Low cost artificial materials have develop into the world’s kryptonite. We simply can’t appear to kick the behavior. 

From the garments hanging in your closet to the carpet beneath your ft, common use and publicity to virgin plastic-based fibers pose an incredible threat to your well being and the planet. 

The excellent news? Many sustainable manufacturers are difficult the artificial establishment, making a wealthy tapestry of high-quality and progressive sustainable materials for a greater world. 

We get it although. In a brand new age of aware consumerism, attempting to determine essentially the most sustainable materials in a sea of greenwashing fluff can really feel like a frightening process. 

On this article we cowl among the greatest sustainable materials in circulation proper now, itemizing the professionals and cons and total sustainability score for every so you possibly can really feel assured you’re making the most effective determination for your self and the atmosphere. 

What Are Sustainable Materials? 

Sustainable materials are supplies created from both pure or recycled fibers and are manufactured in a approach that causes minimal environmental and social hurt. In different phrases, sustainable materials are created in a closed-loop manufacturing course of with a assure of excessive moral labor requirements. 

Sustainable materials will need to have the capability to both be repurposed into one thing new or naturally break down within the atmosphere – we’re speaking recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable! 

A straightforward technique to determine essentially the most sustainable materials is by searching for sustainable certifications such because the Higher Cotton Initiative, International Natural Textile Commonplace, and Bluesign

Or higher nonetheless, hold studying this straightforward and informative information to sustainable materials – you gained’t remorse it! 

Why Use Sustainable Materials

Choosing the proper sustainable supplies would possibly simply change the very material of our society – if you’ll excuse the pun! 

Non-Sustainable Materials Are Dangerous to the Planet

Low cost artificial supplies – particularly virgin plastic fibers like polyester, nylon, acrylic, and spandex – are at the moment the spine of sectors just like the quick style business. Nevertheless, the growing circulation of plastic-based supplies is posing an incredible threat to our well being and the planet. 

The manufacturing of artificial fibers generates an enormous environmental footprint, accounting for  1.35% of worldwide oil consumption. Shockingly, it’s estimated an Olympic pool’s value of crude oil is consumed each 25 minutes to maintain up with our demand for artificial clothes. 

Artificial supplies shed microplastics that seep into the atmosphere throughout manufacturing, use, and disposal. Roughly 200,000 – 500,000 tonnes of microfibers from textile waste are unleashed into the ocean annually, with dangerous microplastic particles infiltrating nearly each place on earth.

Sustainable Materials Can Profit Your Well being

As we proceed to navigate our busy lives, it’s straightforward to miss the impression that the garments we put on have on our well being. However, do you know that the materials we select to placed on our our bodies can have an effect on our pores and skin, fertility, and even contribute to long-term well being issues?

What’s extra, artificial fibers are sometimes made with a mixture of extremely poisonous chemical compounds, which might trigger many well being and environmental issues. Take polyester, for instance. Sporting the world’s hottest material towards your pores and skin may cause sure kinds of cancers, pores and skin points, respiratory infections, and even fertility points and reproductive issues.

By choosing extra sustainable, low-impact, non-toxic materials, we are able to scale back our toxin publicity and positively impression our well being.

How Recycled Artificial Fibers Can Be Sustainable Materials

Plastic bottles. Fishing nets. Textile scraps. 

Many manufacturers are opting to rebuild post-industrial and post-consumer artificial waste into recycled materials. 

On the one hand, recycled artificial fibers are an incredible sustainable material as a result of it retains plastic waste in circulation relatively than ending up landfills and harming the atmosphere. 

Manufacturing artificial fibers makes use of far fewer assets and produce a decrease carbon footprint in comparison with virgin plastic. Actually, producing recycled polyester (rPET) makes use of 59% much less vitality than virgin polyester. 

The dangerous information? Recycled artificial fibers nonetheless trigger microplastic air pollution and can’t biodegrade when disposed of. 

Tip: Should you resolve to buy an merchandise created from recycled artificial fibers, be sure to purchase a microplastic filter (if it must be washed recurrently) or select sustainable manufacturers which have a take-back clothes program.

Plus, there isn’t any assure that recycled supplies are utterly toxic-free, with a research by Brunel College London displaying recycled PET plastic containing larger ranges of hormone disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) in comparison with virgin PET.  

If unsure, look out for recycled sustainable materials with certifications corresponding to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® which confirms that the fabric is free from substances that might doubtlessly hurt your well being and the planet. 

A Purchaser’s Information For The 8 Finest Sustainable Materials

Under is an inventory of our high 8 most sustainable materials that we’ve rated on our sustainability scale from 1-5, 5 being essentially the most sustainable possibility and 1 that means least sustainable.

