The startling statistics about clothing waste generated every year have called for taking conscious efforts to shop and wear more responsibly. However, given the complexity of making your wardrobe more sustainable, it can be very confusing and arduous. However, every change starts with a first step, and to make it easy for you we are highlighting various eco-friendly materials loved by our customers and team alike.
TENCEL™ is one such material we use at Baukjen, a versatile fibre you will find in incredibly soft jerseys and woven fabrics. It has a low environmental impact at source, whilst standing out for its vibrant colours and breathability.
What is TENCEL™?
TENCEL™ is a cellulosic fibre owned and produced by the Austrian company Lenzing AG. It is a brand name for two sets of fibres: TENCEL™ lyocell and TENCEL™ modal. Both are recognized as being eco-friendly due to their closed-loop production process which aligns with a circular economy material strategy.
TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are known for their natural comfort and being incredibly versatile, they can be used to create fabrics of a single fibre composition or in blends to add resistance and durability.
TENCEL™ Modal fibres are known for their natural soft quality and comfort to the skin due to thinner threads. These fibres are light, flexible, and versatile, offering endless design possibilities.
TENCEL™ fibres are part of a family known as man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCF) and are made of sustainably sourced wood pulp
What is TENCEL™ made of?
How can trees be turned into the fabric you might be thinking? Well, as the name hints the cellulose from the wood is extracted and used to create fibres that are then made into fabric.
Hardwood is mechanically broken into chips which are then fed into a vat with solvent to create a wet mixture. The water and chemicals used in this process are recycled at a recovery rate of 99%. The mix is then pushed through small holes to form threads, which are spun into yarn.
The hardwood used for this process is obtained from sustainably managed PEFC™ or FSC™ tree plantations which means that the production of TENCEL™ fibres does not contribute to any forest damaging activities, in fact, it also protects workers and combats climate change.
TENCEL™ Lyocell is a long and resistant fibre with some inherent shine, it is used as an alternative to silk and synthetic fibres.
Modal fibres are produced using the same production process however the thread is thinner, which makes it softer. The production process uses numerous innovative processes and ensures the use of renewable energy and recovery of the processed chemicals.
TENCEL™ Environmental Performance
Let us look at how TENCEL™ fibre performs on environmental parameters that we consider important. For this, we look at the data from the Higg’s Material Sustainability Index, according to which TENCEL™ material has 36% less impact in terms of carbon emissions and consumes 50% less water during production as compared to the conventional Lyocell fibres.
Talking about chemical use, due to the closed-loop production process, 99% of the water and solution are recovered and used repeatedly. TENCEL™ fabric also carries the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification, an international standard developed to certify that no harmful substances are contained in the fabric.
Lenzing, the firm that produces TENCEL™ fibres, has also been obliged with the prestigious EU-Ecolabel – an environmental quality seal for the labelling of products and services which show a lower environmental impact and health burden over their entire life cycle than comparable substitute goods. Lenzing outperformed the strict criteria for this which were related to greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and dealing with chemicals.
Further, Lenzing implements the Canopy pathway – an ambitious pathway to protect the planet for all life and it has also been ranked as a leader in the Canopy Style Initiative. You can check the Canopy Hot-Button on Lenzing here, or find out more about the work House of Baukjen does to fight deforestation and its partnership with Canopy here.
Properties of TENCEL™
TENCEL™ is famous for its feel-amazing factor due to its softness. TENCEL™ lyocell fabric has an excellent drape, it is light and versatile. These fabrics are easy to care about: they dry quickly and do not wrinkle easily – always a favourite property for the clothes we reach out to again and again. Read more about how to care for TENCEL™ and other Lyocell. It is also breathable, manages moisture and helps with regulating temperature. Thus, it is used in apparel, sportswear and even bedding.
Another reason we love TENCEL™ lyocell at Baukjen is that it holds dyes very well, meaning that you can get vibrant colours that are durable – and you know how much we love a good print! TENCEL™ Modal fibres are incredibly soft and are popular for apparel and loungewear.
Can TENCEL™ be considered a planet-friendly fabric?
The garment that we choose to shop and wear today might end up being in the landfill tomorrow and pollute our soil and water bodies. Thus, other than being sustainably sourced and responsibly produced, the fibres must be biodegradable and fully revert to nature. The Tencel fibres are certified as compostable and biodegradable on disposal which closes its life cycle loop and makes it more sustainable.
In fact, by reducing carbon emissions and using renewable energy during production, TENCEL™ has now gone beyond carbon offsetting to lower its carbon footprint, offering carbon-zero products certified as Carbon Neutral® products by Natural Capital Partners. So, if your garment reads carbon-zero TENCEL™ Lyocell/Modal fibres, it is carbon neutral!
Also, the TENCEL™ fibres used at Baukjen are produced in Europe and does not include any international travel, as a result, the transportation footprint of garments becomes significantly low.
Should you buy TENCEL™ products?
Yes, go for it!
TENCEL™ fibres are a feel-good, high-performing, breathable, and sustainable fabric that a responsible fashion enthusiast should wear.
Shop TENCEL™ by using the ‘Ingredients’ filter on our website or click here.
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