Interested in greening up your closet a little? Let’s face it, some of our clothing fabrics are not very eco-friendly. Synthetic materials and chemical-laden manufacturing processes put some of our fabric choices in the ecological dark ages. Traditional fabrics like cotton, rayon, nylon and polyester fall into this category. If you want to take steps to a more sustainable wardrobe, here are 7 fabrics you should consider.
Unlike regular cotton, organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Natural seeds are used, compared to genetically modified seeds. Organic cotton is also handpicked vs. machine picked, maintaining the long fibers and resulting in a softer fabric.
Bamboo is an eco-friendly alternative fabric that has recently become more popular. One thing that makes it a more environmentally friendly choice is that it is a very fast growing and sustainable plant. It can also thrive without pesticides and requires very little irrigation, compared with cotton. Additionally, it is biodegradable in 4-6 months. Finally, it is one of the most durable fabrics, so garments can last longer and need to be replaced less frequently.
Hemp is another eco-friendly fabric for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it does not require a lot of water to grow. And, unlike cotton, it replenishes the soil rather than takes nutrients out of it. One crop can produce 3-4 times more per acre than cotton. Finally, hemp is a biodegradable fabric.
What is tencel? Tencel is a man-made biodegradable fabric made of wood using sustainable, environmentally sound processes. Tencel is another soft, comfortable and sustainable fabric. It has been compared to silk in the feel and drape of its fabric. Tencel is produced with non-toxic chemicals in a closed loop process. The production process is considered closed loop because any solvents used in production are recycled at a 99% rate, making it a cleaner, more sustainable process..
What is modal? Modal is a soft synthetic (man-made) fabric made from beech trees. It can be used on its own or in a textile blend; it is frequently mixed with cotton and spandex.
Modal is more eco-friendly than cotton, using less water to produce (10 to 20 times less). It also requires less land per ton than cotton to grow and is completely biodegradable.
What is linen? Linen is fabric created from the fibers of flax plants. Interestingly, every part of the flax plant can be used – nothing is wasted, making it very cost effective and sustainable. Linen fabric is durable and extremely breathable, however, the manufacturing process can be laborious, making it a higher priced fabric.
If you want to green up your closet, consider looking for clothing items made from more eco-friendly fabrics. Want to take it one step further? Check out Gone to Green’s guide to building a sustainable wardrobe!