As you know, I have been doing my best to avoid polyester and choosing more sustainable materials. We are currently in a time of overconsumption especially with the fast fashion industry. Lately, more and more people are becoming more aware of what they purchase. Over the past 6 years more brands have emerged that are dedicated to ethical and sustainable materials and practices. Below, I am going to share with you the low down on polyester and other synthetic materials and their impact on the environment but also the best sustainable fabrics to choose from.
The Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is the third largest polluting industry and second largest consumer of water. There are over 2000 chemicals, including mercury, chlorine, lead and formaldehyde used in the textile process. And only 16 are EPA approved!!
Over 14 million tons of clothing are thrown away in the US each year. 99% of these textiles can be recycled or reused but 85% of them end up in landfills. And most of these materials take years to decompose. Nylon takes 30 to 40 years while polyester can take MORE than 200 years!
Miriam Webster defines fast fashion as an approach to the design, creation and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to customers. Most people find the fast fashion industry so appealing because the items are so cheap, but nothing is free and everything comes at a cost. The fast fashion industry is the main reason why textiles are one of the largest polluting industries. It literally creates so much waste. And all of the chemicals are not good for your overall health. It is so important for you to become more conscious on what you buy.
There’s a reason why I despise polyester. It is the worst synthetic fabric out there. It is plastic created from petroleum, which is bad for the environment to create and uses a high amount of chemicals during the production process. And every single time you wash it, micro fibers come off and go into the water supply.
If you have to choose something that’s polyester, your best option is to opt for something that is made from recycled polyester. It uses existing plastic and old polyester clothing and melts it down and re-spins it to be re-used. Of course, micro fibers are still released when washed.
Nylon is also like polyester as it comes from crude oil and still has the same environmental concerns.
Acrylic is another plastic based fiber and is created through a chemical process from fossil fuels. It is made from the polymer polyacrylonitrile, which the EPA found that inhaling it can produce the same symptoms as cyanide and could potentially cause cancer. It’s used in a lot of sweaters so try to avoid anything that says “cotton blend” or “wool blend.”
If you cannot avoid these fabrics, but you want to prevent micro fibers from going into the water supply, there is something you can do. You can invest in a garment bag for washing, like a Guppyfriend, that traps the particles, preventing them from going into the ocean. So now you won’t need to feel as bad, if you buy recycled polyester.
Not all rayon is created equally. Other names include viscose, tencel, modal and lycocell. Rayon is created from wood pulp. Unlike polyester, it is biodegradable and made from natural fibers. But like I had mentioned, not all of rayon is created equal. Most rayon production uses lots of toxic chemicals and most of the wood is sourced from forests and is a big contributor to the destruction of old growth rainforests.
Modal is the non toxic version of rayon and sources its wood from North America and Europe. However it still contributes to deforestation.
Tencel (trademarked) or the generic name of lyocell, uses sustainably sourced wood from eucalyptus trees. It also doesn’t use toxic chemicals to create it.
Even though cotton is a natural fiber, it is actually almost just as bad as some as the synthetic fibers when it comes to all the chemicals and water is uses to produce. 25% of the worlds insecticides use and 10% of the pesticide use go into producing cotton.
Organic cotton uses less water and doesn’t use any sort of pesticides or toxic chemicals. Make sure it is GOTS certified.
Linen is one of the safest fabrics out there and is made from flax! It’s the oldest, most natural and biodegradable fabric and it’s very durable and will last a long time.
Silk is a natural fiber that is harvested from silkworms. It can be harvested sustainably but can be created unethically by the boiling of silkworms, dyes and other harmful chemicals in the production process. Opt for sustainable and ethical brands.
Wool and Cashmere
Like, silk and linen, wool and cashmere can be more on the expensive side but these fabrics will last. Like silk, make sure you look for ethically made wool and cashmere.
How You Can Help
I don’t want you to to get rid of all of your clothes but I would like you to become more conscious for the future. You just need to be aware of all of your synthetic fabrics when you wash them and make sure you invest in a bag to wash them.
- Look for brands that offer trade in programs like Pact and Madewell
- Build a capsule wardrobe with pieces you already own.
- When you buy something, make sure it comes from a sustainable brand.
My Favourite Sustainable Brands
Everlane: They are very transparent when it comes to their factory and fabric processes. They also use clean silk, cashmere and recycled polyester.
Sézane: This French brand strives to use sustainable materials, recycled packaging and talks about their factory processes.
Pact: Uses only organic cotton. They even carry cotton workout clothes.
Reformation: They use sustainable practices to minimize their footprint.
Veja: Sneakers made from organic cotton and other natural materials.
Cuyana: Creates quality pieces and offers a give back program.
Patagonia: One of the first brands to make it aware of environmental impacts of the fashion industry.
All Birds: Another sustainable sneaker brand.
Lunya: Silk sleepwear that uses ethical practices.
Auguste The Label: This Australian brand is constantly trying to improve the environment and ethical processes by being as sustainable as possible.
Faithful The Brand: Uses locally sourced, vintage prints from Bali and uses ethical production processes.
Amour Vert: A sustainable brand made in the US. Every time you buy a tee, they plant a tree.
Athleta: They are a B Corporation and uses recycled materials and organic cotton.
Boden: Strives to reduce their environmental impact and works to educate women and supporting them in the workplace.
7 For All Mankind: They fight against human trafficking and ensure that all of their practices are ethical.
Some brands like Madewell and J.Crew, have collections that use organic and sustainable materials. If you would like to learn about more brands that I have yet to check out, this list is very helpful.
I really hope this post is eye opening. The more that I’ve learned the more conscious I have become. And when you start paying attention, you will actually stop buying less.
We want to treat YOU this Valentine’s Day!
I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers
to give YOU a chance to win:
a $800 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash,
just in time to treat yourself!
Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada only and runs until 2/9.
Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!
Void where prohibited. By entering the giveaway you acknowledge that you are agreeing to complete each task,which involves following, liking and subscribing to newsletter’s.