Top 6 Sustainable Clothing Fabrics
January 19, 2022
Have you ever considered the material that your garments are made of? Perhaps you dislike the way certain textiles feel. These materials may pill and snag easily, or they may be difficult to wash. Perhaps you don’t consider it at all. Regardless, a crucial point to examine is how these textiles influence the environment.
Clothing accounts for 3% to 6.7 percent of worldwide human-caused carbon emissions. This stems not just from the fabric’s manufacture, but also from the care that follows your purchase. The majority of the environmental effect generated by clothing is caused by washing, and the impact varies depending on the fabric. So, if you can avoid a wash, go ahead and do it!
There is no such thing as a completely sustainable cloth, although some are far superior to others. The number of resources needed to make the material and the product’s life cycle analysis are two main determining criteria for labeling sustainable materials. A life cycle analysis is an assessment of the product from “birth” to “death” and its influence at each stage. Let’s have a look at some of the best sustainable textiles.
- Recycled or Organic Cotton
Organic cotton is a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cotton. Organic cotton is cultivated without the use of any harmful pesticides and is manufactured without the use of any hazardous chemicals that conventional cotton employs. Cotton in its recycled state is the most environmentally friendly method to wear. In comparison to conventional and organic cotton, this fabric is manufactured from post-industrial and post-consumer waste and needs significantly less water and energy to produce.
2. Organic Linen
Linen, known for its airy and pleasant feel in garments, is also derived from a plant: flax. It requires little to no water and few to no pesticides. When left undyed, it is 100% biodegradable! Because the production process for linen is more mechanical than water demand, both the natural plant and the fabric generated from it require less water. According to Green Story’s Green Fabric Guide, the mechanically intensive process creates some emissions, but the entire process produces significantly fewer carbon emissions than most other textiles. The flax plant is widely available, and the procedure for producing linen from it is very productive. When left untreated, it is a fantastic alternative for local production and is quite sustainable.
3. Organic Hemp
Because of its high resilience, hemp is frequently used in clothing, rope, and boat sails. It is also naturally insulating and cooling, as well as UV-protective. It also has the added benefit of being ecologically friendly. The plant itself is highly hardy and requires very little water to thrive. It also returns 60-70 percent of the minerals it consumes to the soil in which it thrives! Furthermore, when spun into fabric, no chemicals are used in the process. It should be noted that some manufacturers prefer to utilize a more chemical-intensive procedure to speed up manufacturing, which is bad for the environment.
Hemp is regarded as a particularly sustainable fabric choice as long as it is made naturally and without the use of chemicals. It even softens as it is washed, adding to its degree of comfort. Hemp plants also produce a nutritious seed, which you may have seen at your local supermarket. If hemp is safe to eat, you should have no trouble wearing it!
4. Recycled Polyester (rPET)
This material is frequently created from plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill. This is an excellent answer to the problem of plastic pollution because it minimizes the demand for raw resources. Polyester that has been recycled is a significantly more sustainable solution since it avoids the energy-intensive oil extraction process, lowering emissions.
According to Green Story, the manufacturing process for recycled polyester consumes 35% less water than ordinary polyester. The dyeing procedure is the one that uses the most water. Furthermore, a t-shirt made entirely of polyester may be recycled numerous times before the fabric becomes worthless.
A disadvantage of recycled polyester is that, like virgin polyester, it releases microplastics while washing. You may assist by washing your clothing less frequently and using this washing bag, which prevents microplastics from entering waterways.
Tencel, a relatively new fabric, is manufactured from wood pulp and has qualities comparable to rayon. It is biodegradable since it is generated from plant material. According to Green Story’s Green Fabric Guide, the technique for producing Tencel fiber was specially developed to minimize the environmental effect.
Tencel manufacture consumes one-third of the water required to create rayon, and over 99 percent of the water and solvents used may be recycled! This implies that no additional solvents are required. This significantly decreases the leakage of hazardous substances into the environment. Furthermore, unlike viscose, the solvents used in Tencel manufacture are non-toxic.
Tencel is more costly, but it is highly durable and will last a long time. What you pay for is what you get! While it is not currently generally available for production, the sector is rapidly expanding.
If one is seeking a better alternative to nylon after reading about it, consider Econyl. This fabric is manufactured from recycled materials including industrial plastic and fishing nets. The method is closed-loop, which appears to be a trend in all future textiles.
Because this material is comprised of plastic, minute particles may be discharged when a garment is cleaned. Econyl is most environmentally friendly in the form of things that do not need to be washed frequently, such as shoes or backpacks. When washing goods that must be washed, one can use a washing bag to help prevent microplastics from entering waterways.
Wild We: Raising Standards in Sustainability
Wild We is India’s eco-friendly comfortable clothing brand. They empower people to actively stand for causes they collectively believe in, through powerful designs on sustainable clothing. Wild We use fashion as a medium to raise awareness and funds for causes like Research, climate change, animal rights, women empowerment, and more. Their collection is made from the finest all-natural fabrics; garments made with natural fibers do end up in a landfill.