As the clamour for sustainable fashion increases, one textile fibre that is getting limelight now is Lyocell. You may not have heard about Lyocell yet, but it is quite possible that you might’ve heard about Tencel. It’s a bit like photocopy and Xerox where Tencel is the brand name whereas Lyocell is the generic name.

Before we get to why Lyocell is sustainable, let’s first understand what Lyocell exactly is.

What is Lyocell?

Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fibre that is made from the cellulose of trees like Eucalyptus, Birch, Oak and even Bamboo. Trees are cut down and chopped into small chips. These chips are then converted to pulp which is then passed through a series of processes (involving non-toxic chemicals like Amine Oxide or NMMO) and then converted to fibres. These fibres are then spun and converted to yarns which are then used to make fabrics.

Who makes these Fibres?

Several companies produce Lyocell fibers, with one of the primary manufacturers being Lenzing AG, a leading sustainable fiber producer committed to eco-friendly practices. Other notable companies include Birla Cellulose and Aditya Birla Group, contributing significantly to the production of Lyocell globally.

At Earthy Route, we use primarily fabrics made of Tencel branded Fibres.

Check out our blog on Tencel v/s Lyocell here.

Let us now take a look at why Tencel is environmentally friendly.

  • Production Process: The closed-loop production method used in creating Lyocell significantly minimizes environmental impact. Unlike conventional manufacturing processes that release harmful chemicals into the environment, Lyocell's closed-loop system recycles and reuses the non-toxic solvent, reducing chemical waste and pollution.
  • Sustainable Sourcing: Lyocell is primarily made from wood pulp derived from renewable sources like eucalyptus trees or other sustainably managed forests. This responsible sourcing ensures minimal impact on ecosystems and helps preserve forests. Branded Lyocell fibres are usually sourced FSC certified wood.
  • Water and Energy Efficiency: The production of Lyocell requires less water compared to cotton and many other fibers. As per a few sources, it takes less than 80% of water as compared to cotton to be produced. Additionally, the manufacturing process consumes less energy, contributing to reduced carbon emissions.
  • Biodegradability: Unlike synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon, Lyocell is biodegradable. At the end of its life cycle, it naturally decomposes without leaving harmful residues, thus minimizing environmental pollution.
  • Reduced Chemical Usage: The manufacturing of Lyocell involves fewer harsh chemicals compared to some other fabrics, making it a more eco-friendly choice. The solvent used (NMMO) in the closed-loop process is non-toxic and can be reused, reducing the release of harmful substances into the environment.

But why should you by Tencel clothing just because it is sustainable? Is Tencel functionally good? Yes! Let’s find out.

  • Softness: Known for its luxurious feel and gentle touch on the skin.
  • Breathability: Allows for better moisture absorption, keeping the wearer cool and dry.
  • Durability: Resistant to wrinkles and strong, ensuring longevity in clothing.
  • As compared to polyester, Lyocell is unfavorable for bacterial growth.

In short, you will experience amazing comfort in fabrics made of Lyocell fibres.


If Lyocell is so much better, can it replace the other fibres?

For all its merits even Lyocell has a few limitations. Lyocell production cannot be scaled rapidly because sustainably managed forests are limited. Nevertheless, Lyocell is an excellent fabric choice for those who want to make sustainable fashion choices while also enjoying functional benefits. So next time you're shopping for clothes, consider investing in Tencel clothing - the fabric of the future.

Check out the 100% Tencel Lyocell and Tencel – Linen Collections on Earthy Route and make your wardrobe classy and colorful.

    January 05, 2024 — Earthy Route

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    Is Lyocell biodegradable?

    Yes, Lyocell is biodegradable, breaking down naturally without harming the environment.

    How does Lyocell compare to cotton in terms of sustainability?

    Lyocell generally requires less water and pesticides compared to cotton, making it a more sustainable choice. The closed-loop production process minimizes environmental impact by recycling solvents and reducing chemical waste.

    Is Lyocell suitable for sensitive skin?

    Absolutely! Its smooth and soft texture makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin.

    Can Lyocell shrink in the wash?

    Lyocell is known for its excellent dimensional stability, so it's less prone to shrinkage compared to some other fibers.