7 New Materials that are changing the face of conscious consumerism
The term eco-friendly can unanimously be defined as anything that does not harm theenvironment. Sustainability has come down to be the need of the hour than ever before. Fromclimate change to drought, to rise in the temperature and no show of rainfall, what waspredicted to be as a problem for the future generations has presented itself way sooner thanexpected, thus proving how horrid reality is.
Keeping in mind the present conditions and the future predictions, we've compiled a list ofseven eco-friendly materials that have the potential to lead to a greener tomorrow.
Who would've thought fungus could be a solution to trillions of pieces of plastics ruining theenvironment? Mycelium or mushroom roots have been playing a vital role in making theprocess of packaging as environment friendly as possible. Unlike polystyrene packaging,mushroom-based packaging naturally biodegrades in a compost within weeks. It providesprotective packaging to ship a range of products from wines to delicate electronics. In fact atDell, mushroom packaging serves as a sustainable, recyclable packaging material.
Another component used at Dell for product packaging is bamboo. Besides packaging, bamboois also used for fabrics. The fabric has natural antibacterial properties, and is biodegradable. Theonly downside to this may be the fact that toxic chemicals could be used to turn the plant intofabric."Rayon from bamboo is strong, naturally wrinkled resistant and machine washable."
3. Soy Fiber
Eco-friendly soy silk is made from soy protein, a by-product of tofu manufacturing. Soy clothingis also titled as 'vegetable cashmere' or 'soy silk'. Though the concept of this fabric is relativelynew, it is steadily making itself known worldwide. Soy fiber can be blended with other fibers toenhance the benefits of each. Organic soy crops are grown without fertilizers, pesticides, andherbicides. Soy agriculture is an ecologically safe option as fertility is added back to the soilinstead.Soy Silk yarn knitted.
4. Alpaca fiber
Alpaca is a soft fabric similar to wool, but notably different with respect to its impact on theenvironment. Alpaca fiber, unlike wool, does not contain allergen. Hence, no harsh washing isrequired. The fiber is resistant to pilling and won't shrink with proper care. Also, alpacaranching has a reasonably low impact on the environment.
5. Organic Cotton
From H&M to the Gap, organic cotton has gained its fair share of recognition."Supporting the organic cotton industry is a big green step. It's not just your own health you'resupporting when you buy organic cotton but also an economy and a method of agriculturethat's good for the planet."- Rob Grand, owner of Grassroots Environmental ProductsOrganic cotton clothing has no harmful chemicals involved in its production, making it a perfectwear for all skin types. Its production also helps maintain soil fertility, and promotes balance ofecosystem.
Hemp is an annual herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa, meaning useful hemp. Itreplaces trees as the source of raw material for wood and paper, thereby conserving forests.Only one acre of hemp can produce as much paper annually as 4 acres of trees. It’s also a high-yield crop that produces significantly more fiber per acre than either cotton or flax, creatingone of the most eco friendly fabrics in the world. Hemp can be made into essentially anything -From paper, clothes, and construction materials to even building cars! Fabrics made of hemp donot have any chemical residue, and is therefore safer for consumers. Hemp products can berecycled, reused and are 100% biodegradable.
7. Pineapple Leaf Fibers
“I was looking for an alternative to leather. That was the beginning of my thinking. ‘What isgoing to be in these beautiful bags that is not leather?’”Ananas Anam, a B2B company with a positive social impact, has developed an innovative,natural and sustainable non-woven textile called Piñatex™ made from pineapple leaf fibers. The"leather" comes from the tropical fruit's waste plant fibers and is both durable andbiodegradable, making it a great alternative to animal leather. The fibers that make up Piñatexare extracted from pineapple leaves on farmsteads by farmers before they are cut up andlayered. They are then put through an industrial process at the end of which emerges thetextile. A byproduct of the process is a biomass which can be converted into fertilizer, givingadditional income to the farmers..
(Goods made from leather-alternative Pinatex. Product prototypes: shoe by Camper (gold details), shoeby Puma, brown clutch bag by Ally Capellino, ywo iPhone covers by Carmen Hijosa, Backpack+ iPadcover by Smithmattias.) Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Go ahead, make a choice you'd be proud of!
Do you know of any other such materials? Let us know down in the comment section below!