Organic Cotton: It’s cropping up everywhere. Conventionally grown cotton uses a huge amount of pesticides and is one of the most chemical-laden crops in the world. Supporting the organic cotton industry a much needed green step for your own health and for a economy and a method of agriculture that’s good for the planet.”
However if the organic cotton you purchase isn’t also assured to be fair trade, or is processed using conventional dyes, or treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde to keep it from wrinkling on its trip overseas, the garment leave a large footprint on the earth.
Art’sMagic colourful garments are coloured using natural or vegetable-based dyes and bear the label indicating the product is certified organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly.
Silk: Silk is inherently natural because it’s made by silk worms, not chemical-based synthetic processing. But there’s a drawback: vegans don’t wear silk because to get at the silk fibres, the silk worms are thrown in a vat of boiling water. Find the new generation of the fabric: peace silk or vegan silk (it’s always clearly labeled). This kind of silk is made from the worm casings gathered only after the moths have emerged and moved on. Also try looking for silk that’s been dyed naturally and made as close to home as possible.
Bamboo: Bamboo is easy to grow without pesticides and is quick to replenish itself. Bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial and repels odour. It’s when the processing starts that it potentially loses its eco status: “Bamboo can be beautiful, and is a very soft fabric, but there’s a chemical component to the manufacture that’s toxic.
Polyester: Regular polyester is made from petroleum, which is a byproduct of processing oil, and far from eco-friendly. While it still requires heavy processing, companies are now finding ways to create polyester out of recycled plastic bottles or even recycled polyester fabric. Polyester is likely greenest when it’s vintage: second-life boutiques.
Lyocell: This is the generic name for the Tencel brand. It’s made from wood pulp, so it’s both biodegradable and recyclable. Producing this fabric involves less emissions, energy, and water usage than other more conventional fabrics, and it doesn’t get bleached, either. Plus it’s naturally wrinkle-free. Not all lyocell fabric is made from sustainable wood, check labels carefully, always try to find a products that have been dyed with a low-chemical or vegetable colourant.
Soy Fabrics: Soy fabric is made from the byproducts of soy oil processing and is a good option for underwear and bras because its long fibres make it soft and silky. Always check that your soy fabric is certified organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly. Also check you aren’t getting a less-eco “soy blend” that includes polyester and inorganic cotton in the mix.
Hemp: Hemp has been touted as the ultimate eco-friendly fabric because it requires no chemicals to grow. It’s also extremely versatile, and can be used to create strong, sturdy fabrics – such as rope – or soft, delicate items. Hemp is unfortunately not very well regulated, which means there’s little monitoring of the chemicals the crop may have come in contact with or where it was grown.
Cashmere: As anyone who has ever caressed a cashmere cardigan knows, the fabric is luxurious. The fibre comes from combing out the under-hairs of Kashmir goats, a breed native to the Himalayas but now raised worldwide. Perhaps best of all from en eco-perspective, it’s also long-lasting. However, cheap cashmere has become popular but to keep its price down, has probably been treated with chemicals and dyed with carcinogenic dyes, so be wary of such inter. It may also be blended with other fibres, such as polyester. A truly green cashmere garment is one of the most eco-friendly wardrobe items.
Linen: True linen is made from flax, a crop that requires very little pest-controlling chemicals. It’s also best when it’s a little wrinkly. Look for linen in natural shades, or dyed with natural dyes. Try to purchase linen that’s been made by an eco-certified clothing or fabric company. Watch out for linen blends or cheap, chemical treated garments.
Alpaca: Alpaca sheep don’t require insecticides to be injected into their fleece, are fairly self-sufficient, don’t need to be treated with antibiotics, and don’t eat very much. Alpaca wool is also long lasting, which may help make up for the fact that the alpaca product you buy will likely be imported.
Ingeo: This is a new fabric made from fermented plant sugars, usually derived from corn. This is actually one of its pitfalls; since conventionally grown corn leaves a particularly large eco-unfriendly footprint via pesticides, water use, and land hogging. But making Ingeo requires almost half as much energy as it does to make cotton, even organic cotton, which gives it some advantages.