Good news for 2015: compostable clothing

© Freitag

You might not have expected it of Freitag. A Swiss company that we've written about for its creation of recycled bags from truck tarps, Freitag took on a big and unexpected 5-year goal – compostable fabrics.

Freitag set itself on this end goal because of a simple need: robust work clothing for warehouse and factory employees. What the company found was that tough, sustainably produced, and compostable textile material made in Europe didn't yet exist.

© Freitag

So they decided to develop their own. It wasn't entirely straightforward to find one plant-based fabric that would meet all the requirements of sustainable production, durability, and then compostability.

Eventually Freitag settled on a blend of hemp, flax, and modal (from cellulose), and called their new textile F-abric. All production of F-abric takes place in a 2,500 mile radius of Zurich, Freitag's headquarters. While many of us wouldn't exactly consider this 'local' it is a step up from the fast fashion journey many items we wear today take from origin to our bodies.

© Freitag

What also sets F-abric apart is the low level of chemicals used in its cultivation and processing, which allows the Freitag F-abric to get certification to the Oeko-Tex® standard. Once the screw-off buttons are removed, the F-abric jeans will break down in commercial composting in a few months, the company said.

While thus far F-abric clothing - there are chinos, long and short t-shirts, and a workdress - is only available in Freitag stores, mostly in Europe, the good news for us in North America will be if a sustainably-oriented mainstream company - perhaps Levi's - will take on this type of project for our continent.

© Freitag

There have been some efforts to that effect, and H&M is working with some more 'sustainable' fabrics, yet until consumers take this into account in their clothes shopping they will likely be boutique-y endeavors. Up to 5% of the trash sent to the dung heap is clothes (over 10 million tons of fiber) so worth thinking about as a way to make fashion less 'fast' and more earth-friendly.

Tags: A Picture Is Worth | Clothing | Composting


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