Required fields are marked *. The dumping of waste by tanneries – both solid (e.g. These work their way through the system eventually ending up in your drinking water and the ocean where it’s ingested by fish, which you ultimately eat. We stock the following knit fabrics: 100% Bamboo, 50%/50% Bamboo/Cotton and 100% Organic Cotton. Indeed, as our awareness grows, so too does our desire to have the words "sustainable" and "ethical" reflected in our every food and lifestyle choice. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre highlights sexual violence in Ireland with its '#16stats in 16 days' campaign, "For the first time, I was able to take my top off in the park and just lie on the grass", "My pronouns are he/they": Actor Elliot Page announces he is transgender, Take an Italian holiday at home with this simple bellini, WATCH: Paul Mescal stars in Phoebe Bridgers' music video Savior Complex. Re-Wool, one of textile manufacturer Kvadrat’s many commitments to sustainability, is made with 45 percent recycled wool.The non-recycled wool gives the fabric its color, while the recycled portions reduce its environmental impact, since it has already been treated and processed. I also consider "deadstock" fabric to be sustainable, as this is fabric that … Finally, some sheep are sheared in a process called muling, where a bit of skin is removed along with the wool. Tencel/Lyocell are trade names of very sustainable fabrics made from eucalyptus pulp. This is a start. To gain official “organic” accreditation, cotton must be grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment; removing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilisers, reducing water consumption and replenishing soil fertility. By: Amanda Cotler. What an awesome article, very educational and scary at the same time. So we’ve created a guide of eco-friendly clothing fabrics that are best for the environment and for your health, so you can make strong purchasing decisions to take your wardrobe and conscientiousness to the next level. Sheep wool is more sustainable than cashmere. I don’t think recycled polyester can be considered a sustainable matierial when washing of synthetic fleece fabrics (recycled or not) contributes to microplastic pollution. Both are suitable year-round choices because the keep you cool in the summer, yet will retain heat in the winter. A comparison of hemp and cotton shows how much more sustainable it is: hemp requires 700 gallons of water to yield 2.2 pounds of fabric vs. cotton’s 7,000 gallons. Are we putting the burden of sustainability entirely on women's shoulders? Sheep can be raised on non-arable land and are better at maintaining its viability than goats. Piñatex production utilizes some of the 40,000 tons of waste that would otherwise be left to either rot or be burned. It becomes unsustainable when old-growth forests are cut down to clear land for planting. Also, all our fabrics are Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 label certified. It is one of the fastest growing plants and it doesn't need much water, energy, pesticide, or fertilizers. To combat the ill effects of “fast fashion,” designers look for more sustainable methods Keep scrolling for the fabrics that Merenzi suggests you avoid—and her sustainable alternatives. Synthetic fibres We are going to look at synthetic and semi-synthetic fabrics? The sustainability debate around animal-based fabrics . Bamboo viscose is becoming more popular. Generally, wool is the most vulnerable fabric for dust mites penetration. First up, let’s look at fossil fuel based fabrics…. The animals used in the leather industry are responsible for 14.5% of the methane output. Most factory workers in these tanneries do not wear adequate protection and suffer from skin/ respiratory diseases and cancers (due to constant exposure to highly carcinogenic chromium. The chemicals used are generally non-toxic. Recycled Nylon has the same benefits as recycled polyester, in that it diverts waste (old fishing nets, tights, carpets, swimwear etc.) Sustainable Fabrics are a small part of all this, but it definitely counts. Why Sustainable Fashion Matters. The real cost of your clothes: These are the fabrics with the best and worst environmental impact. Many consumers are interested in green and ethical issues and are demanding sustainable products. Never miss a post, plus grab this free guide (instant download). They make up about 65% of our clothes and are favoured by manufacturers because they provide a cheap and fast alternative to natural fibres. As you can see, polyester isn’t always a great choice. No toxic chemicals are used in the process of transforming the fibers in the leaves into usable fabric. Bamboo has a great reputation in the sustainability market, as it grows extremely fast and doesn’t need pesticides to grow. In addition to the ecological benefits for everyone, the consumer benefits because the fabric is softer and with no harsh dyes you avoid skin sensitivities. and re-spinning it into new polyester fibre. The end result of concentrated cotton growing is that the land becomes infertile through repeated use. What's more, we've offered sustainable alternatives worth embracing, too. A genuinely cruelty-free wardrobe is one that avoids adverse impacts on animals, people and the environment. Organic cotton has a much smaller impact on the environment. Antimony is a carcinogen that is toxic to the heart, lungs, liver and skin. Top 6 Toxic