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Natural fibres are a vital cog in the wheel of sustainable clothing or eco-fashion that aim to make garments with each stage of lifecycle sustainable, starting right from production to disposal. Producers of natural fibres, textile manufacturers and the clothing industry should wake up to the opportunities offered by the ever-growing demand for wool and organic cotton, for biodegradable and recyclable fabrics, and that which promises ‘fair trade’ practises for manufacturers, with increased prices and enhanced safety of textile industry workers.
The need of the hour is advances in fibre manufacturing technology. There ever has been a demand for sustainable textiles. Fibres that were a thing of the past have found use again. For instance, jute when treated with caustic soda can improve its crimpness and softness, which allows the fiber to be spun in a woollen style. Latest processing systems have made blending of jute with cotton successful. For instance, it is now possible to spin a yard that is 2 parts cotton and 3 parts kapok easily, in addition to making kapok non-flammable. Geo-textiles have also found a growing demand for natural fibres. They are useful in protecting the soil against erosion and strengthening earthworks, thereby promoting the growth of plants.
Surprisingly, automotive industry has turned out to be the largest consumer of natural fibres. Plant fibres are finding a lot of applications in this industry as they’re mechanically strong and very light; plant fibre composites can replace fibreglass as regards strengthening components.
Energy consumption in moulding them is less compared to moulding fibreglass, which can significantly bring down production costs. The cars, which also weigh less, are cost-effective to run. Furthermore, car seats that are padded with coconut fibre are more comfy to use than plastic foam padding.
All said and done, it is quite unlikely that natural fibres can completely replace synthetic fibres, as the later can be mass-produced without higher costs. They are easily customizable and can be produced in any length, diameter or crimp. From a consumer point of view, synthetic fibres are easy to care and cheap, rather than sustainable and go easy. Needless to say, synthetic fibres, as we’ve seen in the previous blogs, can be pretty much toxic. Let’s play a small role in conserving the environment around: simply choose organic cotton clothes over traditional cotton feel home with Bitz India.