Cotton and polyester dominate – what are the alternatives?
Most clothes we wear are either produced from cotton or from petroleum. Which is a problem, since growing cotton uses a disproprotionate amount of all pesticides in the world and in many countries cotton-farming consumes vast quantities of a scarce resource: water. Petroleum is the basis for polyester (one of the most-used textiles), nylon and acrylic – a non-renewable resource. If we go back in time, wool and leaf-based textiles (linen made from nettle and hemp, for example) were predominant materials; and actually much more eco-friendly.
Along with rediscovering the positive aspects of these “old” raw materials, designers are trying out new and innovative textiles based on a wide variety of plants, proteins and even what most people would consider garbage: Plastic bottles and coffee-grinds to mention two such innovative and relatively new sources for textiles. Some of these new materials will probably represent just a small fringe, along with the somewhat small (relatively speaking) amounts of organic raw materials that are available. There are many stumbling-blocks when it comes to judging the relative eco-profile of different raw materials, but if you click on your choice (in the over-view), we will give you some concerns and some advice on what you should look for as a consumer.