Fabrics. To add to these scary numbers, chemical defoliants used in mechanical harvesting remain in the fabric and are released throughout a garment’s lifetime. Polyester is the worst fabric you can buy. One half of the total global output of leather is wasted by just the top 10 leather producers. Leather manufacturers are the most wasteful, material-wise, of all producers because they must work around the shape of the hide. Just because it's natural doesn't mean the … Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, requires no fertilizer or pesticides and little water to thrive. Utilizing the leaves becomes a secondary source of income for the pineapple growers. There are more pairs of jeans in existence than there are people. One thing Marenzi stressed to me is that not every natural fibre is inherently sustainable: "Silk is natural, so a lot of people think it must be good, but with silk, there's a processing problem, as it needs a lot of heat and chemicals. Thank you for the thorough, enlightening article. They need very little water and food to survive, live in areas that aren’t arable, consume plants without pulling out the roots, and unlike goats, they have feet with soft padding that aren’t destructive to the soil. Many brands are describing their clothes as “organic” without being certified; in some cases, the item itself might only contain a small percentage of organic cotton, or may indeed be made from organic cotton, but was then dyed using toxic chemicals. This is the category that holds the majority of the skin-harming culprits. You want to be on the look out for ethically made wool and cashmere as that can be an issue with many brands. While fabrics are becoming more sustainable, ultimately it’s the responsibility of the consumer to choose their clothing wisely and support sustainability through careful fabric and manufacturer choice. The end result is an improved product. Recycled polyester production requires 59% less energy, emits 32% less carbon emissions than virgin polyester production, and. As a greenhouse gas methane is 20 times stronger than CO2. Even though the ethical business practices of companies is important, this article will focus on the starting point – the different levels of fabric sustainability, before, during and after manufacture. From using recycled fabrics to declaring their runways carbon neutral, designers and brands reflected a … It’s carcinogenic and bleeds into surrounding water systems. Published at Thu, 21 Mar 2019 06:00:00 +0000 Polyesters are not the only unsustainable fabrics. On average, Americans throw away about 70 pounds of clothing (roughly 32 kilograms) and other textiles each year, equivalent in weight to more than 200 men’s t-shirts. Really makes me think…. Here’s our short list of fabrics to avoid, and the healthy ones to pick instead. Rather, look for sustainable vegan leather, or plant-based substitutes such as pineapple leather. With this in mind, plastic vegan leathers are not seen as an eco-friendly option. Hemp. It takes the hair of 4 goats to produce one sweater. The best is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) that ensures that your garment meets stringent environmental and ethical criteria throughout the entire supply chain. 3. This is such a good and thorough article! However there is a lot more wrong with the production of leather than just its association with animals. 3. It is made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric alcohol and terpthalic acid. Simply avoid any fabric that has more than a 10-micron pore size. Raising sheep fights against global warming by decreasing carbon dioxide levels. There are a number of fabrics made from wood pulp that go through enough chemical processing that they don’t quite fit the natural or synthetic categories. It can be dyed, printed and produced in any thickness. No additional water, fertilizer, pesticide or land is used to make Piñatex. For independent fashion labels sourcing a range of small quantities of stylish, sustainable fabrics can be a challenge. Some brands have already adopted more sustainable textile innovations, such as organic cotton, pineapple leather or eco-friendly plant-derived options. There are two sides to fashion sustainability: the ethical conduct of the manufacturers/sellers, and the fabric itself. Natural fabrics like cotton or wool, that could biodegrade post-use, are not able to do so safely if they are laden with chemicals. Luckily, many sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives exist. is generated globally each year) that would otherwise be burned or left to rot. However, we can simplify it by looking for certain things on clothing labels. Sustainable Fabrics to Look For: Natural Fibers. Remember to avoid chemical dry cleaning whenever possible and … Whether you're … Recycled polyester, also called rPET, takes existing fabric or PET (the plastic found in water bottles and other food and household containers) breaks it into chips which are heated, pressed through a spinneret to form thread to be spun into yarn and then fabric. Cotton, particularly organic cotton, is among the most popular fabrics that are both eco-friendly and easy to wear.Mood carries a variety of certified sustainable cotton fabrics such as BCI and Oeko-Tex certified collections. What is acrylic fabric? Wool clothing has many benefits: it’s durable, insulating, retains up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp, and because