1. Piñatex

Showing a black purse made from the sustainable fabric Piñatex


  • Repurposes fruit waste
  • No dangerous chemical compounds (Cradle to Cradle® Licensed)
  • Robust materials, versatile and straightforward to take care of
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Inexpensive


  • Not 100% biodegradable as a consequence of water-based plastic resin
  • Probably not as sturdy as animal leather-based
  • Not waterproof; solely water resistant
  • Low warmth resistance

Piñatex is an moral leather-based various created from discarded pineapple leaves. Luxuriously tender, sturdy, and light-weight, Piñatex has a really low environmental impression and helps native pineapple farmers to earn a residing wage.

Sometimes Used In: clothes, equipment, tender furnishings, automotive purposes

Manufacturers that use Piñatex: Immaculate Vegan, Wolf and Badger, Hozen

Material Care: use pure wax for leather-based items and wash clothes by hand

Longevity: can final for a variety of years if correctly cared for

Price: largely reasonably priced

Sustainability Score: 4.0

2. TENCEL™ Lyocell

Showing white bedding made from the sustainable fabric TENCEL™ Lyocell


  • Breathable, moisture-wicking, mild on pores and skin
  • Robust and long-lasting
  • Biodegradable and compostable
  • Renewable useful resource
  • Available
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Licensed by USDA’s BioPreferred®, TÜV Austria Belgium NV, and EU Ecolabel


  • Might be delicate, requires further care
  • Solely biodegradable or compostable if 100% lyocell (usually blended with different materials)
  • Costlier than comparable sustainable materials e.g. natural cotton

TENCEL™ Lyocell is a naturally tender and sturdy eco-friendly material created from sustainably sourced wooden, a 100% renewable and uncooked materials. TENCEL™ Lyocell follows an environmentally-friendly closed-loop manufacturing course of, is non-toxic, and is extra hygienic than different materials as a result of it’s so breathable.

Sometimes Used In: activewear, workwear, denim, sneakers, underwear, dwelling decor, bedding

Manufacturers that use TENCEL™ Lyocell: Hole, Natural Fundamentals, Sijo House

Material Care: hand wash or machine at low temperature

Longevity: very sturdy, ought to final a very long time

Price: might be costlier as a consequence of particular manufacturing expertise

Sustainability Score: 4.5

3. Natural Linen

Showing a bralette made from the sustainable fabric Organic Linen


  • Light-weight and sturdy
  • Pure material; 100% biodegradable and compostable
  • Sustainably harvested and manufactured
  • Light-weight, breathable and really absorbent
  • Anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic


  • Susceptible to wrinkling
  • Costlier
  • Not very versatile

Natural Linen is created from flax vegetation, an historical sustainable fiber that’s 100% renewable and doesn’t require any pesticides or fertilizers. Superb for cold and hot climates, natural linen turns into softer with each wash so it’s assured to final you a very long time! 

Be aware: Not all linen is manufactured sustainably and ethically so you’ll want to look out for linen that’s licensed natural. 

Sometimes Used In: bedding, kitchen textiles, clothes, tender furnishings

Manufacturers that use Natural Linen: Coyuchi, CB2

Material Care: hand wash or wash on a low temperature (ideally chilly wash with a gentle detergent)

Longevity: can final for a few years if cared for correctly

Price: costly

Sustainability Score: 5.0

4. Natural Cotton

Showing a sweater made from the sustainable fabric Organic Cotton


  • Sustainably harvested and manufactured
  • Mushy, breathable and nice for delicate pores and skin
  • Pure material; 100% biodegradable and compostable
  • Robust and versatile
  • Straightforward to take care of and extra reasonably priced


  • Decrease yield; requires extra assets to supply
  • Wrinkles simply
  • Costlier to supply and promote than normal cotton

Should you’re on the lookout for a sustainable material that’s high-quality and reasonably priced, then strive natural cotton! Natural cotton farming and manufacturing work with nature relatively than towards it, sustaining wholesome soils, saving water, and avoiding dangerous chemical compounds and pesticides. 

Be aware: When manufacturers say “natural” be sure claims are backed up by credible sustainable certifications.

Sometimes Used In: clothes, tender furnishings, bedding, magnificence merchandise, diapers

Manufacturers that use Natural Cotton: Pact Clothes, Goal, Everlane

Material Care: mechanically cleanable, keep away from excessive temperatures

Longevity: lasts a very long time if cared for correctly

Price: largely reasonably priced

Sustainability Score: 4.5

5. Natural Hemp

Showing table coverings made from the sustainable fabric Organic Hemp


  • Light-weight, breathable, insulating
  • Naturally anti-bacterial, odor-resistant
  • Renewable, biodegradable, compostable
  • Low environmental impression throughout each stage of manufacturing
  • Offers UV safety
  • Straightforward to take care of (gained’t lose form)


  • Costlier
  • Low demand, not available
  • Susceptible to wrinkling
  • Might be blended with artificial fibers

Hemp is likely one of the oldest materials in human historical past. Sturdy and versatile, Hemp has a excessive tensile energy in comparison with different supplies corresponding to cotton and its high quality improves with each wash. Hemp grows shortly, requires little water, and is chemical-free and pesticide-free. 

