|Bamboo||Organic cotton||Jute||Ramie||Fair Trade|
|Hemp||Hessian||Organic wool||Ecospun||Synthetic leather|
Bamboo is a fast growing, woody, perennial grass. Bamboo is self-sustaining and regenerates without replanting. Bamboo tolerates extremes, generates 30% more oxygen than trees and is a critical element in the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because of its wide spread root system and large canopy, bamboo greatly reduces rain run off and prevents massive soil erosion. Bamboo has thousands of uses, some uses include paper, furniture, clothing, furniture, kitchen utensils, pens, chopsticks, mats, baskets, shades, wall paneling, tiles, flooring, skyscaper scaffolding, diesel fuels, medicines for asthma, umbrellas, musical instruments, fans, fishing poles and ladders.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis (emphasis on variety, not the variety that some use for "pharmaceutical" purposes) that is grown for its fiber. Hemp fiber can be used to make rope, canvas, paper, textiles, plastics and construction materials. Like bamboo, Hemp is a very hearty plant that grows very quickly. It is illegal to grow hemp in the United States for commercial purposes.
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low environmental impact. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Ten percent of all agricultural chemicals in the United States are used to produce conventional cotton. Conventional cotton crops are dusted every year with millions of pounds of chemicals. Research shows that extensive and intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, soil additives, defoliants and other substances wreak terrible havoc on soil, water, air and many living things.
Viscose, also known as rayon, is a semi-natural fabric made from a combination of natural and man-made components. Viscose is made by treating cellulose pulp (cellulose commonly derived from wood, but can also come from bamboo) with caustic soda. Viscose has a silky appearance and feel, and also has the ability to breathe (unlike polyester), in a manner similar to natural fabrics. Viscose is used for many types of textile products, including clothing. In addition to being an inexpensive material to use in lightweight clothing, viscose can also be used for such textiles as tablecloths, napkins, furniture slipcovers, and sheeting.
Jute is a type of plant fiber used to make common household items such as rope, twine, curtains, sacks, hessian cloth, and carpets. Although Jute tends to be rough in texture, fine threads of it are sometimes used to create imitation silk. In addition, it is increasingly being looked at as an alternative source for making paper, rather than cutting down trees for pulp. The thread created from jute is quite strong, yet it is among the cheapest of natural fibers available.
In order for wool to be certified as "organic," it must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production. Federal requirements for organic livestock production include: (1) Livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation must be certified organic; (2) Use of synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited; (3) Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures) is prohibited, and (4) Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices. Organic livestock management is different from non-organic management in at least two major ways: 1) sheep cannot be dipped in parasiticides (insecticides) to control external parasites such as ticks and lice, and 2) organic livestock producers are required to ensure that they do not exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land on which their animals graze
Tencel is the brand name for a biodegradedable fabric made from wood pulp cellulose. It is very similar in look and feel to viscose and rayon.
Ramie is a flowering plant native to eastern Asia. It is havested to produce fibers of the same name. Pure ramie is very strong, resistant to mold and bacteria, lustrous, and it holds its shape very well. However, the fibers are also stiff, not terribly elastic, and sometimes difficult to work with because they can be very brittle.
Calico is a plain, woven textile made from unbleached, and often not fully processed, cotton. The fabric is less coarse and thick than canvas or denim, but owing to its unfinished and undyed appearance, it is still very cheap.
Ecospun is the brand name for a polyester fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. It can be used to create various fabrics. It can be used by itself, or it can be blended with other fibers such as cotton or wool.
Organic linen refers to linen that is made from plant fibers as opposed to synthetic means. But more importantly, the plants have been grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. The term “linen” is often used in a generic sense to describe a certain textiles such as bedding, table cloths, towels, etc. This is quite a general use of the term and it doesn’t refer to what the term “linen” was originally used for. Linen originally referred to yarn and fabric made from flax fibers (from the flax plant). These days linen could be made from flax fibers, cotton, hemp, or it could be synthetic. Therefore, the term linen is now a little ambiguous. Pure linen is actually made from flax fibers.
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine,fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers, and gold. Fair trade is also associated with the trade justicemovement, which advocates for fair trade public policies.
Synthetic leather, or PU leather, is bicast leather with a layer of polyurethane applied to the surface and then embossed to mimic the look and texture of real leather. Synthetic leather is easier to clean and maintain.