Monday, December 8, 2008

Eco Friendly Fabrics

We all hear about the benefits of organic, recyclable and eco friendly materials, but how much do we really know about eco friendly fabrics? Interested in learning more about them? Read below on organic cotton, bamboo fabric and fabric made with hemp.

Cotton Vs. Organic Cotton
Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics in the world. It has traditionally been grown with mass use of pesticides, chemicals, and water. The chemicals used in conventional cotton account for up to ½ of the worldwide pesticide use. Organic cotton is cotton that is grown without chemical pesticides. Fertilizers that are used include compost, manure, naturally derived mineral and plant fertilizers. Insect controls involve the use of beneficial insects and natural pesticides certified for organic crops. Organic cotton is also processed without oils, chemicals, and pesticides. Organic cotton feels softer, smells cleaner, and is less likely to trigger allergies. The sustainable farming practices used to grow organic cotton do not pollute groundwater, surface water, soil, or air.

Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. Bamboo grows quickly; it is biodegradable and is naturally regenerative. Bamboo is a fast growing plant, with shoots averaging 24 to 36 inches or more in a 24 hour period. Bamboo fabric is naturally anti-microbial, hypoallergenic and thermal regulating. It is also resistant to mold. After multiple washings, over 70% of the bacteria cultured on bamboo textiles are destroyed by the fiber. Bamboo breathes and wicks moisture away due to its porous nature. The fabric made from bamboo is extremely soft and comfy (I have bought bamboo jersey material and made some t-shirts to wear so I know this for sure).

Hemp, a cellulose fiber is one of the longest and strongest fibers and therefore it does not require any pesticide, insecticidal or herbicidal use. Hemp does not exhaust the soil and enables sustainability by leaving the soil in excellent condition for any succeeding crops. Hemp is an extremely durable fabric, and it has eight times the strength of cotton. Hemp outwears cotton and other natural fabrics. Hemp is also more insulating, absorbent and improves with washing and wearing. I personally have never used or felt anything made with hemp so I am not sure about the feel.

There are a lot of stores and brands that are starting to make eco friendly clothing and bags. It can be a little hard to find these types of items, but it is not impossible.

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