These are the less sustainable fabrics. What do we do with them?

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Have you ever thought about the material that makes up the clothes you wear? There are fabrics that pack easily and are difficult to wash. Therefore it is important to always ask yourself how the fabrics we wear can influence the environment around us.


Over the years I have learned to have an increasingly sustainable vision of every little detail that surrounds me; in this case, I can say that there is no 100% sustainable fabric, but some fabrics we wear are much better than others. In this post we will tell you the worst of them –so you don't buy them anymore– and also what to do with pieces that you have to prevent to throw them away.



NYLON


In the first place, Nylon, a fabric typically used in clothing items such as tights and stockings (you might even call them nylon stockings), nylon is a material derived from crude oil.

No form of nylon is biodegradable and, in fact, nylon can remain in landfills for 20-200 years. In fact, it is not surprising that it is partially derived from oil, one of the dirtiest industries. Nylon production creates nitrous oxide, greenhouse gas and uses large quantities of water and energy.


While you use and wash Nylon, it also releases microplastics, so avoid it as much as you can!



POLYESTER


Polyester is similar to Nylon: surely at home, you have a large number of T-shirts, sweaters, blankets, and bottles made with this material, well if you think it's a positive thing, you're wrong! In fact, like his friend, nylon, polyester is partially derived from oil.


Large quantities of water are used for cooling in the energy-intensive process used to produce polyester. This can be dangerous in areas with scarce water, resulting in reduced access to clean drinking water.


Not to mention the damage it causes to animal and human plants, due to the excess of water that causes a large number of chemical dyes.




RAYON


As a great supporter of calling out Greenwashing products or companies, it is my duty to defend this concept and go against another fabric that should not have space in your wardrobe: Rayon. It is the main culprit and has terrible effects on the environment.


Rayon is produced by dissolving cellulose –the main constituent of the cell walls of plants– in a chemical solution and then transforms it into threads. The fiber itself is biodegradable and non-toxic, but the way it is manufactured can cause harm to workers and the environment.


And so far may be nothing new, what you don't know is that many times the fast fashion industry often uses rayon to produce low-cost clothes using large quantities of water and energy, as well as high-intensity chemical processes. And it is precisely these processes that release dangerous chemicals into the surrounding air and waterways, which can lead to health problems for both workers and local communities.


What else? Many areas suffer from deforestation due to the harvesting of trees to produce rayon, including endangered and protected forests. The animals that depend on these trees for their homes are facing habitat loss, which threatens both endangered and endangered species.


I would say that we have more valid reasons to put a cross on rayon too!





ACRYLIC


And finally, we have Acrylic, a synthetic fiber that is often confused with wool. The key ingredient, acrylonitrile, can enter the body of the wearer through contact with the skin or inhalation. Be careful, because sometimes wearing a certain fabric could be harmful to health!