What are the most sustainable fabrics in the textile industry? Here are the best fibers that have the least number of negative impacts on the environment.
Mass production in the clothing industry results in an immense amount of damage to the environment. 10% percent of the world’s CO2 emissions belong to the fashion industry. That’s because massive brands and clothing lines prefer synthetic fibers as they are cheaper to produce. While it is true that they are cheaper than their natural counterparts, they often require a ton of water and a series of toxic chemicals.
That is why we see a positive shift towards eco-friendly products. More consumers now prefer buying clothes made from sustainable fabrics.
What is a sustainable fabric?
Sustainable fabrics are fabrics that come from eco-friendly and often renewable resources. They are highly biodegradable and do not damage the environment with their production process. They are more viable both for the steady state of the earth and its future.
The cost of their production is indeed higher than their synthetic rivals. But when utilized correctly and produced in required volumes, the most eco-friendly fabrics will ensure a healthier environment for us and for future generations to come.
In this guide, we will be focusing on the most environmentally sound fabrics and clothing materials.
Cotton is actually one of the least eco-friendly fabrics in the textile industry. It is also one of the greediest clothing materials as it requires gallons of water and a massive amount of energy. That’s why we have seen a resurgence in the use of organic cotton in recent years.
Unlike its conventional rival, organic cotton is mostly devoid of toxic chemicals and is also better for the consumer’s skin health. But recycled cotton, on the other hand, is one of the best and the most sustainable fabrics we use today. It is a lot better than both cotton types as it reduces the amount of required water, labor, and energy.
Manufacturers obtain cotton from consumers and industrial operations and work on it without depending on additional resources.
Hemp has become the go-to plant in recent years. From fashion to cosmetics, many experts from different fields have been working on hemp. Today, a great number of manufacturers prefer using hemp as it grows even in the poorest conditions. It does not only minimize the need for pesticides or other chemical boosters, but it also nurtures the soil it is planted in.
It has been one of the most popular clothing materials over the last few years. Though humanity has been using it for similar means for hundreds of years. The fact that it gets even softer after multiple washes show how effective organic hemp is.
There is no doubt that organic hemp is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the whole clothing industry. Though it is important to note that it may be difficult to find clothes made from this very fiber. That’s why it can also be a little bit more expensive than its plastic or synthetic fabrics.
As we mentioned above, organic cotton remains to be one of the most eco-friendly fabrics today. Genuine manufacturers who utilize sustainable methods prefer using modal or organic cotton. Thanks to its soft and breathable structure, it is possible to find organic cotton in many garments for babies, men, and women.
The production of organic cotton does not include pesticides or toxic chemicals. While it is more expensive to produce, it is almost an essential fabric for sustainability. It is used by manufacturers who go the extra mile to preserve the environment.
Organic linen was a loyal companion to dressmakers in the past. It is still among the most sustainable fabrics used by garment manufacturers. While the production of organic linen results in environmentally hazardous emissions, it is still considered a fairly eco-friendly fabric.
The fact that organic linen is biodegradable also encourages eco-friendly fashion enthusiasts. It can decompose a lot faster in nature when compared to its synthetic counterparts. On the other hand, linen is also a durable fabric even though it is quite lightweight.
The production of linen requires a minimal amount of water. The growing process does not need special care as well. This reduces the energy and labor, thus the production costs.
Lyocell is one of the most recent fabrics that we have started to see in garment production. It has been in our lives since 1982 when it was first founded by a USA-based company. Lyocell consists of cellulose and is mainly used to produce clothing production. Unlike other plastic-based fabrics, its production does not contain harmful liquids like carbon disulfide.
This unique fiber is highly breathable and offers a soft touch on the skin. It is definitely a great fiber to wear on hot summer days as it allows airflow. When compared with many other fabrics, it does not retain odor as well, rendering it even a better alternative for summer outfits.
The most sustainable fabrics are essential both for our health and the environment. Using synthetic fibers and boosting their production increase the depletion of our primary sources. This does not only accelerate the process of pollution but also makes the production of organic clothing materials harder than it is. As consumers, it is best to look for clothes made out of eco-friendly fabrics like organic or recycled cotton, linen, and many others.