Have you ever heard of pineapple leather, or a fabric made from Seaweed? Or maybe silk-like material made from oranges? Yes, this might sound unbelievable, but these do exist.
It is so amazing to see how many innovative and sustainable fabric options are available nowadays. Through this blog post, we would like to share with you 9 amazing sustainable, eco-friendly, and / or innovative fabrics and materials which hopefully you will be able to find more and more of as the whole textile industry is moving towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly direction. This post won’t go into very in-depth details about each fabric, we would rather want to provide you with some general & basic knowledge about each of them so this can be an interesting “light read” for an evening. However, we will include useful links for additional sources for you to read if you wish to know more about each fabric.
Let’s start our list with some of the most sustainable fabrics that became more popular and widely available in the past couple of years:
Photo Credit: Linen & Stripes
Of course, we have to start our list with our favourite fabric, linen. We have talked about how amazing and eco-friendly linen is many-many times, so we are not going to repeat ourselves extensively but here are a couple of things why linen is so incredible;
- It’s natural, plant-based and vegan
- Flax plant requires less water and no pesticides or fertilisers
- Undyed linen is fully biodegradable
- Longevity: strong, durable, gets softer with time
If you want to learn more about linen you should check out our other blog posts like 10 Reasons Why You Should Choose Linen For Your Home or How to take care of your linen fabric
2. Tencel Lyocell
Photo Credit: Tencel
The eco-friendly Tencel Lyocell fabric is made from sustainably grown wood which makes the product natural, and plant based. The company, Tencel, who invented and produce the Lyocell fibres, is using a “unique closed loop system which recover and reuses the solvents” used during the process of creating the fibres which helps them to minimize the environmental impact of the whole production. Lyocell has many benefits including strengths, long lasting softness, gentle on skin, breathability (moisture management), being compostable and biodegradable alongside being an eco-friendly option, of course.
Photo credit: Good on You
Bamboo fabric is obviously made from bamboo, a fast-growing grass which got the “eco-crop” status in the past couple of years. Growing the plant itself does not require any fertilisers and amazingly, it is able to self-regenerate from its own roots quite quickly hence it doesn’t need to be replanted. Although, the plant itself is quite a sustainable crop, the actual manufacturing process of the fibre can be less sustainable as many of the manufacturing options require chemical intense processes. And although, it’s not THE perfect sustainable fabric, it is still a huge step in the right direction from polyester or cotton and it can be a more eco-friendly and conscious choice. Look out for a Lyocell Bamboo as this can be the most sustainable option out of all the different bamboo fabrics available currently.
Source: Good on You
Photo credit: HempWear.eu
Hemp is made from natural fibres derived from the stems of the plants similarly to flax (linen) or even jute. More specifically, it is obtained from the outer layer or the bast of the Cannabis sativa plant. As you can see from the picture above, its texture is quite similar to linen and has similar benefits such as keeping you warm in winter & cool in summer and it even protects against UV rays. It is also mildew resistant, dyes well, anti-bacterial and being biodegradable. But why is it sustainable and eco-friendly? For one, obviously it’s 100% natural and plant-based but also, the actual plant doesn’t require any harsh chemical herbicides, it naturally reduces pests (no pesticides needed), requires less water (e.g. compared to cotton), and it returns 60-70% of the nutrients that it takes from the soil. For the ultimate sustainable and eco-friendly hemp choose organic and try to avoid hemp that is labelled as “Hemp Viscose” – look out for Lyocell hemp instead because the lyocell process of manufacturing the fibres is a lot eco-friendlier.
Photo Credit: SmartFiber AG
SeaCell is a very interesting innovative fabric made from wood (Lyocell) and seaweed – using only sustainable raw materials and methods that save both energy and resources. The fabric is completely biodegradable, organic, and uniquely “help to protect our skin against the harmful environmental influences”. They harvest the seaweed in a gentle, selective, and sustainable way; they only remove the part of the seaweed that is able to regenerate itself. Moreover, the seaweed used to make the fibres and fabric is entirely untreated, therefore, all of its ecological value is retained.
Source: SmartFiber AG
Photo Credit: Sprudge
The S.Café® yarn / fabrics are made from used coffee grounds sourced from local café shops as a way to reduce waste and give them a new lease of life as a sustainable material. It’s an amazingly sustainable way to source raw materials and keep resources in a circular economy system by turning someone’s “garbage” into something new and innovative – a lot like an upcycling process. This fabric provides excellent odour control, UV protection and fast drying benefits. The actual S.Cafe yarn is mixed with different materials such as Lyocell or recycled plastic bottles in order to create a variety of different performance fabrics. Check out their website to see them.
Source: S.Cafe Fabrics
Photo Credit: Dan and Mez
Piñatex is a pineapple leather which is exclusively made by Ananas Anam, a certified B corporation. This amazing sustainable fabric is a planet-friendly and cruelty-free leather alternative that is basically made from food and agricultural by-product; scrap pineapple leaves. As these leaves are already exist as a by-product from the pineapple harvest, the actual raw material doesn’t require additional environmental resources which makes it the ultimate environmentally friendly material. It’s an absolutely beautiful, innovative and truly sustainable and cruelty-free alternative to leather.
Source: Ananas Anam
8. Orange Silk
Photo Credit: Orange Fiber
“Orange Fiber (company) is the world’s first brand to produce sustainable fabrics from citrus juice by-products.” They turn the citrus leftovers and “waste” that the citrus processing industry produces into high-quality, luxurious fabrics which are the perfect ethical and sustainable alternative to silk. As the process uses the citrus by-products, it also has the added advantage that no virgin material is required which makes it even more eco-friendly. Due to its natural origin, it’s fully biodegradable, plant-based and vegan as well.
Photo credit: Siizu
SeaWool fabric is made from upcycled oyster shell which is sustainably collected from oyster farms and otherwise is a waste by-product of the food industry. The oyster shells are usually mixed with recycled PET plastic bottles to create the actual fabric. It uses waste and recycles existing materials which makes it more sustainable and eco-friendlier and it’s also a great soft wool alternative. The finished material feels soft, has odour control, and provides natural insulation.
I hope you found this post interesting and maybe even useful. We definitely enjoyed researching all these amazing and sustainable materials and we were so happy to see how many innovative and forward-thinking brands and companies who are out there bringing us innovative fabric options while putting the environment first and thriving towards a more plant-friendly and sustainable future.
The purpose of this blog post is to explore and share with you amazing, innovative, and more sustainable / eco-friendly / plant-based fabric options. Creating raw & new fabrics are never going to be fully sustainable as no matter what it’s made from, we use precious resources like water and energy. There is nothing more sustainable than using & REusing what we have already created. However, new innovations are always needed, somewhat necessary and also exciting to discover. Don’t forget that if you decide to buy something brand new, look out for these materials, and just generally more natural / plant-based options as these would probably be the most sustainable and planet friendly option you can opt for.