Human-made Eco-friendly Fiber: Find a Better Way to Sustain
Different clothing and beddings are made from different fabrics. To make fabric, we need thread, to make thread, we need fiber. Fiber is the raw material that determines if a textile is eco-friendly (among other things like dyes, decoration and finishing).
The eco-friendly fiber should have at least one or more of the following characteristics:
1.The raw materials of fiber are organic or from a sustainable resource.
2.The synthetic process of the fiber is energy-saving and non-pollution.
3.The processing of fiber, especially printing, dyeing and finishing, is clean and safe.
4.The consumption of fiber products is eco-friendly and good to human body.
5.After consumption, the fiber can be recycled.
According to the source of fibers, eco-friendly fibers can be divided into three categories: natural fibers, human-made fibers, and recycled fibers. In addition to the above three types of fibers, the textile industry continues to develop new types of eco-friendly fibers from other sources, such as rice straw and chicken feather.
- Natural fibers: organic cotton, bamboo fiber, coconut fiber, banana fiber, pineapple fiber, animal and plant (milk and soybean) protein fiber and chitin fiber, etc.
- Human-made fibers: polylactic acid fibers and Lyocell fibers.
- Recycled fiber: recycled polyester products (bottles and textiles) and recycled nylon textiles, etc.
Recycled fiber is particularly noted because of its significant importance to deal with the textile waste, which is crucial to sustainable development.
Recycled Polyester Textiles
In the chemical fiber industry, the polyester industry develops fastest and has the largest output. The polyester waste generated by a relatively large number of polyester products also causes serious pollution to the environment. Therefore, since the 1990s, the treatment of polyester waste has become a topic of worldwide concern. With the rapid development of the polyester industry, the recycling of polyester waste has attracted more and more attention. The scope of recycling has become broader and broader, and the recycling technology has gradually matured. It has developed from simple recycling to “fiber to fiber” recycling. Recycled polyester is simply polyester produced from recycled sources: PET bottles, industrial polyester waste, and even garments. The recycling process reconstitutes the fiber on a molecular level, refine the old polyester into new raw material. Recycled polyester fiber cuts out the need for petroleum and coal extraction, lowering the demand for new petroleum extraction and reducing our overall carbon emission. In short, it’s eco-friendly!
Recycled Nylon Textiles
Nylon is a synthetic fiber made of polymers. It doesn’t break down easily and makes up about 10% of the debris in the ocean. Recycled Nylon has the same advantages as recycled polyester: It diverts waste from landfills as well as its production utilizes much fewer resources than virgin nylon (consisting of water, power as well as nonrenewable fuel source). However, recycling Nylon is still more pricey than new Nylon, yet it has many ecological advantages. A lot of research is currently being carried out to boost the quality as well as decrease the cost of the recycling process.
Designers and international brand marketers will also increase their investment in eco-friendly textile products’ R & D and manufacturing.
Although these eco-friendly fibers are still a niche in our lives, because of the emphasis on sustainable development, but I believe eco-friendly fibers will definitely show a growing trend in the future.
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