Sustainability in fashion industry

Sustainability in fashion industry

It is no longer a secret that nowadays fast fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the environment. In fact, this industry is the second largest polluter in the world, right after the oil industry, since it is a major water consumer and producer of toxic wastewaters which are most of the times directly dumped into the rivers. Furthermore, every time we wash our clothes made of synthetic garment, e.g. polyester and nylon, thousands of individual microfibers are released into the water, making their way into our oceans, through aquatic organisms eaten by fish and right back into our food chain.

Probably one of the biggest problems with fast fashion especially is its disposability. By buying from big fast fashion players we help creating more and more textile waste. It is known from many researches that only 15% of the clothes people throw away each year is recycled or donated. The other 85% go directly to the landfill or is incinerated.

For all of these and many more reasons it is incredibly important to take a look on every new piece of fashion before buying it. This also leads us to the final question: Which kind of fabric is actually sustainable?

Fabrics used in sustainable fashion, especially for Curcuma Clothing

Fabrics causing the least environmental impact are any kind of organic and natural fibers that do not require chemicals to be produced, such as certified organic cotton and Tencel™, which are both used for Curcuma Clothing. In comparison to conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown in mixed culture and the use of pesticides and genetic engineering is strictly forbidden.

Another benefit of certified organic cotton is the transparency when it comes to its production – third­-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production, all cotton sold as organic must meet strict federal regulations covering how the cotton is grown. Well-known verifiers are for example Fair Wear Foundation and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). The fabric used for Curcuma is approved by both organisations.

Everyone is familiar with cotton, but what the heck is Tencel™?

Tencel™ is known by most of us as lyocell, Tencel™ is simply a brand name of a type of lyocell. Both are wood-based cellulose fibers made from wood pulp. Tencel™ however, is made from wood pulp and Lyocell is instead made from bamboo pulp.

Lyocell is produced using a closed loop system which has minimal impact on the environment and maintains economical use of energy and water. This is the same process as Tencel however as a base product bamboo plants require far less water to grow than other trees, making it a more sustainable fabric. In this process, loose fibers are recycled back into the material, meaning it’s a very low waste method of creating fabric. This is also the reason why it’s sometimes referred to as so-called ‘Frankenstein’-fabric.

Part of Tencel™’s appeal lies in its relatively shallow environmental footprint. The manufacturing of the fabric occurs in a ‘closed loop’ system with low emissions and minimal waste, where nearly all the chemicals and solvents used to process Tencel™ from wood pulp to finished product are reclaimed. Tencel™ production requires less water than cotton production—industrially farmed cotton can use up to 20 times more water. It also requires less land; a half acre of forestland otherwise unsuitable for farming can produce enough eucalyptus trees without the need for pesticide or irrigation, to produce a ton of material. It’s a process that comes pretty close to completely ‘green.’

Last but not least, wearing clothes made out of Tencel™ also comes along with other advantages. Typically, it tends to be a little softer than cotton because it has a very smooth surface up close. This not only feels good, but also makes it very non-irritating even to sensitive skin. Furthermore, it is extremely breathable which makes it working well in a wide variety of climates.

However, at the end, there are just small differences between Tencel™, Lyocell and certified organic cotton – you can feel good about wearing a garment made from either fabric!

If you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

 

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Sources

https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/old-environmental-impacts

https://www.spiegel.de/stil/slow-fashion-das-macht-nachhaltige-mode-aus-a-1258459.html

https://www.greenpeace.org/austria/Global/austria/marktcheck/uploads/media/final_handbuch_ecofashion_umweltberatung.pdf

https://news.orvis.com/products-we-love/tencel-vs-cotton-story-nurture-nature

https://organiccottonplus.com/pages/learning-center