer the feel of coils.

    Again, so glad your found our post useful. Contact us if you have any questions!
    - Sebastian of Naturepedic

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