Environmental Factors and Textiles

Protection of the environment is an issue that pervades every country in the world. However, more people in the UK are making environmental awareness a focal point on many levels. One of these levels is the production and use of textiles. Textiles are widely regarded as being the fabric material for clothing, but it also includes any product that is made from a wide variety of fabrics or other materials. All textiles come from four main sources; animals, such as wool or silk, plants, minerals, and synthetic. Aside from protecting the earth in which we live, being environmentally conscious helps to protect valuable textile resources. Here are some factors that you must consider when working with textiles.

The level of waste that human beings produce each year is astounding. As more factories and processing plants are built, there is a greater potential for air, water and land pollution to take place. Most textile plants have improved their standards over the years. Emissions, or gases released from machines that process the material, have been reduced significantly. Unfortunately, potential financial gains cause some people to overlook the environmental impacts of processing textiles on a large scale. Careful consideration must be made for the ways in which we treat the earth when we create new products.

Some textiles, like wool and cotton, come from animals and plants. Sheep need a healthy environment in which they can graze naturally. If fields and natural resources become contaminated, then wool shortages might be the result. Consider the impact this would have on the clothing industry in the UK. There would be a shortage of clothes, and the prices would increase as well. The same can be said for a decrease in cotton plants. Most clothes are made from 100% cotton, but other synthetic materials would have to be used if there were a cotton shortage due to negative environmental impacts. Additionally, contaminants from some textiles find their way into valuable water sources tat animals use, thus deteriorating their numbers.

Another factor that must be considered is the biodegradable nature of textiles. Many of them become exposed to the open air, and if they are discarded, they might remain on earth for a long time. Some plastics and fabrics are present in landfills all over the UK. Simply burying discarded textiles does not remove them from the environment. Always check to make sure that you only buy enough textile material that you will need for a project. This will eliminate a surplus of textiles, and you will be able to save money in the process. Many textiles are recyclable as well, so do not always assume that you must throw them in the trash.