The Search for Sustainable Fibre/Fabric Alternatives

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  • Topic: Cotton, Fiber, Hemp
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THE SEARCH FOR SUSTAINABLE FIBRE/FABRIC ALTERNATIVES

TEXTILE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & ENGINEERING (MANU 2091)
Abstract: An attempt to find two alternatives for cotton and nylon respectively that is sustainable within the scope of the chosen apparel

BY PRIYA PISHU HASSARAM S3351376 LECTURER: CHRIS WATSON 05TH SEPTEMBER 2012

MINOR ASSESSMENT REPORT

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This paper delves in to the performance characteristics of fibres within chosen apparel and the sustainable replacements for these fibres. In particular, the document explores various questions relating to the subject including: (1) what are the performance characteristics for each fibre in general and chosen apparel?, (2) how is it suitable as an alternative to the fibre?, (3) In what ways are the performance characteristics of fibre’s different from each other?

Today, we can look at the textile industry through the lens of sustainability. At present, the textiles industry is one of the highest in contributing towards landfill. The two most commonly used textiles fibre’s; cotton and nylon both causes serious environmental problems in their life cycle. Therefore, the report focuses on the aspect of sustainability within the fibre as replacements for cotton and nylon within the chosen apparel. The work is divided into two parts, Part A addresses cotton and Part B addresses nylon.

In specific a women’s underwear is the chosen apparel for cotton and the two possible replacements for that product are banana fibre and hemp. The replacement fibres are more comfortable, have better breathability, moisture absorbency, much lower in cost and 100% biodegradable in comparison to cotton which is essential performance characteristics needed for women’s underwear being a sensitive piece of apparel. However, for nylon, the apparel used is an outdoor men’s jacket. The sustainable alternatives for nylon are tencel and aerogel. The replacement fibres are chosen because they are biodegradable, have a good level of strength, abrasion resistant and high in insulation properties; all requirements for an outdoor jacket.

The textile industry should adopt a responsible attitude towards the environment and natural resources. Therefore, further development in sustainable production especially with fibres is highly recommended. These suggested replacements should be taken into consideration when producing apparel in the future. Support from all parts of the textile industry is needed to build an eco-friendly and sustainable world.

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................... 1 PART A – NATURAL FIBRE (COTTON) ...................................................................................... 2 Cotton History/Background ................................................................................................... 2 Cotton structure and characteristics ...................................................................................... 3 Properties ................................................................................................................................. 3 Advantages ............................................................................................................................... 4 Disadvantages .......................................................................................................................... 4 Unique to Cotton ...................................................................................................................... 5 CHOSEN APPAREL CHARACTERISTICS ..................................................................................... 6 Women’s Underwear ............................................................................................................ 6 Cotton’s role in the chosen apparel – Women’s Underwear ................................................... 7 REPLACEMENT FIBRE...
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