Words: Aleksandra Medina
6 Eco-Materials You Should Know Now #Savant
Cotton is one of the most polluting agricultural crops, requiring around 20,000 liters of water to produce just one kilogram of the product. Additionally, it uses up 24% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of the world’s pesticides. Some of these chemicals are especially harmful to humans, who work with it, wildlife, that surrounds it, and the soil, surrounding groundwater and rivers.
On the other hand, the global warming potential of organic cotton is 46% less than the one for conventional cotton. Considering that most of our closet comprises of at least some cotton, it is incredibly impactful to switch to organic cotton. Without any big changes, you will help protect the environment a great deal by maintaining soil fertility, preserving biodiversity and conserving water.
Piñatex is an “innovative, natural and sustainable non-woven” textile made from left-over waste pineapple leaves fibers. Piñatex is made from otherwise wasted pineapple leaves left over from the huge pineapple industry in developing countries. This results in additional income for farmers and less waste from the already existing pineapple industry. No extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce this fabric. But most importantly – no pineapples are harmed in the making of Piñatex!
Recycled polyester is the environment-friendly version of virgin polyester. While virgin polyester’s or, simply, polyester’s production requires huge quantities of water, chemicals and fossil fuels, recycled polyester uses PET as its raw material. The collected used PET bottles are sterilized and crushed into small chips, which are heated to form strings of yearn, which eventually are turned into polyester fabric. While the outcome is still polyester, this process creates the same material without the pesticides and chemicals, plus empties our landfills. Additionally, it helps us avoid toxic by-products, additional water and air pollution and hurting the worker’s health.
Why would you care about ECONYL? Currently for every 1 kilogram of plankton, there are 6 kilograms of plastic in our seas and oceans. Furthermore, an estimated 640,000 tons of fishing gear has been left abandoned in our seas. So, as a creative solution to this huge problem, ECONYL is a textile created by ‘rescued’ fishing nets found abandoned in our waters and other nylon waste. This high-quality raw material is used to create new products, such as socks, swimwear, underwear and carpets. For every 10,000 tons of ECONYL yarn, 11,000 tons of waste is eliminated, 70,000 barrels of oil are saved and 41,000 tons of CO2 emissions are avoided.
Bionic yarn – a sustainable fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. By combining plastic bottle waste with other textiles, the result is a material that does not sacrifice form nor function. While it all began with collecting plastic bottles from the streets, the company that created BIONIC yarn is now starting to collect plastic waste from our oceans as well.
Tencel is a fiber of botanic origin, extracted from raw wood cellulose, also known as lyocell. The production itself, just like the textile, is eco-friendly, as it is based on a closed loop system of production, where the solvent used is recycled with a recovery rate of 99.5%, making it one of the most environmentally friendly regenerated fabrics. The remaining emissions are decomposed in biological purification plants. The fiber makes use of photosynthesis, so naturally, the more of the textile you have, the more oxygen has been produced. Additionally, tencel is “more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen”. Best reason to turn to tencel of all – because of the nature of the material, the processing never requires bleach. Read more here.