Viscose is often touted as an eco-friendly material, but it comes with its own set of pros and cons. If you want to avoid it, what are some sustainable alternatives to viscose to look out for?
What’s up with conventional viscose?
As one of the most widely used fabrics in the world, you’ve likely heard of the semi-synthetic material known as viscose, a type of rayon. Made from wood cellulose and processed with chemicals to create a durable and versatile fabric, viscose is touted as an environmentally-friendly alternative to other harmful threads like conventional cotton and polyester. But while viscose is not inherently toxic or polluting, it comes with its own set of pros and cons, much like any other fabric.
There are two main concerns with viscose production: the source of the wood pulp and how it is turned into usable fabric. Unless certified by companies like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or produced by LENZING™, it is difficult to know if your new silky top contributed to the deforestation of vulnerable forests or released toxic chemicals into the air and waterways near factories. That is a gamble many conscious consumers aren’t willing to take. So, what are the alternatives?
Sustainable alternatives to viscose
As always, using what you have and opting for second hand are your most sustainable choices. But when you do need to buy new and want to make the best choice possible, what are some better alternatives to viscose? And which “Good” or “Great” brands are incorporating them into their designs?
As technology progresses, new materials are created, such as ECOVERO™. Produced by LENZING™, this innovative fabric is made using sustainable wood from controlled sources, which are either Forest Stewardship Council or Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes certified in Europe. More than 60% of the trees used to produce the fibre come from Austria and Bavaria to ensure lower emissions. Nearly all the chemicals used during the production of ECOVERO™ are also recovered and reused, causing 50% less emissions and taking up half as much energy and water.