A Guide To The Least And Most Sustainable Fabrics

Ever thought about what fabrics to embrace and avoid if you wish to become a more sustainable consumer? Do you ever think about the fabric that makes up the garment you are wearing? You probably do not like how some fabrics feel. Perhaps some fabrics snag and pill easily or are difficult to wash. Here’s a question you should consider: how do these fabrics impact the environment? No fabric is 100% sustainable, but some are better than the rest. Least Sustainable: Polyester Most polyesters take approximately 20 and 200 years to break down when put into the landfill. Polyester is a non-biodegradable fabric that is partially derived from oil, and it contributes as a major source of pollution. Every washing cycle involved may lead to the release of over 700,000 mini plastic fibres into the environment, causing harm to marine life. Least Sustainable: Rayon or Viscose Viscose or rayon is manufactured by dissolving cellulose into a chemical solution and spinning it into threads. This fabric is commonly used in fast fashion manufacturing and consumes a large amount of energy, chemicals, and water, thereby causing immense pollution. Least Sustainable: Acrylic Acrylic is used to manufacture garments that offer warmth – like jumpers, gloves, and hats. This fabric is non-biodegradable, unsustainable, and can take nearly 200 years for the fabric to disintegrate. Most Sustainable: Organic Hemp Hemp is naturally cooling and insulating and also protects from UV rays. This environmentally friendly fabric is easy to plant and is very resilient, and requires minimal water to grow. Hemp plantation also returns 60 to 70 per cent of nutrients to the soil. Most Sustainable: Organic Linen Linen is derived from a plant called flax. Much like hemp, this fabric to requires minimal water and little-to-no use of pesticides. The manufacturing process of linen is not water-intensive, so both the fabric and the natural plant require little usage of water. Most Sustainable: Tencel Tencel is a relatively new fabric that is made from wood pulp, and the properties of the fabric are similar to those of rayon. Since Tencel is derived from plant material, it is sustainable and completely biodegradable. This fabric only requires one-third of the water needed to manufacture rayon. Now that you are aware of just how toxic the manufacturing process that the fabrics undergo, it is about time you make a conscious and eco-friendly choice to get rid of the risks that these types of garments often pose.