Eco-friendly Fabrics: Guide for your Environment Friendly Fashion
You probably may have a checklist while shopping for your new outfit- the design, the fit, or maybe the trendy collection. But what exactly is the composition of fabric was never an important factor. Resultant, we are offered fabrics that are not good for our skin and the environment.
Today 60% of the fabrics being produced are petroleum-derived like polyester, nylon, and acrylic. These fabrics are non-biodegradable and are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
We as buyers, need to look for more sustainable fabrics so that we leave minimal impact on the environment.
What is a sustainable fabric?
If you look closely at how your fabric is made, you will realize its journey from extracting fiber to converting it into fabric involves harmful chemicals and over-exploitation of natural resources at each stage.
And choosing a fabric that is non-biodegradable even, proves to be a long-term threat to this planet.
What we can do is to choose a sustainable fabric- that has been derived from eco-friendly resources, has not used harmful chemicals, and doesn’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Before buying your next closet staple, don’t forget to check the label to know how ‘eco-friendly’ your product is.
Below you can find a list of sustainable fabrics that will help you to choose a nature-driven piece for conscious shopping.
List of 7 eco-friendly fabrics
- No toxic pesticides, chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically modified (GM) seeds are used in its production.
- Its farming uses 62% less energy and 90% less water than conventional cotton farming.
- Fabric is breathable and biodegradable.
- Expensive as compared to conventional cotton.
- Its fabric is strong, durable and anti-microbial.
- Cultivation of hemp requires less water and land as compared to cotton.
- Clothes made from hemp protect the skin from UV rays.
- Can grow easily in both hot and cold climate.
- Extraction of fabric from fiber requires high amount of energy as compared to cotton.
- Made from the stalks of flax plant, linen is highly absorbing and breathable making it best to be worn in summers.
- It is one of the strongest materials and can last on for many years even after regular washing.
- Is also suitable for people with sensitive skin or allergies.
- Gets wrinkles and creases very easily.
- Also known as vegetable cashmere, soy fabric is derived from Soyhulls- a byproduct of soyabean processing
- Soy fabric is biodegradable, UV resistant, antimicrobial and highly-absorbent.
- Gets easily blended with other organic fibers to enhance the properties of the fabric.
- Conversion of soy protein to fabric requires harmful chemicals. Though chemical-free processing is also done but it increases the cost of fabric.
- Extracted from bamboo pulp, bamboo fabric is a good insulator, breathable and very soft material.
- Growing bamboo is sustainable- takes about 3 years to get established, does not require pesticides or fertilizers, has less water requirement and also absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees.
- Bamboo fabric is a softer and wrinkle-free fabric.
- Shrinks faster and is also les durable than cotton.
Animal based fibers
- Silk and wool- widely used animal based fibers are biodegradable but often harm livestock in the process. To make their fiber, harmful chemicals are also used. But with the development in the technology, ethical production processes of these fabrics are being used but they are costly and are not widely used.
- Made from recycled plastic, rPET fabric will help to reduce the non-biodegradable waste from accumulating in landfills.
- As compared to virgin polyester, this recycled fabric has 70% lesser energy requirements and nearly half Co2 emissions.
- rPET is non-biodegradable and contributes in generation of plastic microfiber.
Though you will find many other fabrics listed on the label; brands generally don’t follow conventional fabric names and give different names to their composition.
It is, therefore, better to research what you are buying to be a conscious consumer.