Do you know that people around the world consume an estimated 80 billion pieces of clothing each year? Considering the insatiable demand for new clothes, we as buyers need to check more than just a garment’s price tag. Seek information about the people that made your clothes, the working conditions they were crafted in & the materials they’re made from, you’ll start to make choices that are easier on the earth.
What makes a fabric the best eco-friendly fabric?
It starts with being made using particular fibers with a low environmental impact, & avoiding others that are not so great due to the pollution created by the processes used to produce them.
Here’s an overview of the standard fabrics you will find in wardrobes & where they stand in terms of sustainability:
It the most versatile plant in the world. It is the only plant that can feed you, clothe you, create a home for you, and provide you with natural beauty products.
As a fabric, hemp is antibacterial, breathable, warm, moisture-wicking & can be easily blended. It’s a durable fabric that becomes softer with washing & wear. Moreover, it’s biodegradable at the end of its life. The hemp plant doesn’t need a lot of water & it can produce two to three times more fiber per acre than cotton. It replenishes the soil it grows in instead of extracting its nutrients. All this is to mention that from a sustainability perspective, hemp is the best choice we have.
Recently, Linen has become a favorite eco-friendly staple & for a good reason. It is made up of flax & praised for hundreds of years due to its durability.
As a fabric, Linen is antimicrobial, breathable, lightweight, durable, absorbent, moth-resistant & cool as it lowers our body temperature in summer. As far as sustainability is concerned, it requires far less water than cotton & does not require any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Moreover, it’s biodegradable.
It’s another excellent environmentally friendly fabric. It grows in controlled settings with no pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical fertilizers. Only natural fertilizers are used & the soil and water are monitored. Organic cotton is good for our health & the environment. It feels softer, smells cleaner & is less likely to trigger allergies.
There is an emerging organic market for cotton. However, that does not solve the water issue. Although organic cotton is not grown using pesticides & herbicides, it often comes at a premium many people can’t afford.
NOTE: Cotton crops require a massive amount of water to grow (think nearly 2650 liters for a T shirt), which in turn places a substantial strain on the environment.
It is a natural fiber gets produced from the bamboo plant. The fabric is silky in texture, durable & has moisture-wicking properties. Moreover, bamboo requires less water & no fertilizers or pesticides to grow and is biodegradable.
However, it has a dark side. The method of turning bamboo into the fabric is very chemically intensive & it produces a good amount of waste. That makes bamboo much less sustainable than you might think at first glance.
NOTE: Natural fabrics comes in limited colors because traditional dyes use chemicals.
The natural or eco-friendly fabric is easy to care for:
Machine wash in cold water with like colors fabrics.
Skip the chlorine bleach & fabric softener & reduce your eco-footprint even more.
Pre-shrunk, eco-friendly white cotton – tumble dry or hang to dry.
Iron if desired.