Top 5 Sustainable Fabrics for Environmentally Friendly Clothing
Living a green life comes with benefits but it also involves some challenges. You learn to use shared resources by carpooling to work or you even bike for the most eco-friendly mode of transportation. You reduce your household’s energy usage by buying smart appliances that conserve electricity and you research the possibility of tapping into a solar power network. And yet, many of us forget about one of the worst offenders in terms of environmental pollution: clothing. In any case, how often do you consider investing in sustainable fabrics to reduce your environmental impact?
Traditional textile production wastes a lot of the Earth’s resources, turning them into a terrible pollution. According to the World Bank, the textile industry contributes about 20 percent of the industrial pollution affecting our land and waters. So what should we do? Finding new methods to create sustainable fabrics is one of the most promising solution. We need more materials that we can produce without large amounts of water and toxins.
For those seeking for balance between conscious consumption and fashion interests, these sustainable fabrics matter a lot. Being more aware of the ecological alternatives out there can lead people to more sustainable choices. Moreover, estimations show we discard about 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. Producing this sheer volume of fabrics on an annual basis poses a threat for the planet, both environmentally and economically.
Several sustainable fabrics – such as organic cotton or hemp – have already made a name for themselves in the green clothing production. But if you’re also looking to back up various small businesses trying to make a better world with their sustainable fabrics, here are some of our favorites.
1. Organic Textile Company – Fabric from Organic Cotton
As the name implies, Organic Textile Company works with a wide range of organic materials. Among others, they also create clothing out of organic cotton – fertilizer- and chemical pesticide-free. Garments made of organic cotton use less water in the production phase than traditional cotton fabrics. At the same time, they are often softer and more comfortable for the wearer. With organic cotton, your body is not absorbing all the nasty chemicals.
2. S.Cafe – Fabric from Coffee Grinds
After 4 years for R&D and hard work, S.Café has developed a green technology for creating sustainable fabrics. The small-tier company uses coffee grinds to make textiles. Thanks to the coffee’s inherent ability to block odors, the resulting clothes are highly appreciated by athletes and active people. As demand for S.Café products increases, the brand partners with coffee shops – including Starbucks and 7-11 – to collect their discarded coffee grounds. What an easy way to get one’s hands on raw material!
S.Café applies the “trash to cash” principle as it diverts coffee grinds and plastic bottles from landfills. while we continue to collect used coffee ground and plastic bottles from landfills by giving it another life. The S.Café fabrics have become quite popular, with major brands like North Face, Timberland, and Puma already using it. Using coffee grinds to produce fabrics requires less energy, making it an ideal “earth-friendly” alternative.
3. Piñatex – Fabric from Food Scraps
One of the most amazing concepts on our list, this brand makes outfits out of coffee, pineapples, and coffee. Based in the Philippines, Carmen Hijosa is the CEO of a company that produces amazing plant-based leather marketed under the name of Piñatex. The brand called Ananas Anam has come up with a creative and sustainable textile made from pineapple leaves. After seven years of hard work, Piñatex has evolved in a natural textile that makes use of waste plant fibers. By using advanced technologies, Piñatex creates a sustainable, high-performance, 100% natural fabric.
Ananas Anam uses the pineapple leather to make shoes, clothes, and accessories, such as handbags and cute backpacks. The company takes sustainability a step further by providing jobs and income for local farmers. And Piñatex fibers don’t require extra water resources, land, or fertilizers. They’re the mere by-product of pineapple cultures. Piñatex uses a patented-pending technology to copyright both the process and the finished leathery material.
4. Evrnu – Fabric from Recycled Cotton Clothes
The market for recycled clothes is ever-growing, and Evrnu is one important player. Thanks to an innovative new technology, this sustainable brand recycles cotton fabric waste and produces prime, reusable fiber. The U.S. alone discards about 12 million tons of clothing waste each year. However, Evrnu plans to change that by creating apparel for people who love the planet and fashion as well.
At first, the Evrnu team relied on an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to support their technology at a larger scale. The company takes fabric waste, converts it into liquids, and then transforms it into new fibers that molds on the necessary designing characteristics. In addition, this eco-friendly fiber does everything better. The production requires 98 percent less water than traditional cotton fiber and 90 percent less CO2 emissions than polyester production.
ALSO READ: [10 Simple Ways of Going Green in a Sustainable Way]
5. Thread International – Fabric from Plastic Bottles
Lastly, we’re bringing you some good news on how to make plastic bottles slightly less awful. When cleaned and broken down, plastic bottles can become polyester and other synthetic fabrics. Moreover, polyester is limitlessly recyclable, which means infinite raw material for new fibers. The only eco problem with recycling polyesters is that they leave harmful microbeads behind.
One of the leading competitors in this emerging industry is Thread International, a fiber mill which converts bottles into yarn over in Haiti. Every yard of the company’s “Thread Ground to Good” fabric goes through intensive monitoring between the moment bottle collection and the fiber production. In addition, Thread International’s goal is to make sure it is creating the most sustainable fabrics on the planet.
At the end of the day, the Thread Ground to Good fabric packs quite an environmental punch. Here are some of the stats regarding the impact of a single T-shirt made with Thread International fabric:
- It provides 3,845 income opportunities to locals in Haiti.
- It also supports 233 full and part-time jobs from collection to manufacturing.
- A single T-shirt removes 2.25 plastic bottles from the streets of Haiti.
- A Thread International shirt uses 50 percent less water compared to a cotton T-shirt. Plenty of water to enjoy a 35-minute shower.
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