While it was without a doubt the fabric of the 19th and 20th centuries, the use of conventional cotton to produce clothing is very likely to decrease over the next decades. Businesses and Consumers are beginning to realise that there is an urgent need for more sustainable alternatives. To be adopted on a large scale, the textile of the future must be sustainable and economical: here are some of the best alternatives to cotton.
3 reasons why cotton is damaging the environment
There are many reasons why the cotton conventionally used in the textile industry is harming the environment, but three of them seem to be prevalent: the use of pesticides and fertilizers, the use of cultivable land (cotton takes up to 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land), and the need for additional watering (up to 10,000 litres of water per kilo of cotton).
It is not a surprise that other textiles are now increasingly used. Organic cotton is a step forward towards a more sustainable textile, preventing the use of synthetic and toxic pesticides, but it still requires a lot of water and room to grow. The main alternatives today are Polyester, Hemp, Lyocell, and - of course - Bamboo.
Polyester is a synthetic fibre requiring hardly any water to be produced, but the production process requires a lot of energy and sometimes petroleum-based components. Firms are currently trying to find ways to use recycled fabric in the process.
Hemp has been used for centuries, if not longer, to produce clothing. It is usually stronger than cotton, and it requires less water and less surface, but a lot of energy is necessary in the transformation process.
Lyocell is a cellulose made from wood (usually Eucalyptus). The wood grows on a limited amount of land, and it does not require much watering, pesticides and insecticides. Also, the non-toxic solvent is re-used indefinitely in a closed-loop manufacturing process. However, it is a man-made fibre and the harvest demands a lot of energy and manpower.
Bamboo is quite like Lyocell, with the difference that it is made from grass (yes, Bamboo is grass) and the growth of the plant is achieved without any watering, pesticides, or insecticides. It also limits soil erosion and improves the fertility of the soil. In addition, the solvent needed is non-toxic and used in a closed-loop process.
After comparing all these elements, we decided that Bamboo was by far the most sustainable textile available to help create a better world. We strongly believe that the quality of the final products, and the Eco-Friendly process will foster a new trend on the market.