Textile industry’s commitment to a sustainable production
Depending on the origin and type of processing, textile fibers are distinguished into natural fibers, artificial fibers and synthetic fibers which have different sustainability characteristics. What is certain is that there are no 100% sustainable textile fibers, but thanks to the role of increasingly conscious consumers, fashion is committed to more ethical and environmentally-friendly textile production.
How? Prioritizing the use of ecological fabrics, promoting sustainable processing and reducing the use of hazardous substances, according to the Greenpeace Detox program.
Fabrics from vegetable and animal raw materials
What are the different characteristics of textile fibers? As far as natural fibers are concerned, this type of fiber is obtained from vegetable or animal materials. Cotton, linen and hemp belong to the first category, while wool, silk and leather belong to the second.
In order to reduce the environmental impact of the textile products containing natural and organic textile fibers, it is important that these are derived from organic farming, which does not involve the use of any hazardous substances. For these fibers, there is a Certification of Organic origin, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification.
Fabrics from natural raw materials processed with chemicals
Artificial textile fibers are obtained from natural raw materials (such as cellulose or animal and vegetable proteins) which are processed in the laboratory through chemical substances. They are therefore more sustainable than synthetic fibers, but with a greater environmental impact than natural textile fibers.
This type of fiber is commonly classified as viscose. Over the years the textile industry has developed different types of viscose, making this type of fabric increasingly comfortable and breathable. The research has also promoted more sustainable methods of processing, allowing to create of more ecological artificial fabrics.
Fabrics from chemical substances
Synthetic fibers are also processed in the laboratory, but unlike artificial fibers (of natural origin), these are originated from chemical substances derived from petroleum.
Of course, fibers such as nylon, polyester and modacrylic have advantages: they do not wrinkle, they are resistant and thermally insulating. But their impact on the environment is very high, as it also causes the release of textile microfibres into the air. Not only that, these fibers are not biodegradable and can cause allergic reactions.