it needs to be washed less often than plant or synthetic clothing, less water is used. As a broad rule, the fabrics with the least negative environmental impact are recycled or organic. animal parts) and liquid (chromium and other toxins) – into the surrounding water systems is commonplace in places such as China, India and Bangladesh (where most of the world’s tanneries are located), because environmental protection standards are ignored or simply not in place. Brands seem to only care about profit, while they exploit cheap laborers in developing countries, dump toxic waste into rivers, and fill our landfills with cheap clothing. It’s cheap, versatile, adds elasticity and produces wrinkle-free garments. Irresponsible manufacturers will release toxic chemicals such as caustic soda, sulphuric acid and carbon disulphide into the air and waterways. They make up about 65% of our clothes and are favoured by manufacturers because they provide a … First is to understand that sustainability is … Nonetheless, sustainable brands will not necessarily cost more than brand-name clothing, for which we sometimes pay high prices for the image, but rarely for the quality or the sustainability. There are some amazing innovations becoming available that are decorative, practical and highly sustainable. For this reason, the demand for more vegan and sustainable fabrics is increasing. Look for natural dyes or colored cotton to further reduce the amount of chemicals dumped into our ecosystem. 16% of all pesticides, 25% of all insecticides and 6.8% of all herbicides used worldwide. with current surging market demands – or at least, to do so sustainably. How sustainable are different fabrics? While it’s one of the most widely grown crops worldwide, it’s been called “the dirtiest crop on earth” because it requires more water, fertilizers and pesticides than any other crop. This means that the chemicals are re-used and not released into the environment. Getty. If organic is important to you, you must look for a certified label rather than just relying on the manufacturer’s “organic” label. One billion animals are killed every year for their leather. Is polyester safe? It is very important to note that the sustainability of fabrics can vary dramatically depending on … The better manufacturers of any viscose use non-toxic chemicals and a closed loop process. Semi-Synthetic & Manmade Fibers Industrial hemp is now legal to grow in the United States. You can choose more sustainable clothing options by looking out for these fabrics, which may contain harmful chemicals which can be absorbed into your skin – or may harm the environment. When shopping for sustainable alternatives, be careful of greenwashing. Alpaca wool is seen to be a more eco-friendly version of the cashmere goat for a number of reasons: Linen is strong, long-lasting, natural, low-maintenance, biodegradable and undeniably gorgeous fabric. Ellen Rubin uses her experience as owner of a custom clothing business, her law, history and library degrees to write heavily researched content about her passions: the environment, and all things creative & beautiful. 1. When you need to purchase new pieces, make sure the materials as innocent as they look. However there is, significant dangers to both the environment and those who live and work in the local communities. Acrylic fibre Nylon, Lycra, and Acrylic Very little water and energy is expended in processing alpaca wool into fabric. Also, your cotton may be organically-grown but if it’s not domestic than the pollution emitted from shipping is just as hazardous as the chemically modified cotton. When goats eat grass they don’t just bite into it, they pull the grass out by the roots. Hemp is the most versatile plant on the earth, and serves many uses. Many popular fabrics today are man-made and full of chemicals, using up natural resources, or fossil fuels. plastic bottles) that would otherwise be sent to landfills or end up in our oceans, and re-spinning it into new polyester fibre. They also trick people into buying their clothes by promoting overconsumption, unrealistic lifestyles, and unattainable […] Here are 4 fabrics to avoid – and a few eco-friendlier choices to look for instead. Pure white linen because it requires intense bleaching. The Environment’s New Clothes: Biodegradable Textiles Grown from Live Organisms. Hemp farming is actually carbon positive – it returns up to 70% of the nutrients back to the soil when the low growing leaves decompose before harvesting. It also requires about half as much energy to create recycled polyester and releases 75% less emissions. More on this topic please! It certainly makes me think twice and question myself before purchasing further clothing items that are no longer sustainable to our overall and future environment. Natural fibres are widely regarded as more sustainable than synthetic fabrics given its … WHAT TO AVOID Polyester (and other petroleum-based synthetic fabrics) Polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic are all synthetic fibres derived from petroleum. Buying natural products – plant and animal based – does not mean that you are being ecologically responsible. Let’s take a look at real versus faux leather. Even if you shop secondhand, the fabrics you put on your body matter. All in all, organic cotton uses 90% less water and 60% less energy than non-organic cotton. Plus these fabrics stand the test of time and will look good for years to come! Alpaca