It’s Not Leather, It’s…Pineapple?
You don’t need to be a fashion designer to be familiar with clothing fabrics such as polyester, rayon, silk, and cotton. In fact, you’re probably more familiar with them than you realize. Your closet contains clothes and shoes made from these fibers–natural, synthetic, and a blend of both.
Did you know that the manufacturing process used to create these fabrics is environmentally hazardous? Polyester, for example, is a synthetic (man-made) fiber developed in the lat 100 years. It is made from non-renewable sources and its production is energy intensive, using vast amounts of crude oil. Not only that, but its production creates toxic by-products, harmful to the environment as well as people and animals. Similarly, the production of leather carries with it enormous negative environmental consequences.
Thanks to smart innovations, however, there are several new textiles in development which are sustainable and have a low environmental impact. And they’re coming from some surprising sources:
Piñatex is a leather-alternative made from pineapple leaf fibers, which are otherwise discarded after the pineapple is harvested. According to Piñatex developer Ananas Anam, “Piñatex is breathable and soft, light and flexible”, and can be used for shoes, bags, and upholstery. Piñatex is sustainable: Because Piñatex is made from a by-product, no “extra water, fertilizers or pesticides are required” to manufacture it.
Bamboo clothing and fabric seems to be the most readily-available eco fabric to buy online. Because bamboo grows quickly, it’s highly renewable and sustainable as a fiber source for fabric-making. Bamboo fabric is soft, breathable, and easy to care for. It also has antibacterial and moisture wicking properties, making it ideally suited for clothing as well as for household textiles.
Ingeo is made from the dextrose in corn plants. Ingeo uses less than 0.05% of the annual global corn crop, which means that its production has virtually no impact on on the availability or price of corn for food. “People have know for years that plants hold the potential to meet a number of our society needs,” says Pat Gruber, Vice President of Cargill Dow. “What we have done is take a basic plant function that has been going on for eons and learned how to tap into it to make two of the world’s most used items, plastics and fibers. And, we are doing so in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.”
Natureworks, the company responsible for Ingeo, states that corn isn’t the only source for the dextrose needed in Ingeo’s production. It can be harvested from wheat, sugar cane, and sugar beets. And according to their website, in future years, we could also see textiles made from agricultural wastes and non-food plants.
The next you’re in the market for clothing, we hope you’ll look for clothing made from sustainable sources!
EcoGoodz is one of the leading Credential Clothing Suppliers in the USA. We work closely with thrift stores and charitable institutions to keep donated clothing and textiles out of landfills and into the hands of those who need them. In addition to credential used clothing, we offer mixed rags, bulk linens, and used shoes for sale. Contact us about used clothing for more information.