Sustainability has become more than just a buzzword – it’s a way of doing business that pays off. Are you looking for new bedding? Sustainable fabrics are not only better for the environment, but natural and eco friendly sheets are also more breathable, absorbent, and comfortable – so better for your sleep too!
Silk, cotton, polyester is whatever good or not good fabric we all know, but do you ever heard about Tencel™ before? Or do you come across the name from some shopper or magazine?
But if you’ve been exploring the world of sustainable fabrics and clothing, you likely have seen the word TENCEL™ before. But what is TENCEL™, and is it actually sustainable? You will find out through this post from Tunatutu.
100% Organic cotton
Organic cotton is buttery-soft, and gets even softer with each washing. It's stronger and more durable than most other fabrics. Not only is choosing organic a smart choice for your baby now, but it is also an investment in their future. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms, meaning there is minimal harm done to the planet your child will grow up to live on.
Do you want to sleep cool in summer and warm in winter? Silk will be your perfect choice. Soothing and luxurious, silk bedding provides a breathable and indulgent nights sleep. Its light, soft feel comforts the skin, while its natural properties wick away excess moisture from the body, helping to prevent hot flushes throughout the night.
Cosy without being heavy, silk bedding is an ideal choice for the winter; being both gentle on the skin and supremely warm. In fact, silk bedding is so divinely light you won't be able to believe how effectively it keeps out the cold.
Standing out from a crowd of fiber in the market is not easy, but Sorona did it. Not only has Sorona high- performance itself, but also Sorona is eco-friendly indeed. With using the Sorona® filled blanket, you will still feel cuddled, but stay cool. Fantastic, right?
TENCEL™ is a brand that creates fibres made from renewable wood sources using highly sustainable production practices. The brand is part of the Lenzing™ Group, experts in ethical production of special fibres, with 80 years of history.
There are two types of fibre that sit under the TENCEL™ brand: TENCEL™ Modal and TENCEL™ Lyocell. Both fibres are used extensively in the industry thanks to their versatility (which I go into in more detail below) and used for everything from dresses to trainers, and from activewear to bedding. While modal and lyocell are part of a group widely known as ‘regenerated cellulose fibres,’ TENCEL™ brand of fibres are actually biodegradable and compostable and after a long lifespan TENCEL™ Modal and TENCEL™ Lyocell can finish their life cycle by naturally decomposing and feeding the ecosystem.
As well as their strong sustainability credentials, both of these fibres have a natural comfort, are gentle on the skin and can help to regulate your body temperature thanks to their moisture management properties.
Tencel™ is an environmentally-friendly material created from sustainably-sourced eucalyptus trees. It’s made using a unique drying method called spinning, using eucalyptus wood pulp. The ground pulp is mixed with a chemical solvent, which is then pushed through small holes in a spinneret nozzle to create wood cellulose fibers. The cellulose fibers are chemically treated before they’re spun into thread and woven into a fabric.
TENCEL™ stands out as an extremely breathable, temperature regulating and absorbent fabric. Lyocell fibres can wick excess moisture away quickly, keeping the body cool during sleep in a wide variety of climates. With our TENCEL™ bedding, you can be sure to stay cool throughout and have less worries over night sweats disrupting your sleep.
What's more? Thanks to the natural structure of the lyocell fibre, TENCEL™ is most well known for how it feels - exceptionally luxurious and smooth on the skin. With a silky smooth hand feel, it’s more gentle than regular cotton and linen, thus making it beneficial for babies, and those with sensitive skin or allergies. As a naturally derived fibre, TENCEL™ is also hypoallergenic. Soft as a cloud, light and breezy - just the perfect environment for a peaceful night of sleep.
You also don't need to feel stressed about odour or bacteria ever again. TENCEL™ fibres have perfect moisture management which reduces bacteria proliferation without the need for any chemical additives.
Tencel™ is made from sustainably managed eucalyptus plantations. Eucalyptus trees can grow up to 100 feet within ten years. Plus, the constant harvest and growth of these trees won’t degrade the soil.
