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'I invented the first pillow out of soybean'

Words by Tess Becker

When you think of pollution, generally, you’ll think of giant clouds of smog coming from smokestacks or sea turtles scarfing down plastic straws – not the beds we sleep on.

But beds, like basically anything else, can be made and discarded in ways that are much better for the environment. 

This is something that Marc Werner, Nature’s Sleep (now GhostBeds) were ahead of the curve for. Along with his wife, Marc started Nature’s Sleep 22 years ago and really stood apart from his peers when it came to eco-consciousness.

“I was big into the eco movement 22 years ago at the turn of the century,” Marc tells Smiley News. “I was ahead of my time because people didn't care. There was a little chatter in 99 and 2000 nothing substantial.”

Even though other companies didn’t lay much focus on sustainable practices, Marc laid it in his company’s groundwork. “My packaging for pillows was biodegradable,” he says. “I thought that would be good for the Earth, but retailers didn't really care.

“I invented the first pillow out of soybean, so the fabric on the inside was 100% biodegradable and regenerative kind of thing.”

Today, GhostBeds has products made from recycled water bottles, shredding the plastic and reconstituting it into a fabric-like material.

Marc came from an inventive family. His namesake, Werner being the founder of Werner Ladders, a ladder company that has been around for a century. He used what he learned there and put it into bedding, soon becoming one of the first to pioneer vacuum-sealed beds. The goal with it was to be efficient for shipping from a business perspective but also from a sustainability goal.

“We had an eco mission from day one," he says. “It's less waste, it's less packaging, it's easier for the consumer, it's easier for the retail merchant."

Beyond his work for eco-friendly products, Marc and GhostBeds also help the Battered Women’s Shelter in Broward County, although they don’t advertise the aid they provide. “I just try to do the right thing,” Marc says.

“When we see opportunities to do something better, we just make a running change and an improvement on that but we're not trying to get any brownie points.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Responsible Consumption and Production.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs