Discarded clothing makes up a significant amount of our landfill waste. Sustainable fabrics minimize environmental impact by using organic and chemical-free farming, circular manufacturing processes, and sustainable end-of-life prospects.
The textile industry is one of the most water-intensive industries, so choosing sustainable fabrics is a great way to help reduce your environmental footprint. Many sustainable fabric alternatives use less water than their non-sustainable counterparts and produce recycled water.
Sustainable fabrics often use a closed-loop process and eco-friendly materials that minimize pollution. Organic cotton is a popular sustainable fabric choice with several advantages over synthetic counterparts. It uses less water and pesticides and is a natural fiber that biodegrades when discarded.
However, not all organic cotton is created equal. Another popular sustainable fabric is bamboo, a lightweight, breathable material that’s comfortable and absorbent. However, some brands use chemically processed bamboo, which releases the same acids as rayon viscose into the environment, so be sure to choose only organically manufactured bamboo.
Other sustainable fabrics that are becoming popular include linen, local, and modal. Linen is a soft, breathable natural fiber resistant to wrinkles and doesn’t require any chemicals or pesticides during growth. It’s also fully biodegradable and has antibacterial properties. Another sustainable option is modal, made from renewable resources like eucalyptus wood pulp.
Consider transparent brands about their sourcing and manufacturing processes when choosing a modal. Hemp is another sustainable fabric becoming increasingly popular because of its durability and moisture-wicking qualities. It’s also a natural UV protector, which helps keep your skin safe from harmful sun damage. Hemp also requires fewer chemicals than other fabrics, getting softer with each wash.
Choosing sustainable fabrics can have significant impacts on the environment. This is especially true if you work in the fashion industry or any other business that uses textiles and fabrics regularly. This is because the fabric you use will impact the environmental damage done, from waste to chemical spills and even water pollution.
While it is impossible to eliminate the adverse effects of the garment and apparel manufacturing process, you can take steps to make your clothing more sustainable. For example, selecting fabrics that are organic and have been certified as such can reduce harmful chemicals and other materials in your clothing. Similarly, fabrics that are made from recycled materials also help protect the earth.
Using sustainable fabric can also reduce the amount of energy used in production. For example, many manufacturers who produce sustainable clothes use a closed-loop system to reuse process waste and recapture 99% of the energy required to create them. In addition, sourcing locally-made fabrics reduces transportation costs and fuel emissions. Bamboo is an excellent option if you are looking for a fabric that will conserve water.
It proliferates and requires very little water to thrive, returning 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil back into the ground. It is also an excellent choice for reducing micro plastic pollution, as it releases half as many particles as other textiles when worn. Another perfect sustainable option is recycled polyester.
This fabric is derived from waste products that would otherwise be sent to landfills or incinerated, making it a greener alternative to other natural fibers that need a lot of land, water, and chemicals to grow and manufacture.
It also has the added benefit of carbon sequestration, which helps keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. With the focus on environmental consciousness at an all-time high, choosing sustainable fabrics for your garments is essential.
Many conventional fabrics require chemical processing and bleaching, but sustainable brands can often reduce this impact using various methods. They may use organic and chemical-free farming, recycled materials, or circular manufacturing processes. They might also ensure they can be disposed of healthily for the environment and people.
No one fabric is entirely sustainable, but several different materials are making good strides in the fashion industry. One of the most commonly known is cotton, which can be grown sustainably by choosing organic and eco-friendly fibers and ensuring that chemicals are not used.
Another option is silk, which can be sourced ethically and synthetically without harming spiders or the environment. This fabric can be found in several clothing pieces, including dresses, skirts, and tops. Bamboo is a sustainable fabric that can be made into soft, breathable clothing. It is a plant-based fiber that absorbs four times its weight in water, which makes it perfect for summer wear.
The fashion industry generates a tremendous amount of waste every year, and much of it comes from poorly made clothing. This is mainly due to the fast-fashion approach, where brands prioritize quantity over quality and use easily damaging fabrics.
This leads to high rates of clothing turnover, which means a lot of new fabric gets thrown away too soon and ends up polluting the environment with micro plastics and toxic chemicals. Sustainable fabrics are more durable and designed to last longer, reducing the waste they create.
They can also be recycled, giving them a second life in someone else’s wardrobe. Sustainable fabrics are often organic and chemical-free, aiming for minimal harm through their production methods and fiber properties. Some eco-friendly fabrics are plant-based, and some even aim for lowered carbon emissions, water conservation, and soil regeneration.