Like cotton, Tencel™ is made from plant materials; however, unlike cotton, Tencel™ requires less water and uses less energy. Companies can recycle and reuse unused materials through REFIBRA™ technology to create Tencel fibers, so there’s less waste. Also, since Tencel is a naturally-derived fiber, it’s biodegradable.
You know all about organic food and avoiding harsh pesticides on what you eat. You might even shop organic for your skincare and cosmetic products to avoid harmful chemicals you place on your skin and body. But have you thought about the difference between organic and conventional bedding? Why organic bedding?
For the same reason that you choose organic milk, organic carrots, and organic shampoo. Organic bedding is a healthier option manufactured without harmful chemicals, and organic cotton specifically is healthier for the planet. It takes less water to produce organic cotton compared to conventional, and organic cotton isn’t treated with the toxic chemical pesticides or harsh chemical cleaners and fabric treatments that conventional bedding can be exposed to.
Organic cotton isn’t perfect, as it still uses up resources, but it’s far better for the environment than its conventional counterpart.
According to About Organic Cotton, a resource funded by the textile sustainability nonprofit Textile Exchange, it uses 88 percent less water than conventional cotton. According to environmental activist group Hubbub, it’s up to 91 percent less. That’s because most of it is grown in rain-fed areas, reducing the pressure on other water supplies.
Organic cotton is also kinder to the soil. According to the Organic Trade Association, when cotton is farmed organically, crop rotation strategies and soil building practices are used. This keeps the soil healthy, which in turn is good for the climate. Healthy soil helps pull carbon from the atmosphere.
Organic cotton production also uses zero toxic chemicals. The latter is nonnegotiable because pesticides are actually banned in organic cotton production. Instead, crop rotation helps to protect plants from diseases and other threats, like pests.
Because cotton is a plant, it’s naturally biodegradable. But whether that process helps the environment or not depends on the type. When non-organic cotton biodegrades, all of the chemicals used to treat it go back into the earth, causing damage to local habitats. Birds and other animals may end up digesting the toxins.
Organic cotton, on the other hand, is untreated with chemicals. So when it breaks down, it’s less harmful to the earth. Organic cotton takes up to five months to biodegrade.
If you have bought fabrics in the past which have irritated your skin, organic cotton will be a better choice for you. It is known that various skin allergies relate directly to the chemicals used in non-organic cotton farming, so switching to more organic fabrics can help you see a significant improvement. Organic cotton products are softer and safer for the skin, as the fibres are much longer, compared to regular cotton. Its benefits for the skin also make it a better choice for baby clothes due to its softness and the lack of harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
Cotton’s breathability is another important quality when it comes to enjoying a good night’s sleep. Sheets composed of polyester and other synthetic fabrics don’t allow air to pass through, which might result in a hot and humid night.
For those who frequently wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot and sweaty, breathable natural textiles like cotton might help you sleep better. Conversely, cotton can provide warmth if your body temperature drops too low.
You could believe that by choosing natural fibers over synthetic fabrics, you are doing the right thing for the environment. However, even fibers that are generated have a cost associated with them. The non-organic, intense production of cotton and other natural fibers has a negative impact on the fragile soil ecology on which we all rely for survival.
The agricultural land on our planet has already been classified as deteriorated or severely degraded on a scale ranging from one billion to six billion hectares. Organic cotton farms that use no-till and soil cover methods greatly minimize soil erosion and topsoil loss, allowing our soils to be better protected in the long run.
Using organic cotton instead of conventional cotton is better for the environment since it is more environmentally friendly. Because it lowers soil erosion and water use and protects soil quality, it saves money and decreases environmental impact.
The Organic Factor uses organic cotton in a wide range of products. Their organic cotton sheets are GOTS certified and are available in various colors and sizes to suit the needs of the average American. Because the sheets are woven using Extra Long Staple Cotton, they last for a considerably longer period.
