Sustainable Fibres: Why Are They Better? Man-made Fibres
Which are the most popular sustainable MAN-MADE FIBRES?
RECYCLED POLYESTER. Polyester is the most used fibre in the apparel sector, accounting for almost 50% of the global fibre production. This is quite alarming if we consider that 350,000 tonnes of clothing go to landfill every year in the UK alone, of which 55-65% are made of polyester, a non biodegradable material. For this reason it is rather important to think of possible alternatives of such material, for example recycled polyester. Recycled polyester (rPET) yarn has the same aesthetic and functional performances as conventional polyester and despite this, in 2017 only 7% of all polyester used was recycled. Additionally, using rPET reduces its energy consumption by 30-50% compared to conventional polyester. Finally, if natural fabric options are not available, consumers and companies should select 100% polyester fabrics instead of poly-blend (polyester and cotton, or polyester and wool) due to related challenges in the recycling process.
RECYCLED NYLON. Being nylon an oil based material, sadly, it plays a fundamental role in the pollution of the planet. For this reason, using recycled nylon is always the best alternative to conventional nylon. Econyl is a regenerated nylon made from waste, otherwise polluting the Earth, such as fishing nets, fabric scraps and carpets. It is infinitely recyclable and upholds the same characteristics. For every 10,000 tons of econyl raw material, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved and 65,100 tonnes of CO2 eq. emissions are avoided. In fact, it reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 90% compared with the material made from oil.
SUSTAINABLE VISCOSE. Viscose currently is the third most used textile fibre globally. Annually, 150 million trees are logged to produce this fibre, which is equal to 4,800 football pitches. To make the situation worse, 30% of viscose used in fashion is sourced from endangered or ancient forests, which impact negatively on climate change if keeping in consideration the CO2 retention that this forests provide. In order to minimize this effect, it would be wise to select sustainable options, such as Lenzing Tencel lyocell (EU Ecolabel certified), Lenzing EcoVero (50% less emissions and energy used compared to normal production, almost all chemicals and recovered and reused, and bleaching is 100% chlorine free), Orange Fiber (cellulosic fibre made from waste citrus juice by-product), SeaCell (made from harvesting seaweed using the lyocell process), Re:newcell (closes the loop by transforming cellulosic waste into pure circular pulp), and Evrnu (transform discarded textile waste into new fibres).
Sources: SupplyCompass; Econyl