Environmentally Friendly Green Clothing
by staff writer
Some people question the need for green clothing. "What is wrong with cotton?"
they ask. Nothing! It's the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides applied to
the cotton field that create concern. Synthetic fabrics created from petroleum
further fuel the demand and dependence on oil -- a limited resource. Dyes,
glues, and additives may not harm us directly, but many chemicals used in the
production of garments have toxic components, even if they are disposed of
correctly. Isn’t it time to couple growing social consciousness, available
natural materials, and modern technology to produce green garments that look and
feel good without depleting our natural resources or polluting our environment?
Green clothing made from recycled and sustainable materials is not new, but it
is gaining more attention and popularity in society and high fashion. Outdoor
clothing companies didn’t jump on the green clothing bandwagon -- they built it.
In the mid 90s, one company was making fleece from recycled plastic bottles, but
new technology is pushing sustainable clothing into a new era. New organic and
recycled fibers may even deliver benefits traditional clothing still can’t
Today’s green clothing lines are hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and
biodegradable. Organic cotton and hemp are well-known sustainable materials, but
wood fiber from bamboo and coconut husks are also being incorporated into green
clothing. Bamboo fiber clothing is often compared to the look and feel of linen.
Both bamboo and coconut husk fibers can be combined with organic cotton; the
resulting material has natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Advances in environmentally friendly clothing aren’t limited to t-shirts and
cargo pants. New and old technologies are being combined to deliver some amazing
products. Companies are adding lines of green shoes that feature recycled
aluminum eyelets, natural biodegradable rubber soles, and water-based glues that
are less harmful to the environment. Using the sugars from corn, it is now
possible to make polymers without petroleum; fibers similar to polyester are
created and then used to make socks and other fully biodegradable clothing. The
use of green materials combined with more efficient manufacturing processes --
like using scrap leather to make pull tabs for zippers -- help to deliver the
most environmentally conscious green clothing possible.
Better labeling is appearing on green clothing products that state the types of
materials used in construction, percent of recycled content, and any other
relevant environmental information. The growing social consciousness should
continue to drive research of greener products and manufacturing processes.