When you choose organic cotton products, you are assured of a peaceful night of sleep. You can also contribute to a more sustainable future by purchasing organic cotton bedding from Tunatutu.
What is mulberry silk?
Silk is a Natural animal protein formed by certain kinds of worms. These worms are actually grown in captivity, and the cocoons they spin are used to make silk threads. These same threads are then woven into the beautiful and lustrous silk cloth. These clothes can bed bedding or cloths
Ever heard of the phrase “Queen of Textiles”? Well, this is what silk has been referred to as for more than 4,000 years. To quote Oscar de la Renta: "Silk does for the body what diamonds do for the hand." After all, it is the ultimate fabric that simply exudes sophistication.
China dominated the silk industry for many years, and initially the material was reserved for the Emperor. The Chinese used silk as a form of currency, and cost was measured in lengths of silk. The Silk Road, which connected industries from the East to the West, was a popular trading route named for the material, and that region of the world, still maintains the name today.
How is silk made?
Here is a step-by-step guide to the fascinating process in which silk is produced…
This is the term used to describe the process of gathering the silkworms and harvesting the cocoon to collect the materials.
Female silk moths lay anything from around 300 – 500 eggs at anyone time. These eggs eventually hatch to form silkworms, which are incubated in a controlled environment until they hatch into larvae (caterpillars).
The silkworms feed continually on a huge amount of mulberry leaves to encourage growth. It takes around 6 weeks to grow to their full potential (about 3 inches). At this time, they’ll stop eating and begin to raise their heads – that’s when they’re ready to spin their cocoon.
Attached to a secure frame or tree, the silkworm will begin spinning its silk cocoon by rotating its body in a figure-8 movement around 300,000 times – a process which takes around 3 to 8 days. Each silkworm produces just one single strand of silk, which measures about 100 metres long and is held together by a type of natural gum, called sericin.
2. Thread extraction
Once the silkworms have spun their cocoon, they will eventually enclose themselves inside it and then it’s time to extract the silk threads.
The cocoons are placed into boiling water in order to soften and dissolve the gum that is holding the cocoon together. This is a crucial step in the silk production process as it ensures that there is no damage to the continuity of each thread.
Each thread is then carefully reeled from the cocoon in individual long threads, which are then wound on a reel. Some of the sericin may still remain on the threads to protect the fibres during processing, but this is usually washed out with soap and boiling water.
When the silk threads have been washed and degummed, they will be bleached and dried before the dyeing process commences.
Traditional silk dyeing techniques take the dyes from natural resources found in the surrounding environment, such as fruit or indigo plant leaves. The threads will be soaked together in bundles, inside a pot of hot indigo leaves and water. This process will occur multiple times over a span of days to ensure proper colour tone and quality.
However, these traditional dyeing methods have almost become extinct in the commercial manufacturing of silk. Advances in technology mean that manufacturers instead opt for using various dyes such as acid dyes or reactive dyes. This gives a greater range of choice in colours and shades to be able to serve wider demand.
That being said, the general idea behind the technique remains similar as the silk is immersed in a dye bath to soak up the colour. The silk may be fed into the bath through two cylinders, or fixed to a round jig which is immersed in the bath.
In many cases, this will be one of the last steps of the processes as manufacturers generally now prefer piece-dyeing in an attempt to reduce waste. By holding plain white stock ready to be dyed, it reduces the need to hold too much stock in specific colours that have not been ordered and so may never be used.
The traditional spinning wheel has always, and will always be an integral part of the silk production process. Although updated industrial processes are now able to spin silk threads much quicker, it simply mimics the functions of the classic spinning wheel.
The process of spinning essentially unwinds the dyed fibres on to a bobbin, so that they lay flat ready for the weaving process. This can be done in many different ways from hand-spinning to ring-spinning and mule spinning.
Weaving is the process in which the final piece of silk comes together. There are many different ways in which silk can be woven – satin weave, plain weave and open weave are most common, and the finish of the silk will depend on the type of weave.