Be aware: Chemical substances can be utilized throughout the processing stage so look out for pure dyes and licensed natural labels.

Sometimes Used In: clothes, sneakers, bedding, swimwear, tender furnishings, paper, insulation

Manufacturers that use Natural Hemp: Rawganique, Eileen Fisher, Hemptique, Again Beat

Material Care: mechanically cleanable on a delicate cycle or hand wash

Longevity: can final for a long time if cared for correctly

Price: costly

Sustainability Score: 5.0

6. Econyl®

Showing a blue women's swimsuit made from the sustainable fabric Econyl


  • Robust, stretchy and light-weight
  • Water resistant
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying
  • Infinitely recyclable
  • Extra reasonably priced
  • Follows an eco-friendly manufacturing course of and is licensed by OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100
  • Straightforward to take care of


  • Danger of microfiber air pollution
  • Not very breathable
  • Low UV resistance
  • Can’t biodegrade
  • Not straightforward or low-cost to recycle

From outdated carpets to fishing nets, Econyl transforms pre-consumer and post-consumer waste into a powerful and versatile sustainable material. Econyl is free from substances that hurt human well being and is simply as sturdy as virgin nylon however with out the colossal environmental footprint

Sometimes Used In: form-fitting clothes (e.g. activewear, swimwear, and underwear), baggage, carpets, ropes, traces

Manufacturers that use Econyl®: Fisch, Evarae, Leonessa Lingerie, Norba

Material Care: mechanically cleanable, keep away from excessive temperatures, air dry

Longevity: can final for a few years if cared for correctly

Price: largely reasonably priced

Sustainability Score: 3.5

7. Bananatex®

Showing a blue women's swimsuit made from the sustainable fabric Bananatex®


  • Excessive sturdiness and tensile energy
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • 100% biodegradable and compostable
  • Mushy, snug, shimmery
  • Extra reasonably priced
  • Secure and pure (Cradle to Cradle Licensed® Gold and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 Licensed)


  • Might be costlier
  • Can simply wrinkle and lose form

Bananatex® is likely one of the world’s strongest sustainable materials created from 100% pure fibers. Utilizing the a part of the Abacá banana plant that may in any other case go to waste, Abacá is totally self-sufficient, requires no pesticides or further water, and contributes to reforestation and the monetary safety of farming communities. 

Sometimes Used In: baggage, clothes (e.g. lingerie, clothes, blouses), paper items, sanitary merchandise, automotive tires, mats, bins

Manufacturers that use Bananatex®: Charlotta Aman, Inuikii, QWSTION

Material Care: hand wash or machine wash on a cool cycle

Longevity: very sturdy; banana fiber foreign money notes can last as long as 100 years!

Price: costlier

Sustainability Score: 5.0


Showing a blue women's swimsuit made from the sustainable fabric REPREVE®


  • Sturdy and versatile
  • Light-weight and moisture-wicking
  • Recyclable
  • Crease resistant
  • Available and extra reasonably priced
  • Clear, traceable and licensed provide chain
  • Straightforward to take care of


  • Can’t biodegrade
  • Danger of microber air pollution
  • Not very breathable
  • Can simply capsule

REPREVE® retains trash out of landfills by changing plastic bottles and post-industrial waste into a versatile and high-performing sustainable material. An eco-friendly various to virgin polyester, REPREVE® is licensed by OEKO-TEX® STANDARD and the International Recycling Commonplace to guard human well being and the planet. 

Sometimes Used In: clothes, sneakers, dwelling decor, industrial, automotive


Material Care: mechanically cleanable on a low temperature

Longevity: can final for years if cared for correctly

Price: largely reasonably priced

Sustainability Score: 3.5

Last Ideas On Sustainable Materials 

So there you’ve gotten it! Our information to among the greatest sustainable materials in circulation proper now.  

It feels as if unsustainable materials have crept into nearly each nook of contemporary life. As a world society, we’ve got develop into particularly reliant on low-cost artificial supplies that are proving to be dangerous information for our well being and the planet. 

However all will not be misplaced! 

Over the previous couple of years, many sustainable style manufacturers are placing their abilities to the check and discovering inventive methods to make use of sustainable materials, from plant-based fibers to recycled supplies. 

So whenever you subsequent go to purchase a product, be sure to bear in mind this information to sustainable materials. Why? As a result of selecting sustainable materials is likely one of the greatest issues you are able to do for your self and the atmosphere. 

You’ll want to take a look at our information to Inexpensive Sustainable Clothes to study among the many sustainable manufacturers which are efficiently utilizing sustainable materials for a brighter future.