fiber comes from Alpaca fleece, bred predominantly in the Peruvian Andes. Most offer worldwide shipping, and fabric quantities start at just one metre. Same goes for wool and cotton, make sure it comes from ethical and organic sources. As a fabric, it’s the top choice for sustainability. Top 6 Toxic Fabrics. Read more: The ugly side of fast fashion: This is the scary impact it's having on our world, Read more: Documentaries to watch if you want to get serious about sustainability, Read more: The impressive, Irish innovators leading the way in sustainable fashion, "If a fabric is natural, does that automatically make it sustainable (or even, Because one thing's for sure, conscious consumerism is, Cotton is an incredibly thirsty plant  - about 1,600 gallons of water are needed to produce enough cotton to make one pair of denim jeans). Cotton is a natural plant-based fiber used in clothing, furniture, and other textile blends, … But if you’re also looking to back up various small businesses trying to make a better world with their sustainable fabrics, here are some of our favorites. The Best Sustainable Fabrics As you know, I have been doing my best to avoid polyester and choosing more sustainable materials. The manufacturing process also requires large amounts of chemicals, water and fossil fuel. Cotton production has been held largely responsible for the complete, Cotton is a very volatile plant, which means that farmers often use fertilizers and pesticides to ensure their crop grows successfully. Depending on the growing, harvesting and processing conditions, these fabrics are almost always more sustainable than cotton or polyester. This video serves as a guide to sustainable fabrics, giving you an idea of what to buy and what to avoid. As bleak as those statistics are, the real harm in leather production comes from the chemicals used for tanning – 85% of which is tanned using chromium. I’m sure you can find some actually sustainable garments made from bamboo, but generally the process is not great. Vege Threads is ECA certified and makes all of its clothing in Australia. 90% of the land used to raise goats is now under serious threat of desertification. Most of the trees used in viscose are fast growing, regenerative trees. The result is a certified biodegradable fabric that is moisture-wicking, naturally wrinkle resistant, anti-bacterial and 50% more absorbent than cotton. Speaking of fossil fuels, polyester, nylon and acrylic are all oil byproducts and make up 65% of all clothing. In this case, feeling and looking good is bad for the environment and your wallet. If you want to be sure that a product is truly organic, check the tag for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) symbol, the Soil Association symbol or the Organic Exchange symbol. We are currently in a time of … And when you are attempting to update your fashion and home goods to be more sustainable it can be a challenge to know what to look for. Organic cotton is the most popular eco-friendly and sustainable fabric. Worst are conventional cotton, non-lyocell viscose, rayon, elastane, nylon and wool. Hemp yields between 2-3 times more fiber per acre than cotton. Synthetic, petroleum-based fabrics are strictly non-biodegradable. It also removes 1.63 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per ton of growth. reduces our dependency on petroleum as a source of raw materials. ", "If a fabric is natural, does that automatically make it sustainable (or even ethical)?". That’s why we want to make a difference. Fabrics to avoid are virgin synthetics, leather, rayon, and bamboo-derived viscose. Instead, choose natural colors such as ivory, ecru, tan and grey. They emit a lot of methane gas. 25 Great Watches For Small Wrists (Updated for 2020), The Complete Guide to Business Casual Style for Men [2020], A Beginner’s Guide to Cutting Your Own Hair at Home. Your email address will not be published. The soft padding under the Alpacas’ feet is also far less destructive to soil than stiletto-esque goat hooves. by melting down existing plastic (eg. Wool and cashmere are a bit more expensive at times, but these natural fabrics won’t come at a cost to your health! This is extremely toxic to the workers and the environment. Some are very high-tech, yet mimic natural products (lab grown silk), others are finding new ways of using plant waste that don’t further burden the environment. Your email address will not be published. By using eco-friendly fabrics and more sustainable production methods, the company hopes to reduce its environmental footprint. As sustainability continues as a top trend in the retail industry, retailers and brands are adapting to stay relevant and offer sustainable solutions to their consumers. That is the trend toward inexpensive, rapidly produced clothing for a mass market by retailers responding to the latest trends – sometimes every two weeks. As a buzzword, "sustainability" dominated September's fashion weeks. ... an incredibly soft and sustainable fabric. Even though it reduces the risk of infection, many people feel that this is overly cruel to the animals. All are moisture-wicking and will keep you warm. The real cost of your clothes: These are the fabrics with the best and worst environmental impact. Fifty years ago, 95% of the clothing sold in the US was manufactured here; today that figure is 2%. This is only one part of the overall industry, but does have the greatest impact in protecting