Generally, weaving involves interlacing two sets of threads so that they lock around each other and create a strong, uniform piece of fabric. The threads will be woven at right angles to each other, and the two different angles are called a warp and a weft. The warp will run up and down the fabric, while the weft runs across it.
Silk is known for its beautiful drape and absorbent nature, along with other positive factors, including:
- Texture. Silk is incredibly soft with a flattering sheen, giving it a high-end and luxurious appeal.
- Strength and durability. It is also one of the strongest natural fibers, though some of its strength diminishes upon getting wet. Silk is often blended with other fibers, such as cotton, for added sturdiness.
- Elasticity. The material’s flexibility makes it ideal for garments and upholstery.
- Absorbency. Silk is one of the most absorbent fabrics, therefore it handles moisture well in clothing items.
- Static cling. Since the material does not conduct electricity well, it can experience a lot of static.
- Shrinkage. The fabric shrinks in the wash so a silk clothing item should always be dry-cleaned or the material should be washed before the clothing item is constructed.
China holds a dominant position as the world’s largest silk manufacturer. At 146,000 metric tonnes of silk per year, this East Asian nation vastly outstrips its largest competitor, India, which only produces 28,708 metric tonnes of silk every year.
Uzbekistan comes in at third place, and Thailand is fourth in silk production worldwide. China is the world’s largest silk market as well as the largest producer of this textile, and the United States and European Union also consume a lot of the silk produced in India and China.
Since silk is a natural fiber, it is inherently sustainable and non-damaging to the environment. The harvesting and production of wild silk does not have any negative environmental impact.
Dupont™ Sorona® is an eco-efficient performance fiber made in part from annually renewable plant-based ingredients. It is used primarily in fiber applications, including textiles for apparel and home, office and automotive interiors, residential and commercial carpeting and automotive mats. Sorona® fiber is a comfort stretch knitwear and woven material with soft, flexible, and stain resistant properties. It's spandex-FREE, yet provides exceptional stretch and recovery even after repeated stretches and washes. Sorona® fibers used for fabrics in T-shirt and hoodies also provide softness and volume, are quick to dry and resist fading for long-lasting, vibrant colors. Sorona® is produced with PDO—a building block with endlessly versatile potential— and using a biological process. 37% of the polymer is made using annually renewable plant-based ingredients. The revolutionary Bio-PDO compound turns a formerly chemical process into an eco-efficient biological one. Compared to Nylon 6 it uses 30% less energy and releases 63% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
The process begins by harvesting crops and then extracting sugar or glucose from them. Microorganisms are added to the glucose to begin a fermentation process (similar to the process of alcohol). Fermentation replaces chemical synthesis, producing PDO (1,3-Propanediol) in a natural way. TPA (terephthalic acid) is added to the Bio-PDO, creating a molecular bond. The result is Sorona®: a revolutionary, high-performance polymer whose positive impact is felt by yarn spinners, manufacturers, designers, and consumers across the globe.
Unique to the Sorona® fiber is its composition - its stretch is mechanical, not chemical. This means the stretch is permanent, maintaining a high level of elasticity and recovery wear after wear, wash after wash. It also maintains its recovery when exposed to heat, UV, or chlorine; and it dries nearly twice as fast as Spandex.
Sorona® continues to perform because its stretch is durable and not impacted by day-to-day use. And with the natural quality of Sorona®, bedding becomes effortlessly soft and endlessly flexible; it moves with you, doesn’t wear out and feels as comfortable as you do in your own skin. This revolutionary fiber is keeping clothing in consumers’ closets and out of landfills, making fast fashion a relic of last season.
For DuPont Biomaterials, sustainability necessarily includes performance. While bio-based, recyclable and biodegradable ingredients can be key factors critical to reducing environmental impact, if they break down with everyday wear and tear, they’re only part of the solution. Materials need to also have strong performance benefits that will enable garments to be long-lasting – and help limit the growing textile waste issue in landfills.