How can fabric be sustainable, and why is it so important?
- Posted on
- By Josephine Walbank
- Posted in eco-consciousness, ecofriendly, fabric, recycle, reduce, reuse, sustainable
There’s a significant difference between sustainable fabrics and unsustainable ones. Sustainable fabrics can be made from recycled fibres or green products (such as hemp or pineapple faux leather, or the more common materials of wool and linen). Do you want to buy sustainable? Find out where and how sustainably the materials were grown or sourced.
Achieving a more eco-conscious lifestyle is fast becoming one of the most common personal goals held by Europeans.
For so many of us, the aim to reduce our carbon footprint and, personally, do more to protect the planet is being placed higher and higher up on our priority list.
But, when it comes to working towards that goal, the key question is - where should we start?
There’s so many aspects of sustainability. You could broach it from a number of different angles, including your choices of transport, your plastic usage, your carbon footprint, and the way in which you recycle.
Then, in addition, you can apply practices like these to almost any element of our lives. Although these are typically kept within the parameters of spheres such as food waste and car fumes, there is no reason why we should stop there.
Shopping for sustainable textiles
Take the textiles that we use as a great example of this. Have you ever considered how sustainable a piece of fabric is, before you purchase it? Often, we take products like these for granted. Or, we assume that - because they don’t directly pollute (as cars or plastics do) - they’re inherently natural.
However, there’s a lot of key points to consider in a seemingly simple textile. There’s a significant difference between sustainable fabrics and unsustainable ones.
In this blog post, we’ll be outlining the key points to consider in the purchase of a new piece of fabric, and breaking down what it means to classify a piece of fabric as sustainable. That way, with this information to hand, you can make far more intuitive and eco-conscious choices when you shop for clothes, furnishings, and other fabric products.
Our sustainability checklist for fabrics
When you are debating whether or not to purchase a new fabric-based item, be sure to take into account the following points.
There are a wide range of different sustainable materials that are currently on the market. Each of these boast different benefits and eco-conscious properties.
For example, some fabrics use recycled fibres, others use green products (such as hemp or pineapple faux leather, or the more common materials of wool and linen). Check what materials are going into the fabric, and avoid synthetic, non-biodegradable or plastic-based fabrics where possible.
According to The Conscious Club, around 3,000 litres of water is required to produce a single cotton shirt. This excessive water consumption is responsible for a significant environmental strain.
Research from The Conscious Club has also shown that ‘many of the key cotton-producing countries are under high water stress, including China, India, the US, Pakistan, and Turkey. In China, 80% to 90% of fabric, yarn, and plastic-based fibers are made in water-scarce or water-stressed regions.’
So, before you purchase a garment or fabric item, find out where and how sustainably it was grown.
Is it organic?
Organic textiles are those which are grown using organic production methods - i.e. without the use of genetic modification, or synthetic pesticides. As a result, these fabrics are far less damaging to the environment.
So, look out for brands which adhere to organic production methods.
Are the workers paid a fair wage?
According to Fashion Checker, 93% of the fashion and textile companies that they surveyed were not paying their workforce enough to constitute a living wage.
If the fabric is coming from another country, it’s important to check whether the business is paying these employees a fair wage.
If the company uses a transparent production process, this will be easy to find out. They may also be affiliated with other charities and organisations - such as Fairtrade - who ensure this ethical practice.
Alternatively, if this information is not available, you can find out whether the company is adhering to these ethical guidelines by searching for the company on online organisations such as Fashion Checker.
At Mini beee, we pride ourselves on using as much sustainable fabrics as possible across our entire product range. Each of our fabrics are wholly eco-conscious - a principle which is in line with every other component used in our furnishings.
For our polyether cushion filling, we use a recycled materials. Furthermore, through the use of our return scheme, this material also has the potential to be reused once more for floor coverings.
You can find out more about our completely eco-friendly production process by having a read of our blog post 5 key factors which make our production process sustainable, or by checking out our full product range on the Mini beee online shop.
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