Natural Fibres

THE BENEFITS OF NATURAL FIBRES

Over the past half century the use of natural fibres has been displaced by mass produced man-made synthetic fibres created to substitute natural fibres which have been used since the dawn of time. The prime motive is cost, the facility with which they may be produced on an industrial level, their greater uniformity and the ease with which they may be customized to specific applications.

So why use natural fibres? What are the benefits?

As their name indicates they are 100% natural, which initially means that they are a healthier option. We are all familiar with the “breathing” and thermal qualities of clothes made of linen, wool and cotton, not to mention the hygienic and antibacterial properties of hemp and linen etc. The softness and freshness of natural fibres and their natural, pleasant touch distinguishes them clearly from synthetic fibres.

Undoubtedly there is nothing fresher or more hygenic than linen for sheets, bedspreads or upholstery. Ideal for the skin, it doesn’t irrititate or produce allergies, contrary to certain synthetic fibres. In addition several studies have shown that sleeping on linen sheets is very healthy, produces a greater sense of wellbeing and provokes a deeper sleep cycle as, contrary to synthetic fibres, linen releases negative ions renowned for their healing properties and their ability to boost our biological defenses. Natural fibre fabrics clearly improve our quality of life.

These fibres are the direct produce of nature itself. In the case of vegetable fibres on coming directly from the land their quality will depend on the year’s crop; if the crop is of a high quality then the quality of the fibre will be equally high whereas to the contrary the fibre will probably show irregularities and imperfections and it will be difficult to find two yarns exactly the same. Linen is commonly known as a “noble” fabric because of the transparency of its origens –100% natural – its irregular aspect confirms it.

Natural fibres are a sustainable option allowing us to advance towards a green economy based on energy efficiency, with more ecological and sustainable industrial processes that minimize waste. Natural fibres are a renewable resource, par excellence, their harvesting and production process requiring lesser quantities of energy than those involved in the production of synthetic fibres. In addition, they generate far less carbon dioxide hence reducing environmental contamination. During processing, they generate sub-products and residues which may be used to produce compound materials for varying uses. And, more importantly, at the end of their life cycle, they are 100% biodegradable.

More importantly, the cultivation, processing and production of natural fibres provide a major means of survival to millions of farmers and producers in developing countries, such as the cotton sector in Africa, jute in Bangladesh or India, silk in China, alpaca in the Andes, etc. The increasing international demand for natural fibres in the production of textile fibres and other products favours the economic growth of these countries, promoting investment in sector industries hence allowing them to gain access to the international market on equal terms.

The major challenge of natural fibres is to obtain fabrics that are 100% sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable throughout their entire life cycle, from their initial processing to their elimination – a true matter of consciousness for cultivators, textile producers and, of course, for the final consumers.

More information:   http://www.naturalfibres2009.org/es/index.htm