the planet. Let’s be honest here for a second: fast fashion is destroying our planet. From the get-go there is the obvious fact that leather is made from animals, which means that it is not animal-friendly and carries a significant carbon footprint from the get-go. 1. This means that unless incinerated, every pair of nylon tights or spandex leggings you own will still be on this planet for the next 1000 years. It takes 700-1700 gallons of water to produce enough cotton for a single T-shirt. Vegan leather is usually made of PVC or polyurethane, which are plastic, synthetic fibres that have a similar environmental impact as polyester and nylon. Vegan leather is usually made of PVC or polyurethane, which are plastic, synthetic fibres that have a similar environmental impact as polyester and nylon. Make sure you use zero-waste detergents to clean your clothes The only disadvantage of hemp is that it’s not colorfast so you won’t find vibrant colors unless harsh chemical dyes are used; however, undyed or naturally dyed hemp produces beautiful muted tones. As a fabric, it’s the top … Nitrous oxide is created in the processing with antimony used as a catalyst. Published at Thu, 21 Mar 2019 06:00:00 +0000 Customers are taking note. Bamboo isn’t always as green as it sounds. Sustainability and performance: can you have it all? “Sustainable” refers to products that have been designed and made to have a lesser impact on the environment and improve the working conditions and economic security of those making the product. It’s very fast growing – only taking a couple of months before it can be harvested. When looking to sew sustainably, natural fibers will always be your best bet. … Not only do both plants yield fibers for fabric, the rest of the plant can be used for a multitude of other uses: food, medicine, paper and insulation. Here’s our short list of fabrics to avoid, and the healthy ones to pick instead. 70 billion barrels of oil is needed to meet current fabric needs. There is generally less chemical, water and energy use with wool. They thrive in poor soil with very little water in a variety of climates where no other crops will grow. cotton), not to mention its ability to grow in low-quality soil that is unsuitable for food crop production. By 2030 20% of all polyester will be recycled. 2. Organic cotton is grown without toxic, synthetic chemical inputs. It's also far cheaper - think up-cycling and refashioning! As well as being one of the most widely grown crops in the world, conventional cotton is also one of the most chemical-­intensive and environmentally harmful when not managed responsibly. The plant is very good for soil, it can be grown for many years in the same place without exhausting it. Hi Cashmere is spun from goat hair, primarily from Mongolia. 7 thoughts on “ More sustainable fabrics ” Alanna February 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm. Although less water is used in the processing, it’s still energy intensive. Organic cotton offers a superb alternative and describes cotton grown using a technique which lowers the impact on the environment. The average household spent the equivalent of $4,000 on 25 garments; today $1,800 is spent on 70 garments. Buy better quality. Synthetic Fabrics. In my opinion, there are better eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics to buy than bamboo. Which fabrics should you avoid? Polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic are all synthetic fibres derived from petroleum. Most of the world’s cotton production is in countries where health and safety regulations are often ignored, and child or forced labour is common practice. Obviously, no toxic pesticides or fertilizers are allowed and because farmers rely on crop rotation, the soil isn’t depleted. I love leather, but I’ll be on the lookout for Pinatex. There are three different types of textile fibres that the Fashion Industry goes by 1. It keeps 25 billion pounds of waste from landfills and only uses 20% of the water that conventional weaving would. Sustainable + Clean Pick: Wool, Cashmere. Because no harsh chemicals are used in the processing, both hemp and linen are great choices for people with skin sensitivities. I love cotton, but I’ll look for organically grown cotton from now on. Vege Threads. Clothing and Style Filed Under:cotton, hemp, linen, sustainable fabrics 4 comments. Leather is generally tanned in countries that don’t have adequate environmental or safety regulations in place so in addition to health concerns, workplace injuries are common. Sustainability is not as simple as it seems. Denim is one of our most beloved materials. Because one thing's for sure, conscious consumerism is sooo hot right now. Synthetic Fibres and Sustainability. Here, we answer those very questions and list out key concerns associated with some of the most popular fabrics in modern fashion. Hemp fabric comes from the plant with the same name. The most common are viscose, rayon and modal which use birch, beech, oak, eucalyptus or bamboo pulp. This stops the grass from growing back and when carried out at a large scale, this can lead to severe degradation of the land and eventual deforestation. Customers are taking note. Our sustainable fabric wholesaler in Vietnam team is constantly adding new options. Unfortunately, a single pair of Levi jeans uses 3781 gallons of water in the manufacturing process, in addition to the 10-20,000 gallons necessary to grow the cotton.