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A Guide to Sustainable Fabrics and Materials

A guide to explore some of the more popular fabric and materials on the market and help you become a more environmentally conscious consumer

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A Guide to Sustainable Fabrics and Materials

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What does a sustainable manufacturing process look like? To be considered sustainable, a company or product should: use less water and energy during production, use materials made from renewable resources or waste products, have reduced chemical waste and emissions, and products should be biodegradable. With the intersection of sustainability and technology, more and more sustainable fabrics and materials are being made available, making your next pair jeans more environmentally friendly. We’ve created this guide to explore some of the more popular materials on the market and help you become a more environmentally conscious consumer! Recycled Materials Recycled Cotton Recycled cotton reduces the amount of new cotton being produced and used, and reduces the impact of cotton farming. Cotton farming not only requires 250 billion tons of water annually, but also heavily relies on pesticides. Some of our recycled cotton products include: Products pictured: drawstring bag | apron | notebook Recycled Polyester (rPET) Made from recycled plastic bottles, this process diverts plastic from landfills. Plastic is melted to make fibres, which can be turned into fabrics. These fabrics can then be turned into products such as t-shirts, reusable grocery bags, and backpacks! Products pictured: cap | umbrella | pen  Plant-Based Materials Hemp  Hemp is an eco-friendly crop, requiring little water, pesticide, or fertilizers to grow quickly. Fabrics are also biodegradable.  Products pictured: hemp tote | hemp beanie | hemp cap Bamboo Strong and durable, bamboo is another plant that grows quickly and easily, and doesn’t need pesticide or fertilizers. Bamboo can not only be used as a fabric, but for other eco-friendly goods, such as cutlery, toothbrushes, cutting boards, etc. Looking for bamboo products? Here are some of the bamboo products we carry. Products pictured: bamboo utensils | bamboo speakers | tumbler Cork Did you know cork comes from trees? Harvested from the bark of cork oak trees that grow in Mediterranean Europe and North Africa, cork is sustainable and renewable. Cork is naturally elastic, fire resistant, cushioning, anti-microbial, biodegradable, and buoyant, making it a fantastic material for items such as shoes, and leather and wood alternatives. Products pictured: cork cooler bag | cork ceramic mug | recycled cotton and cork bound notebook Linen Produced from the flax plant, linen uses less resources than cotton. Whereas 2,700 litres of water are required to make a cotton shirt, a linen shirt will only require 6.4 litres of water. Linen is not...

Image with text overlay that reads "eco friendly"

What does a sustainable manufacturing process look like? To be considered sustainable, a company or product should: use less water and energy during production, use materials made from renewable resources or waste products, have reduced chemical waste and emissions, and products should be biodegradable. With the intersection of sustainability and technology, more and more sustainable fabrics and materials are being made available, making your next pair jeans more environmentally friendly.

We’ve created this guide to explore some of the more popular materials on the market and help you become a more environmentally conscious consumer!

Recycled Materials

Recycled Cotton

Recycled cotton reduces the amount of new cotton being produced and used, and reduces the impact of cotton farming. Cotton farming not only requires 250 billion tons of water annually, but also heavily relies on pesticides.

Some of our recycled cotton products include:

Apparel made from recycled cotton

Products pictured: drawstring bag | apron | notebook

Recycled Polyester (rPET)

Made from recycled plastic bottles, this process diverts plastic from landfills. Plastic is melted to make fibres, which can be turned into fabrics. These fabrics can then be turned into products such as t-shirts, reusable grocery bags, and backpacks!Products made from recycled polyester

Products pictured: cap | umbrella | pen 

Plant-Based Materials

Hemp 

Hemp is an eco-friendly crop, requiring little water, pesticide, or fertilizers to grow quickly. Fabrics are also biodegradable. 

Bag, beanie, and cap made from hemp

Products pictured: hemp tote | hemp beanie | hemp cap

Bamboo

Strong and durable, bamboo is another plant that grows quickly and easily, and doesn’t need pesticide or fertilizers. Bamboo can not only be used as a fabric, but for other eco-friendly goods, such as cutlery, toothbrushes, cutting boards, etc.

Looking for bamboo products? Here are some of the bamboo products we carry.

utensils, speakers, and tumbler made from bamboo

Products pictured: bamboo utensils | bamboo speakers | tumbler

Cork

Did you know cork comes from trees? Harvested from the bark of cork oak trees that grow in Mediterranean Europe and North Africa, cork is sustainable and renewable. Cork is naturally elastic, fire resistant, cushioning, anti-microbial, biodegradable, and buoyant, making it a fantastic material for items such as shoes, and leather and wood alternatives.

Cooler bag, mug, and notebook made from cork

Products pictured: cork cooler bag | cork ceramic mug | recycled cotton and cork bound notebook

Linen

Produced from the flax plant, linen uses less resources than cotton. Whereas 2,700 litres of water are required to make a cotton shirt, a linen shirt will only require 6.4 litres of water. Linen is not only a great choice for clothing, but also for bedding, aprons, bags, napkins, etc.

hat, notebook, and bag made from linen

Products pictured: linen cap | linen notebook | linen bag

Other Sustainable Materials

Biodegradable Ingredients

Biodegradable refers to products that can be broken down quickly by microorganisms, fungi, or bacteria, and safely leave nothing behind. For an item to be considered biodegradable, at least 70% of organic ingredients need to break down within 28 days.

zero waste dish soap bar Low waste shampoo bar

This no-waste shampoo bar and dish soap bar are plastic free, and made with 100% biodegradable ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, and lemon essential oil.

Biodegradable Resins

To reduce dependence on traditional plastics, biodegradable resins are derived from plants such as corn and soybeans, making them biodegradable and compostable. They are widely used as plastic substitutes for items such as single-use plastics (e.g. cutlery, disposable food packaging), cosmetics, and medical products. 

Biodegrable lip balm and pens

Products pictured: lip balm packaing made from potato| pens made from corn starch | pens made from coffee grounds | pens made from stone

Seed Paper Offcuts

Seed paper is an eco-friendly paper made with recycled materials embedded with plant (e.g. wildflower) seeds. After the paper is used, it can be planted.

Wristbands made from seed paper

Other products: Plantable calendar | notepad

Recycled Paper 

What happens to paper after it has been recycled? To reduce deforestation and paper going to landfills, recycled paper has been used for many purposes, such as being turned back into paper products (office paper, greeting cards, magazines), packaging and containers, and even fabrics!

Similarly, washable paper, derived from plant fibres, is another eco-friendly option that has been used as a leather alternative to make anything from bags to wallets.

backpack and fanny pack made of washable paper

Products pictured: backpack made with washable paper | fanny bag made with washable paper

Wheat Straw

Wheat straw is a byproduct from grain harvesting, and when the leftover stalks are used to make plastic, it becomes compostable! It is most commonly used for straws, but is great for other plastic replacements.

Sunglasses, lip balm, and utensils made from wheat straw

Products pictured: plastic and wheat straw sunglasses | lip balm with wheat straw container | wheat straw utensils

Fabrics and Materials to Avoid

Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, rayon, spandex, acrylic, nylon, and rayon are made from petroleum and/or coal-based chemicals, making their production harmful to the environment. Materials to avoid would include products made with new plastic.

 

In honour of Earth Day, we’re focusing on sustainability tips this week. If you missed it, here are:

You can find all the products listed above, and more, in our Boss Promotions Earth Day catalogue!