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Is Cotton Really A Greener Option Than Polyester?

Feb 13th, 2017

When it comes to cotton vs polyester, many people think that the former is actually the greener option. However, when you break it down, that’s not always the case. Surprisingly, cotton isn’t the green material that everyone thinks it is. It’s not that cotton isn’t green when it’s in it’s purest form, it’s just that by the time it reaches us, it’s been tainted. In order to produce cotton, insecticides and other chemicals are used to control plant growth, fight insect infestations and make the leaves easy to strip for harvesting. These chemicals seep into waterways and pollute the air. Furthermore, when cotton is used to make materials such as textiles, the process is anything but green.

Is Cotton Really A Greener Option Than Polyester?

Why is polyester a greener option?

Regular polyester is made from petroleum. Yes, the same petroleum that is being depleted from the earth’s natural resources. Petroleum is a byproduct of processing oil and is not eco-friendly. However, recycled polyester is available and requires less processing than its traditional counterpart. Companies are coming up with ways to make polyester out of recycled plastic bottles and even old polyester itself. The water used to create recycled polyester fibre is such a minimal amount and the process used is closed-loop which means that toxic chemicals cannot enter the water supply during production.

Cotton vs polyester

When it comes to the production of the two materials, polyester has a lower energy impact than cotton. Plus, when it comes to your clothing, polyester requires less hot water to wash, takes less time to dry and rarely needs to be ironed. Cotton on the other hand can shrink in the wash and requires more drying time. Cotton can be washed cold but it is advised that you use hot water to keep the garment intact. This increases the energy you use in your household, making cotton the less green choice. Moreover, polyester is completely recyclable. Cotton is also recyclable (it can be turned into yarn or fabric) but the quality of the fibre is greatly reduced, whereas when polyester is recycled, the quality rarely changes.

There’s always an opportunity to upgrade your processes and come up with a more environmentally friendly way to create your products. For more information, contact the Club Ink team today!

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