Wearing clothing made with eco-friendly fabric is more than just an environmental choice, although the repercussions are huge and consequently turning rivers purple.
Conventional fabrics (not eco-friendly) are produced with harmful chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, flame retardants and petrochemicals that are endocrine disruptive, cause skin irritations or increase the growth of cancer cells. Even after laundering, some of those chemicals still remain in your clothing.
We put ourselves at risk everyday with the amount of toxins we are exposed to through our food, beauty products and clothing and we really don’t know how it is affecting us. Why keep risking it without knowing how it will affect us and our children? I can’t stress enough, buy less and buy better. Better quality and better fabrics will be worth the investment in the long run.
The manufacturing process for conventional fabrics vs. eco-friendly fabrics is listed below:
Nylon: Nylon fabric is manufactured with petroleum and treated with several chemicals such as formaldehyde to prevent shrinkage. Producing nylon creates a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide. Nylon is not biodegradable.
Polyester: Polyester is petroleum based that can be hard to recycle and biodegrade. It is made with carcinogenic chemicals that remain trapped in the fibers. Polyester acts as endocrine disruptor, which affects your reproductive organs or may lead to cancer.
Rayon: Rayon fibers are made from wood pulp, which is better than petroleum, but are leading to deforestation. Manufacturing rayon is a chemical intensive process that is harmful to humans and the environment.
Cotton: Even though cotton is a natural fabric and biodegradable, it is harvested with chemicals such as pesticides that have large detrimental effects. Producing cotton is water and energy intensive. It takes about 700 gallons of water to manufacture one t-shirt and 2,600 gallons to make a pair of jeans.
Manufacturing conventional fabrics is leading to climate change, polluted waters and unlivable towns. Fabrics that are produced in the United States are somewhat better because waste water and chemicals are either recycled or treated.
Sotela’s Eco-Friendly Fabrics
Tencel: Tencel is a natural man-made fiber that is extracted from raw material wood. Producing tencel is eco-friendly because it is a closed-loop process that recycles the chemicals used to create the fiber. It is biodegradable and anti-bacterial.
Modal: Modal is a semi-synthetic fiber made of pulp from beechwood trees. These trees rejuvenate on their own without planting making them very sustainable. Manufacturing modal is also closed loop, which conserves energy.
Due to the process, lack of cheap chemicals, and environmental concern, eco-friendly fabrics are more expensive to manufacture. For example, a yard of polyester can be as low as $.99 per yard while modal can average $5 per yard. The cost of producing a dress with eco-friendly fabric can be 5 times more, which doesn’t even consider labor costs if you are designing in the United States.
Can’t help but say, you get what you pay for.