Thoughts about Clothes

We know that the plastic wrapping our food needs to recyclable but what about the textiles we use to wrap ourselves ?

We like our clothes to be comfortable, well fitting and, probably, colourful. Retailing them is seen as important for the national Economy and provides employment and income for many. Retailers try to make shopping a fun experience and, for many shoppers, it is.

Unfortunately, most clothes are made from ‘plastic’ (e.g. polyester, nylon, acrylic and rayon). They shed fibres when washed at home and when they break down in landfill waste. An estimate is that landfill waste contains 8%  textile waste. Worldwide the seas and beaches now contain minute plastic fibres and particles as well as larger more visible plastic items.

Natural fibres are better. We already have “organic” types of hemp, cotton and linen. There is some research into new “sustainable” fibres. Examples are “Lyocell” from wood pulp, “Pinatex” from pineapple leaf fibre, “Qmonos” which is artificial spider silk. Please let me know when you see any of these in a shop !

“Bamboo” already appears on clothes. It is said, however, that a lot of chemicals are used to change the cane into a form suitable for textiles.

We can look for labels such as “sustainable” when shopping. These are sometimes misleading. “Greenwashing” is a term used for pretending your product is more environmentally friendly than it really is.

There are organisations which certify products. They have initials such as ISO and GOTS.                                                                                 Peter Johnstone