It might not seem like it, but our clothes can have a sizable impact on the climate. From production to disposal — clothes are capable of releasing harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. So how do you make sure your clothes have a climate-positive impact? By choosing the ones made from these four carbon-curbing fabrics.
A little known fact about agriculture is that it accounts for around 14% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) or carbon emissions. And when it comes to non-organic cotton, research has concluded that 1 tonne of conventional cotton fibre emits 1,808kg of CO2e. By comparison, organic cotton produces 978kg of CO2e per tonne of fibre — offering a 46% reduction in global warming potential compared to non-organic cotton. Moreover, organic cotton farming is known to help the environment with a 91% reduction in water consumption and a 62% decrease in energy demand compared to regular cotton.
Linen may be notorious for its high energy consumption due to the need to iron linen more, but the fibre’s sustainable pros outweigh its cons. When producing linen, all parts of the flax plant are used making it a zero-waste fabric that can be grown in the harshest of climate conditions that require minimum water. What’s more impressive is the plant’s ability to absorb carbon; the European Confederation of Flax and Hemp (CELC) states that one hectare of flax retains 3.7 tons of CO2 every year, which is the equivalent to the emissions of driving an average car for nearly 6 days without stopping.
A part of the man-made cellulosic fibre family, LENZING™ branded fibres like TENCEL™ and EcoVero™ viscose are produced from the sustainably sourced wood pulp of eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus plantations have the ability to sequester an average of 10 tons of carbon per hectare per year. In their attempt to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the LENZING™ group has also launched carbon-zero TENCEL™ fibres. These fibres are made using renewable energy and a production process that reduces carbon consumption by 65 to 80% compared to conventional TENCEL™ fibre creation.
One of the most sustainable fibres around, hemp plants boast of several environmental benefits like being the least resource-intensive fibres around, having soil regenerative properties and its amazing ability to sequester carbon. Recent research by Cambridge University claims that hemp can capture atmospheric carbon twice as effectively as forests. Industrial hemp absorbs between 8 to 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare of cultivation, while forests typically capture 2 to 6 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year.
Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-09-20