It has has been said that the battle for greater sustainability in the home will be fought on a material front. I for one am always appalled at the hidden damage many conventional materials that we use create and am similarly thrilled to find new materials that tackle the same functional issues but without impacting unnecessarily onto the environment.
Polyester and cotton are the two dominant fabrics in one of the worldâ€™s most polluting industries: textiles. Polyester is man-made by melting and combining oil-derived plastic pellets to create the polymer polyethylene terapthalate. Itâ€™s manufactured using antimony as a catalyst, a carcinogen toxic to the heart, lungs, liver and skin.
Cotton, on the other hand, is a natural fibre but one thatâ€™s grown with a mind-boggling array of toxic chemicals and high water usage. So, itâ€™s good to know there are some exciting sustainable alternatives coming onto the market.
Perhaps surprisingly, a number of these new fabrics are actually by-products of the food industry. MilkofilÂ® is an innovative organic yarn derived from 100% milk fibre. Itâ€™s suited for contact with the skin in clothing, underwear and bedding. Its long-term emissions of negative ions are also good for air quality and blood circulation. It produces a beautiful looking and highly breathable fabric.
Soy cultivation has come under fire from environmental groups like Greenpeace and WWF as cultivation has resulted in large-scale destruction of the Amazon rainforest. But things could be about to change with endeavours to make the industry more sustainable. Sometimes called â€˜vegetable cashmereâ€™, soy fabric is soft and easy to care for, absorbs dye quickly and is anti-bacterial.
Wearing clothes made from salmon and hake skin might sound a bit fishy. But in reality itâ€™s no different to other leather. Using by-products of the fish industry usually tossed into the landfill, it requires less chemical treatment than normal tanning. It produces a tough, resilient fabric thatâ€™s stronger than most land leathers. Youâ€™ll be pleased to know that it doesnâ€™t smell of fish and makes beautiful upholstery material.
Knowing our recycling efforts are being put to good use helps us to sleep well at night. Something also helped by this Silent Night EcoComfort mattress. Made from 50% planet-friendly recycled polyester, itâ€™s scientifically proven to keep you cooler.
There are also innovative organic materials. This SeaCellÂ® yarn is made from Lyocell (a 100% wood pulp fibre) and is used to make underwear and bedding. Itâ€™s versatile and can be combined with other fibres.
And soft and silky bamboo is anti-bacterial and highly absorbent. With plenty available in the UK as towels, bed sheets and pillowcases it could help everyone to get a better nightâ€™s sleep.
So there you go. Next time youâ€™re about to buy cotton or polyester, why not try one of the many other brilliant alternative fabrics out there instead?