What is Lyocell and why is it better for Us?
For the longest time we have considered Cotton to be the most comfortable and preferred fabric for clothing. But there are close substitutes and better alternatives to Cotton both from environmental as well as experience point of view. One such fabric is Lyocell.
What is Lyocell?
Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fibre that is made from the cellulose of trees like Eucalyptus, Birch, Oak and even Bamboo. This fabric was first developed by American Enka fibres in USA in the year 1972.
Lyocell is considered to be a third generation Viscose fabric but the process used is much more ecofriendly as compared to the viscose process.
How is it made?
Amine oxide (NMMO) is a non-toxic chemical that is considered safe for people as well as the environment.
Why is it sustainable?
- Low Water consumption – Lyocell requires considerably less water as compared to the production of Cotton.
- Less Pesticides – You may have heard that Cotton is prone to Boll worm infestations and other pests and hence lot of pesticides are used in growing cotton. This pesticide then mixes with water bodies compounding the problem. That is not an issue with Lyocell as the trees require negligible pesticides
- Biodegradable & Compostable – Like cotton, linen but unlike polyester, Lyocell is naturally biodegradable
- Non Toxic Chemicals – the chemical used in manufacturing Lyocell – NMMO (amine oxide) - is non toxic and is considered safe for Humans and environment.
Closed Loop Process – The manufacturing of lyocell employs a closed loop process where the resources like amine oxide, water are recovered post production and are re-used. The recovery rate can be as high as 99.7%. This reduces requirement of resources.
Why should I buy just because it is sustainable?
The biggest apprehension while buying clothes is whether that garment will be breathable. This quality is all the more important if you are staying in a hot and humid place. Lyocell passes this test since it’s a very breathable fabric. It is as comfortable to wear as cotton if not more. It is also one of the softest fabrics. It is wrinkle-resistant and hence doesn’t crease easily. Lyocell is one of the strongest man-made fibres and hence clothes last longer highlighting it’s durability.
There are two widely renowned producers of Lyocell – Lenzing and Birla Cellulose which have their brands Tencel and Birla Excel respectively.
Earthy Route uses lyocell fibres that are sourced from these global producers.