When can you call fashion garment sustainable?
If a garment should call itself truly sustainable, a few criteria must be met. A sustainable garment is arguably something that most fashion brands try to promote one way or another. For example the mega retail brand H&M uses somehow the term “more sustainable” describing their effort to practice environmental friendly textile fabrics in their garment production and retail sales. According to their well-known conscious action sustainability reports they try to explain with asking the question; what is more sustainable cotton? Sorry, there are no such cotton that can be called sustainable, therefore is better to use another term than misleading the consumer (environmental friendly, better alternative, organic or recycled cotton). The great sustainable fashion swindle?
How to define a sustainable fibre or textile fabric
To be clear on what a fibre must inherent to call itself truly sustainable is smart to start from the definition. By definition, sustainable living is taking no more potentially renewable resources from the natural world than can be replenished naturally and not overloading the capacity of the environment to cleanse and renew itself by natural processes.
Resources are sustainable if they cannot be used up; for instance, oil resources are not seen as renewable because of its slow and gradually decreasing whereas the wind can be harnessed to produce energy continuously. In terms of fibres, a sustainable fibre is one that ideally involves completely renewable chemicals in its manufacturing process and non-fossil-fuel-derived energy (renewable sources of energy only) in the production processes. This leave us with few options when describing such a sustainable material and one of those alternatives is renewable sources of polymeric fibres, which offer an answer to maintaining sustainable development of economically and ecologically attractive technology.According to Vink* a number of factors that the ideal sustainable material should meet;
Factors to be meet
- Provide an equivalent function to the product it replaces, and performs as well as or better than the existing product;
- Be available at a competitive or lower price;
- Have a minimum environmental footprint for all the processes involved, including those up and down-stream;
- Be manufactured from renewable resources;
- Use only ingredients that are safe to both humans and the environment;
- Not have any negative impact on food supply or water.
These criteria manifest a substantially empathy with the need to address the environmental characteristics, and positive benefits is demonstrated that poly(lactic acid) could achieve, both in terms of the production process, Waste Management and disposal alternative at the end of a product’s life cycle (LCA). A truly green fibre (textile fabric production) demonstrated in a fully green life cycle of the garment. This cover innovation and development of textile fibres from biopolymers and other renewable resources; the organic process of fossil-based raw materials; reduction of fossil fuels used in energy production. Volume decrease of waste; compost ability in a natural cycle and fully biological degradability. Furthermore, protection against the climate through minimize carbon dioxide release and step down of harmful, hazards and environmentally damaging substances at any point in the life cycle.
The most useful tool to measure environmental sustainability of a product is as mention earlier Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is an analysis of all inputs and outputs for a particular product (inventory) and commonly practices on a cradle-to-grave basic. One of the major benefits of such a practice using LCA specific product’s study is the opportunity to measure (or benchmark) performance against competitor garments, textiles and processes in the marketplace. With elements further to consider; price competing, sufficiency of large quantity’s textile production and a healthy solution for waste-disposal problems.
An idealised assessment study for a truly green fibre in the textile production is described in the following figure
POST AND FIGURES Kenneth buddha Jeans
*Vink, E.T.H., Rabago, K.R., Glassner, D.A. and Gruber, P.R., Polymer Degradation
and Stability, 2003, 80
Biodegradable and sustainable fibres
R. S. Blackburn CRC Press
WOODHEAD PUBLISHING LIMITED
Publishing Limited in association with The Textile Institute
Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge CB1 6AH, England