All About Eco Friendly Fabrics

Bamboo is a member of the grass family, yes the grass family. It is classified according to its type, species and variety.  There are over 1200 types of bamboo world wide and identification is done according to its flower. Bamboo textiles are cloth, yarn, and clothing made out of bamboo fibers.  The process that converts the plant Bamboo into fabric is Pulping and finishing. During pulping, the bamboo is reduced to a pulp, much as wood is in the construction of paper. This process is accomplished at a pulping mill, by cooking the bamboo until it is reduced to raw fibers.  Finishing occurs once the bamboo fibers have been separated (or "pulped").  They are then able to be spun into yarn or thread and (if desired) dyed prior to being woven into fabric.  *The American Bamboo Society, 2005

Organic Cotton is clothing that is made from materials that are raised or grown without the use of chemicals in the form of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals.  Authentic organic fabrics and clothing can help the environment in a number of ways.

  • manufacture of chemicals is not required

  • chemical residues are not entered accidentally into the environment

  • Humans and animals are not exposed to chemicals

Eco-friendly regenerated (synthetic) fibers
They are synthetic in the sense that they’re not plucked from a stem, sheered off an animal or spun by an insect, but the actual category into which they fit is Regenerated Fibers: polymers. This class of material has multiple (poly) qualities – and are chemically transformed into fiber from a natural source like grain, seaweed or wood pulp.

Ingeo is manufactured from the protein found in corn. Looks and wears like silk or cotton depending on how it is woven; Up to 50% less fossil fuel is used in production - with up to 60% less green house gases being emitted. Biodegrades in months when exposed to high temperature and moisture, compared to up to 90 years for cotton. Can also be composted.

Lyocell is produced by breaking down the cellulose in wood pulp. It’s a strong, durable fabric that drapes like rayon and is often with other natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, and flax. The cotton blend is a stronger, more durable fabric; the wool blend, more absorbent. The U.S. government’s “Textile, Wool, and Fur Labeling Acts” of the U.S. Government, mandates that man-made and natural fibers must be identified by their generic names, however Lyocell is better known by its brand name Tencel®.

Modal is made with reconstituted cellulose from Beech trees. Its texture is similar to silk or cotton and it breathes and holds brilliant color like silk. Also stays soft through repeated washings.  This fabric offers high color brilliance; stays soft through repeated washings. 100% biodegradable, this bio-based fabric is 50% more water-absorbent than cotton, but it dyes just as well, holds color fast, and is resistant to fading. It seemingly can do no wrong.

Organic or Eco-Wool
In order for wool to be certified as organic in the United States, it must be produced in accordance with federal  standards for organic livestock production, which include : livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation forward must be organic;  The use of synthetic hormones, vaccinations and genetic engineering is prohibited; The use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external and on pastures) is prohibited; and producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices. Source

Organic Silk
There are no set standards for organic silk but one Chinese producer’s organic silk is made by feeding their silkworms “biologically dynamic” mulberries that are free from harmful substances.

Organic Linen
Traditionally, the name linen was used for fabric made from flax. Today linen might be made from cotton, hemp or it could be synthetic. In any case, organic linen is made from fibers grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.