Many options are available in order to reduce the impact on this precious resource:
Favour recycled cotton, which helps reduce using the large amounts of water required to grow cotton plants
Opt for organic cotton products that meet strict environmental and agricultural standards
Choose materials made using a closed-loop process that reuses water
Select clothing that's made using technology that minimizes water consumption during the dyeing, washing, and finishing stages
Reduce the amount of water and energy that's consumed when caring for your clothes
This popular natural fibre is also one that can be recycled!
Recycled cotton gives textile scraps a second life. By reusing reclaimed clothing, cotton scraps, and other post-industrial and post-consumer waste to compensate for the production of new materials, the amount of water, energy, and dye used is massively reduced.
Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing recycled cotton with conventional cotton
Farmed according to agricultural standards that prohibit the use of GMOs and minimize the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, organic cotton offers many advantages compared to conventional cotton:
- Improves the health and quality of the soil
- Improves the water quality and local biodiversity
- Significantly reduces the impact on natural resources, like water
Organic farming helps protect the planet and people's health by reducing their exposure to toxic chemical products that find their way into the air, water, and imbed themselves in the food chain.
Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing organic cotton with conventional cotton
TENCELTM Lyocell is a cellulosic fibre produced by the Austrian firm Lenzing. Biodegradable and compostable, this fabric is made from wood pulp that comes from certified and controlled sources. In fact, all the wood and pulp that's used is harvested in certified forests according to sustainable forest management standards. TENCELTM Lyocell is made using a closed-loop production process, meaning that the water and solvents are reused every time. This way, nothing is wasted, contaminated, or thrown away!
Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing TENCELTM Lyocell to conventional lyocell
TENCELTM Modal is also a fibre derived from wood pulp that's harvested at the hearts of forests that respect sustainable forest management standards. It's biodegradable and compostable.
Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing TENCELTM modal to conventional modal
TENCELTM Lyocell with REFIBRATM Technology
Relatively new in the textile market, TENCELTM Lyocell fibres are produced with innovative REFIBRATM technology, which involves upcycling cotton scraps in addition to wood pulp during the manufacturing process.
It should be noted that the wood pulp used to produce this material comes entirely from certified and strictly controlled sources. Additionally, TENCELTM Lyocell is made using a closed-loop production process, meaning that the water and solvents are reused every time. This way, nothing is wasted, contaminated, or thrown away!
Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing TENCELMC Lyocell to conventionnel lyocell
LENZINGTM ECOVEROTM Viscose
LENZINGTM ECOVEROTM Viscose fibres have an environmental impact that's significantly smaller than their generic equivalent. Made from wood pulp that comes from certified and controlled sources, they help to ensure the protection of ancient and endangered forests throughout the world.
Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing LENZINGTM ECOVEROTM Viscose to conventional viscose
2 These results were calculated with the help of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The Higg MSI analyzes the impact of materials over their entire life cycle (up until the materials are ready to be assembled into a product). The Higg MSI scores or the calculations of percentages provided here represent only one production step within the scope of the Higg MSI (for example, fibres or raw materials). They do not provide an overall view of the impacts involved in the production of materials. The SAC does not verify the results of users' custom materials. (Higg Materials Sustainability Index, 2020) https://msi.higg.org/page/msi-home