Specialty Sleep Association:
The Specialty Sleep Association is an advocacy group for manufacturers and retailers of innovative, technology driven sleeping surfaces. Its purpose is also to educate consumers, retailers and manufacturers alike.
SSA was founded in 1995 as the successor to the waterbed industry. This alternative sleep surface industry has been joined by numerous others to become the fastest growing segment of the bedding industry with a giant share of all retail earnings from bedding products.
This facet of the bedding industry continues to develop and expand.
Specialty Sleep Products:
Specialty Sleep products are a full range of innovative, new technology mattresses and other bedding products such as visco-elastic foam beds, latex rubber beds, flotation beds, adjustable beds, as well as futons, convertible beds, etc. These products are not limited to mattresses, but include bed frames, and top-of-bed products such as pillows, sheets, comforters, and fabric guards as well.
New technology and materials are being tried and developed further. In addition to the new technology, all natural and sustainable green materials such as soy, bamboo, wool, and 100% cotton are also being used.
SSA's Green Initiative:
SSA launched a "Green Initiative" in 2009 to identify, define and set standards for "green labels " on its products. SSA also became a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
The purpose of launching the Green Initiative was to make it easy for consumers to identify whether a product is green, natural, all natural or organic. Standardization makes it easier for SSA members to define their products.
The goal for SSA was to create a certification program based on existing standards in conjunction with industry-specific terms and standards.
SSA Environmental & Safety Program:
The SSA Environmental & Safety program grew from SSA's “Green Initiative” and has three levels of compliance. It is another step towards consumer education on environmental attributes of mattresses. It also informs them of the level of compliance with federal flammability and children’s safety issues.
The three step seal and consumer disclosure label that is part of the SSA Environmental & Safety Program will help consumers with questions of how green and safe a product is.
The manufacturer has to disclose and meet all material and safety standards to qualify for each level. For instance, for level 1, the manufacture has to disclose materials used and achieve "a minimum of 20% of natural/biobased or pre-consumer recycled content in component categories of fabric and quilt". It also has to meet federal safety and flammability standards.
Each subsequent higher level calls for a greater level of safety, use of sustainable and/or recycled material and certification from programs and standards relevant to the mattress and bedding industry.