Good experience Lifestyle

What Does Sustainable Fabric Mean?

Written by Jimmy Rustling

The bad news is that the fashion and textile industries are one of the biggest carbon footprint producers and polluters out there.

The good news is that today we have more sustainable fabric options and can contribute to reducing waste, pollution, and other harmful environmental effects. 

It’s not that easy to say which fabric is the most sustainable because they have different purposes, pros, and cons. But what we can do is share the general guidelines about what sustainable fabric means and how it is the best choice for all of us! 

So let’s talk about what the term “sustainable fabrics” means.

Fewer chemicals

The traditional fabric production process uses a lot of harmful chemicals. 

Most materials are treated and processed with them, and you can find toxic chemicals even in natural fibers when mass-produced.

These same chemicals end up in the waterways and our nature, polluting it and harming the animals. 

Chemicals also pose a risk to the factory workers and the consumer as the dyes and products to achieve waterproof, softer, odor-free, and other types of materials can cause allergies and other health issues. 

Sustainable fabric production might not be entirely chemical-free, but it uses much fewer toxic substances and chooses alternatives when possible.

Less waste

Anything we make cases waste, including fabrics and clothes. The waste from fashion is massive and adds up to billions of pounds a year. A lot of it comes from cutoffs from the production process.

Many sustainable fabrics are made using production techniques that minimize waste. Such companies also may use the fabric surplus to create products instead of discarding unused textiles.

Less water

Water is a precious resource, and vast amounts of it are used to produce most traditional fabrics. They are washed many times to achieve the desired shrinkage or texture. 

Sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics are made using less water by employing different production techniques.

No harm to the animals

Fabrics such as wool are made from animal products, but unless they’re sustainable, the chances are that the animals are not treated well. 

Choosing sustainable and non-mass-produced materials ensures animals are not hurt, well-fed, have space to move, and are otherwise cared for.

And while the best choice is vegan fabrics, we need to be careful as many synthetic fibers create their own problems.

Reusable, recyclable, reclaimed

These words are like a mantra for sustainable fashion. By choosing sustainable fabrics, you ensure that the material can be shredded into pieces and used for production again. 

Sustainable textiles also may be made of recycled plastic bottles and other plastic waste. 

And “reclaimed fabric” means that your clothes are made from unused cutoff fabrics and production leftovers. 

Biodegradable

Once the garment reaches its end of life, it goes to a landfill. Sustainable fabrics are often biodegradable, which means they break down and don’t add to the pile.

These are undyed, unblended, pure, and natural or organic materials that 

get decomposed by bacteria and other living organisms back into the earth.

Durable

The sustainable fabric also means it’s durable and will last you a very long time instead of going into the landfill after a few wears. These clothes keep their shape for years and don’t wear out. 

You don’t need to replace them as often when it last longer, reducing waste and energy use for production.

Find brands that fit in this ethic code, like Fresh Clean Tees. Check their page here: https://freshcleantees.com/collections/sustainable-eco-friendly-t-shirts  

Sustainable fabrics 

We’ve compiled a list of the most common sustainable fabrics to look for when shopping for new clothes. 

  • Organic cotton 
  • Certified wool
  • Oeko-tex certified linen
  • Organic linen
  • Recycled polyester
  • Alpaca wool
  • Hemp
  • Recycled Cotton
  • Organic Hemp
  • Tencel
  • Piñatex
  • Organic rayon 
  • Recycled PET (Polyester)
  • Recycled denim

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.