Its not only beer that is fermented these days but fabrics as well! Ingeo means “ingredients from the earth” and it is from these that an artificial fiber made from fermented corn is produced. This means not only is production kind to our world as it is a 100% renewable resource but at the end of the fibers life it is compostible. Now we can not only eat corn but wear it too. Another man made fiber that comes from and edible source is soybean fiber. Of course Tencel is a well established fiber in the market which is derived from wood pulp which means it is also environmentally friendly.
Although there is a move to grow cotton organically there are many problems with the production of fibers such as cottoin. Organisations such as Greenpeace point out that in countries such as China cotton pests are becoming resistant to pesticides. It should be remembered that cotton still uses approximately 25% of the world’s insecticide.
This is not a simple black and white issue for instance corn farming also uses pesticides which undermines my comments about Ingeo and I could not find anything on their site to indicate that their corn was organically grown.
For a brief overview of the issues visit the Danish Environmental Protection Agency which covers many of these questions.
I have barely touched this complex subject but being aware of environmental issues associated with textiles in all the phases of its life from production, manufacture, use, and their disposal is a step forward.
Many textile practitioners live by a blind manta natural fiber good, man made bad, but I for one question the use of both and try to make my decisions accordingly. So for me sometimes it is a case of wrapping up in a man made fiber and saying cheers as not all man made fibers damage the environment.
I am interested in links on this issue. So if anyone out there has information on textiles and environment let me know.