When you shop for clothes, do you ever check if they are made from eco-friendly fabrics? It makes sense really. If you recycle, buy organic and are careful about how much energy you use at home, the next logical step is to buy clothes and other items like linens, towels and soft furnishings from eco-friendly fabrics. The problem at the moment is that there’s no real kind of labeling regime that identifies environmentally friendly fabrics and those items labeled as being made from organic materials always have a heftier price tag. If you know what environmentally-friendly fibers to look out for you can avoid those premium prices and still wear and use eco-friendly clothes. Here are 15 eco-friendly fabrics.
Hemp is one of the eco-friendly fabrics which has a multitude of uses. It has been used extensively throughout human history, having been used to make clothing and bags. Some of the first paper in the world was made from hemp, and it is especially useful in rural areas to make rope and other cords.
Made from vegetable fiber and very similar to hemp, jute is seen as the second most useful vegetable fiber, after cotton. It is often used to make carpets, rugs, sacks and also as a backing material for linoleum.
Ingeo is an eco-friendly fabric which is a brand name for a man-made fiber derived from corn. It is often used as an environmentally-friendly material for packaging, and can be treated to be clear, opaque, rigid or very flexible.
Known as muslin is the US, calico is unbleached cotton. The lack of processing into other cotton based materials is what makes it one of the environmentally friendly fabrics. It can be used to make bedding material, as well as durable bags and clothing.
5. Organic Cotton
Cotton is one of the most useful fabrics in the world, but organic cotton combines all of the excellent and multiple-use qualities of cotton with that of being environmentally-friendly!
6. Recycled Polyester
Polyester is widely used in packaging, especially in the making of drinks bottles. Recycled polyester has a much-reduced impact on the environment but not enough companies are yet using this important material.
Bamboo has been used for centuries in medicine, construction, textiles and to make paper. Whole buildings in Asia have been made from bamboo but now the West is catching on and bamboo is being touted as one of the more eco-friendly fibers available. You can find towels made of bamboo and also toilet paper companies having started adding it to their loo rolls.
Also known as lyocell, tencel is made from wood pulp. Although it is more expensive than other environmentally friendly fabrics such as cotton, its fibers are often used to make denim clothing, conveyor belts, men’s shirts and also in medical practices.
Ramie is an eco-friendly fabric which is incredibly durable and tough. However, despite these useful qualities, it is rarely used in clothing due to the cost involved (it has to be treated various times). It has, however, been used to make bioplastics and in sewing threads and fishing nets, areas where its durability is cherished.
10. Organic Wool
If you want to think about your impact on the environment, looking at organic textiles such as wool can help ease your green conscience. The way that organic wool has been produced means that it is not as harmful to the environment, and can still be used in clothing just as regular wool!
11. Organic Linen
Organic materials help you to reduce your environmental impact. Linen plants can be organically grown without pesticides, before their fibers are removed and made into fabric. Linen is used widely for clothing and bedding materials, as well as sewing thread and tablecloths.
12. Nettle Fiber
Nettle fiber is being used by some companies to make eco-friendly clothing. There’s no need to be concerned about the nettle stings as the fibers are treated before being used for any human consumption!
13. Spider Web Fabric
If you are looking for eco-friendly fabrics which will impress your friends, spider’s webs are the way to go! Individual threads are built together to make a textile like silk.
14. Soy Silk
Traditional silk is not always sourced in eco-friendly ways, but soy silk is a good alternative if you do not fancy wearing spider web fabrics. It can be used in the same way as regular silk, but without the guilt of being irresponsibly sourced.
15. FORTREL EcoSpun
Made from recycled plastic containers, FORTREL EcoSpun is used in packaging while still being an eco-friendly fabric.
I think the whole issue of eco-friendly fabrics is fascinating and I look forward to seeing more clothing options available in some of these materials. If we demand more environmentally friendly textiles, the availability will increase and the prices come down. Are you fussy about the origin of your clothes?