What Are the Different Types of Environmentally Friendly Fabrics?

Tiffany Manley

Environmentally friendly alternatives to a number of products continue to appear every day. Conscious consumers often search for goods that are as harmless to the environment as possible. The fabric industry has been regarded as a rather harmful industry when it comes to the environment, but more and more environmentally friendly fabrics have been made each year. Recycled and organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, silk, hemp, soy fibers and cashmere are all types of environmentally friendly fabrics.

Bamboo fabric.
Bamboo fabric.

Organic cotton is an environmentally friendly fabric that is relatively easy to come by and has the ability to be certified as fair trade. This means that farmers in poorer nations are given a fair price for the cotton crop. Organic cotton is farmed without the use of pesticides or other unsustainable farming methods. Even if it is produced with organic cotton, a garment might still have a large carbon footprint if it has been processed with harsh dyes or chemicals. Organic cotton garments can be certified organic and will be clearly labeled as such.

Bamboo fabric is known for being gentle on sensitive skin.
Bamboo fabric is known for being gentle on sensitive skin.

Recycled cotton is another type of environmentally friendly fabric. This material is made by taking cotton not used in the initial processing phase and forming it into fibers and then fabrics. Most, if not all, of the excess cotton is used in this fabric.

Although polyester is not a sustainable material, the fact that some companies are able to recycle used polyester into a new piece of fabric means that it could be considered an environmentally friendly fabric. The old polyester material that would otherwise be thrown away instead is used to make items such as blankets and shirts. Certification is available for this type of material.

Bamboo fabric is a favorite of many people because of its biodegradability, anti-bacterial properties and breathable quality. This fabric is used to make clothing, towels, sponges and many other products. Even after repeated use, bamboo products continue to display the various properties that make it a great environmentally friendly fabric.

Lyocell is a fabric made from wood pulp. The production of lyocell requires fewer resources than other fabrics. When choosing lyocell fabric, an individual should look for fabric that has been produced from sustainable wood and dyed using vegetable based dyes. Lyocell is also a wrinkle-free fabric.

A multitude of options exist for choosing environmentally friendly fabrics. Consumers interested in purchasing environmentally friendly fabrics should conduct research to ensure that they know what information to look for when choosing fabric. Some things will apply in most cases, such as the use of vegetable dyes, but other times, certifications will need to be determined based on the type of fabric.

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