The desire to lead a sustainable lifestyle is at an all-time high and the pursuit of greener living extends to a variety of life aspects ranging from cleaner driving to reduced food waste. However, switching to sustainable fabrics is one of the most significant improvements that anybody can make. And if it matters to the public, businesses must learn to embrace it too.
Whether working in fashion, furniture design or any other industry where fabrics and textiles are regularly used, making the transition to sustainable fabric should be a priority. Given the widespread applications in the industrial, homeware, and automotive sectors, most companies should take note.
The following guide will answer all your questions from what it is to why sustainable fabrics are the future for your company.
1. What is a sustainable fabric?
In short, sustainable fabrics are textiles and materials that are designed to reduce the negative impacts caused to the planet. As per Study.com, however, the definition of sustainability should extend to three areas:
- Environmental sustainability: this relates to using materials and resources that will help preserve the earth and reduce the carbon footprint.
- Social sustainability: this means using fabrics that are spruced and manufactured without the use of exploitative practices.
- Economic sustainability: this covers practices that can be followed without creating products that people in the geographic territory cannot afford.
The harsh reality is that damaging processes have been used since the industrial revolution. In relation to fabrics, the direct use of synthetic materials has contributed heavily to the problems currently facing the planet. Not least because most fabrics (regardless of their application) only have a relatively short lifespan.
Sustainable fabric causes less (or no) damage to the environment or society throughout its lifecycle of design, manufacturing, and subsequent disposal. They are usually made from natural or recycled materials. Although no single material is 100% sustainable, the benefits of adopting better fabric choices will show with immediate and lasting results.
2. What are the benefits of sustainable fabric?
Thousands of companies are transitioning towards sustainable fabrics, which has probably sparked you into taking action. However, the benefits extend way beyond Keeping Up With The Joneses. Some of the most significant rewards are listed below:
The obvious benefit is that choosing natural and recyclable materials will reduce your carbon footprint. Given the global landfill waste of 1.3 billion tons each year, brands have a huge responsibility given that they use far more materials than individual consumers. If already using greener energy and related ideas, sustainable fabrics should be the next move.
Although some synthetic fibers are also durable, they produce more energy waste and pollution. Using sustainable fabrics not only provide durability, but also mean better value for the company for internally used materials and for the consumer. This further reduces the negative impact on the environment too.
*Improved brand image
The research into consumer expectations is pretty clear. A huge 73% of American consumers would stop using a company that isn’t invested in environmental matters. Using sustainable fabrics is one of the most effective ways to show a genuine commitment to doing better in business. It can become a significant characteristic of the brand.
*Increased team morale
Clients aren’t the only people who want to align themselves with socially responsible brands. Over 70% of workers would prefer to work for a company that cares about the environment while 10% would willingly take a significant pay cut to make this happen. Happy workers are more productive workers, so this can only have a positive influence for the brand.
As a business owner, completing jobs that fill you with pride is an ongoing priority. If you care about your carbon footprint at home, it’s imperative that you pay attention to the impacts of your company. Using sustainable fabrics will bring a sense of self-satisfaction while simultaneously encouraging you to take further steps towards an eco-friendly solution.
3. Types of sustainable fabric
The global eco fiber industry is worth USD 40.38 billion in 2020 and growing at a rapid pace. There are several sustainable fabric choices available for B2B applications as well as B2C purposes Some of the most popular and effective choices are listed below:
- Bamboo: the natural shoots grow quickly and regenerate without the need for fertilization. Heralded for its absorbance, comfort, and relative durability, it can be used in a variety of industries. However, harvesting can cause issues.
- Hemp: this variant of the cannabis plant is very durable and can be used as a substitute for cotton and other fabrics. While it is costly, it has a lot of attributes that make it a popular choice for eco-friendly fashion.
- Linen: made from flax, linen creates zero material waste as all elements can be used. While it can be expensive, the material is also 100% biodegradable. So, when processed without the use of chemicals, it’s a very safe choice.
- Lyocell: many businesses know this as Tencel, which is a brand name. The material is made from tree pulp and is a type of rayon that
- Wool: Compostable, natural, and free from plastic fibers, wool is a great option. However, as with many of the potentially sustainable fabrics, the way it’s produced and handled will be telling. The fabric has great insulation properties.
In addition to materials that are designed to promote sustainability, businesses can look to use deadstock. This is reclaimed fabric that is essentially leftover material from other manufacturers. Saving this from landfill can be one of the best ways to bolster eco-friendly practices.
4. Application for sustainable fabric
Sustainable fabrics have become increasingly commonplace in recent years as businesses try to change facts like the fact that around one-third of all materials go to waste. However, brands have only been able to begin this transition due to increased accessibility, knowledge, and affordability.
Sustainable fabrics are most commonly thought of as a fashion material. Adidas’ sustainable shoes have sparked an increase in consumer expectations. Footwear, clothing, and accessories are all gradually moving towards a more sustainable outcome with several of the aforementioned materials being utilized to facilitate the change.
The application of sustainable fabric can extend to the following areas:
- Automotive: seat covers, window seals, belts, and some upholstery elements.
- Industrial: hydroponics, gasket seals, landfill linings.
- Home: hoses, remote controls, socket insulation.
- Leisure: shock absorption covers, racket covers, backpack panels,
- Music: speaker cones, drum pads, and soundproofing covers.
Sustainable fabrics can be used to manufacture a wide range of goods across many industries while the list of potential applications continues to grow by the year. In addition to being used for manufacturing goods, their uses within the workplace (gasket covers for machinery, office applications, etc.) are increasing at a rapid pace.
Brands that embrace it immediately will find that the ongoing evolution is far easier to handle.
5. Why choose ARIAPRENE® for a sustainable fabric solution?
When looking at sustainable fabrics for industrial and commercial purposes, it’s important to choose the very best sustainable material available. Therefore, brands will look for a material that is;
- Suitable for the intended application,
- Highly sustainable even when not 100%,
- Durable and built to last,
- Versatile in aesthetic and attributes,
- A cost-effective solution.
Neoprene has been the most common solution for several years. It’s available in multiple thicknesses and can be used in medical applications, in fashion, for sporting apparel like wetsuits, and a wide selection of soft goods However, an even better solution is available.
While Neoprene is deemed sustainable due to its durability, resistance to degradation makes it non-biodegradable. ARIAPRENE® foam core is a synthetic rubber and foam material made with TPE, making the manufacturing processes far more environmentally friendly while it’s additionally free of toxins. Unlike some of the other alternatives (SBR, PU foam, EVA), ARIAPRENE® retains a lot of design versatility. For example, the closed-cell foam can be given an opaque finish while different thicknesses make it suitable for an array of applications.
The eco-fabric can be used for industrial, automotive, home, soft goods, music, and outdoor applications. It is increasingly used for footwear, apparel, accessories, and technical gear for athletes due to its stability, compression, and stretchiness. Meanwhile, it is a compound material that can be manufactured in many colors while it is fully customizable. This makes it an ideal solution regardless of whether it is used for small or large-scale manufacturing processes.
ARIAPRENE® is a lightweight and flexible material with fantastic shock absorption, breathability, and insulation. When combined with its durability and cost-effective manufacturing, it is the perfect option for consumers, which makes it the number one choice for brands too.
To find out more about how your brand can incorporate sustainable fabrics like ARIAPRENE® for a better and more eco-friendly approach to manufacturing, get in touch today.