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When it comes to choosing a superior fabric, cotton is what comes to our minds over polyester. But do you know which is better for the environment? The puzzlement lies in the fibre itself: polyester is synthetic and cotton is natural. We may be under the influence that everything natural isn’t harmful, therefore cotton is better, right? Not entirely.
Let’s be honest, fabrics are toxic to produce and the energy and water consumption to produce them is very high.
Cotton is a renewable source but this in itself does not mean the material is organic. Cotton production requires a vast amount of pesticide and insecticide. Alternatively, ‘organic cotton’ is marvelous as it requires no chemicals, but the material is still staggeringly water intensive.
In contrast, polyester requires far less water but is rather energy intensive. Polyester is made up of crude oil, therein results in global warming from greenhouse gases. Like the saying goes, “never judge a book by its cover”, similarly polyester is 100% recyclable. If you hate doing laundry then polyester is your best friend, since it is more stain-resistance and dries out relatively quicker.
Comparing the latter factors there seems to be no clear winner in terms of being environment friendly. The fashion/textile industry needs to become more eco-conscious. According to the life cycle of any garment, the “consumer use” is relatively more pollutant. The solution simply is achievable by educating and convincing the consumer to purchase more ecologically sustainable clothing, thus resulting in reduction in environmental impacts.
Since it is clearer that synthetic fabrics are not as harmful as cotton on the environment, customer education is crucial to improve the negative environmental footprints caused by textile production companies. Changes are the hardest thing to adopt by us humans but changes are not optional. So, ‘are you willing to change for the better?
Written by Shaurya Malasi