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When can you call fashion garment sustainable?

If a garment should call itself genuinely sustainable, a few criteria met. Durable clothing is arguably something that most fashion brands try to promote one way or another. For example, the mega-brand H&M uses somehow the term “more sustainable fabrics” describing the effort to practice environmentally-friendly in their garment production and retail sales. According to H&M conscious action sustainability reports, explain with asking the question: What is more sustainable cotton? Cotton fibre cannot sustain, therefore better to use another term. The communication is misleading the consumer (environmentally friendly, better alternative, organic or recycled cotton). The recommended post, The great H&M conscious fashion swindle?

How to define a sustainable fibre or textile fabric

To be clear on what a fibre must inherent to call itself genuinely sustainable is smart to start from a definition. Sustainable living is not to use more resources than Earth can sustain. Renewable resources from the natural world that can be replenished naturally and not overloading the capacity of the environment to cleanse and renew itself by natural processes.

Resources are sustainable and renewable when they replenish within a short time. For instance, oil resources are not renewable as it takes nature many years to replace. Others as solar energy and windmills are consistently producing without adding entropy.

A sustainable fibre is one that ideally involves completely renewable chemicals in the manufacturing process and non-fossil-fuel-derived energy (renewable sources of energy) in the production processes. It leaves a few options, describing a sustainable material. 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,* several factors meet if labelling Sustainable.

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.

The criteria manifest a strong empathy, a need to address environmental characteristics, and positive benefits. If poly(lactic acid) achieve both terms, The production process, Waste Management and disposal alternative at the end of a product’s lifecycle (LCA). A real green fibre (textile fabric production) demonstrated an entirely green life cycle of the garment. Innovation and development of biopolymers require reduction of fossil fuels as energy, decrease waste and natural compost. Furthermore, protection of climate to minimise carbon dioxide release. Step down of harmful, hazards and environmentally damaging substances in the life cycle.

Life cycle Assessment (LCA)

The most useful tool to measure the 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 basis. One of the significant benefits of the practice LCA study is to measure performance against competitor garments, textiles, and processes in the marketplace. With elements further to consider; price competing, the sufficiency of large quantity’s textile production and a robust solution for waste-disposal problems.

Lifecycle of A Sustainable Fibre

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Sources and Useful Information

  • H&M Conscious actions sustainability report 2012
  • Vink, E.T.H., Rabago, K.R., Glassner, D.A. and Gruber, P.R., Polymer Degradation and Stability, 2003, 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

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