Definition: At least 90% of ingredients or materials in this collection are derived from natural, non-synthetic sources.
What qualifies for this guarantee?
The whole collection has to be made from 90% natural ingredients/ materials; meaning they must be of natural origin and biodegradable.
Fibres that qualify for Natural Materials (ranked in order of preference):
- Recycled natural fibres
- Organic natural fibres
- Lyocell / Tencel
- Certified animal fibres, e.g. RWS wool
- FSC certified viscose / modal
- Organic silk or Peace silk
Could be better:
- Conventional cotton
- Conventional silk
- Conventional wool, alpaca, mohair
What Supporting Evidence Do I Need?
- Full % of the fibre composition of each product is listed on the care & information section on your product descriptions.
- Any third-party certification for materials such as GOTS, Better Cotton Initiative etc
- Ensuring 100% natural material compositions in order to preserve the biodegradability of the product
Why is this important?
It is preferable to use natural plant-based fibres versus synthetic fibres like polyester as the latter is derived from petroleum (a fossil fuel) that is non-renewable and produces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In addition to this, synthetic fibres are plastic which means that they do not biodegrade, rather they build up in landfill in developing countries and are often burnt releasing harmful GHG emissions. There is also mounting concern over the number of plastic microfibers that are released into the water system from washing synthetic clothing in washing machines. There are of course environmental issues linked to natural fibres as well, however on the whole they tend to be less damaging to the environment than synthetics because they are biodegradable, use less toxic chemicals (if organic), and are not derived from fossil fuels.
What are the problems with viscose/modal?
- Risk of unregulated deforestation
- “It is estimated that around 30% of rayon and viscose used in fashion is made from pulp sourced from endangered and ancient forests”
- These fibres come from natural sources but go through an incredibly chemical-intensive and highly polluting process in order to turn them into a fibre.
- “Carbon disulphide, one of the chemicals used, is another toxic ingredient which has been linked to higher levels of coronary heart disease, birth defects, skin conditions, and cancer, not just in textile workers, but also in those who live near viscose factories”.
- Modal is considered better from an environmental standpoint than viscose as it uses fewer chemicals in its production than viscose.
- Bamboo is an incredibly greenwashed fabric as it often undergoes the same processes as viscose with chemically intensive processing
What alternatives are there?
- Trademarked Lenzing Modal, Lyocell and Tencel are also wood-pulp-based fibres, however, they are harvested from sustainably managed forests.
- Lyocell uses an organic solution in production replacing the sodium hydroxide used in modal
- A closed loop process is used which recycles the chemicals in Tencel meaning they can be used time and time again and they’re not released into the environment.