How we care for our clothes has an enormous impact on the environment. From water and pesticide pollution to soil degradation, it’s no wonder there is a renewed focus on going green.
Understanding what makes a fabric sustainable is the first step towards making a change. Here are some of the most significant benefits that eco-friendly materials have:
Reduces Carbon Footprint
Whether you’re concerned about climate change or want to look good, there are many options for sustainable fashion. Many companies offer environmentally friendly fabrics that use organic and chemical-free farming methods, recycled materials, circular manufacturing processes, and sustainable prospects for end-of-life disposal.
Choosing suitable fabrics can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Generally, natural and organic materials like cotton and linen are more sustainable than synthetics such as polyester, nylon, and Tencel, which use large amounts of energy during production.
Your carbon footprint includes all the greenhouse gases you emit throughout your life, including methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. Your diet and how much you travel also contribute to your footprint.
For example, flying for business or pleasure is responsible for the most significant portion of your footprint, especially if you fly nonstop or first class. You can minimize your emissions by driving for shorter trips or booking a flight with fewer stops. Similarly, owners of fabric structures experience monthly savings on lighting, heating, and cooling costs while producing zero light pollution.
Reduces Water Pollution
One of the biggest problems with textile production is that it produces a lot of water pollution. This is because water in the textile industry is contaminated with different chemicals and auxiliaries used during the process. This water is then released into the environment, negatively impacting fauna and flora. It also causes many diseases when it comes into contact with human beings.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment. One thing is to purchase eco-friendly fabrics. Another is to wash your clothes less. This is so that less wastewater may be produced and less energy can be used to clean your garments.
Another way to help is by using organic cotton or modal. This is because they use fewer chemicals than standard cotton. Moreover, they are better for the soil and more sustainable than polyester made from crude oil.
Fabric choice significantly impacts a garment’s sustainability, directly impacting raw material sourcing (such as cotton farming), fabric processing, and end-of-life prospects. Many fabrics sourced from non-sustainable fibers can have negative environmental implications, especially if they require much bleaching or dyeing with toxic chemicals.
When looking for sustainable fabric, always choose organic or GOTS-certified cotton. This indicates the cotton was grown using sustainable farming methods and without pesticides, which has a much lower ecological footprint than conventional cotton. Additionally, look for reclaimed or recycled cotton fabric, which reduces waste and uses less water.
The other most popular environmentally friendly fabric is bamboo viscose. This fabric is a biodegradable plant-based textile requiring less water and energy than other natural fibers. It also is much more durable than cotton and silk, meaning you can wear it longer and wash it fewer times. Another great option is ramie, a cellulose-based fabric produced without chemicals or bleaching. It’s also eight times more durable than wool and has a similar texture to cotton.
Reduces Noise Pollution
Noise pollution can be annoying, distracting, and even dangerous in our everyday lives. From someone chatting in the hallway outside your cubicle to the hum of traffic on the street, unwanted noise surrounds us.
Eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics produce minimal waste during production, require no harsh chemicals, and are better for animal welfare than synthetic options. Many of these fabrics are also natural, which is good for the planet!
Choosing eco-friendly fabrics like cotton, hemp, linen, and wool can help reduce the amount of microfibers released into waterways each time they’re washed. These tiny fibers are responsible for ocean plastic pollution. The best way to reduce this problem is by buying and washing your clothes less often.
Reduces Soil Degradation
Soil degradation occurs when natural and anthropogenic processes cause a decline in soil’s physical, biological, and ecological components. It can negatively impact human health, economic development, and environmental conservation. It is often set in motion by land mismanagement and extractive farming. It feeds on itself, leading to accelerated erosion, depletion of the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool, loss in biodiversity, elemental imbalance, acidification, and salinization, among other factors.
The fashion industry contributes 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water resources, pollutes rivers and streams, and launders synthetic fabrics that discharge more than 14 million microplastic fibers into the ocean per laundry load. Choosing eco-friendly fabrics from recycled materials, organic cotton, and bamboo avoids these damaging effects.
People are increasingly seeking brands that care about the environment. Most customers say they would stop buying from a company that doesn’t take steps to reduce its environmental impact. Using eco-friendly fabrics shows businesses are committed to sustainability, increasing brand loyalty and customer retention.