Final week I wrote about the loopwheel knitter Aigat, one of the crucial specialised producers of loopwheel cloth – for sweatshirts, T-shirts and so forth – in Japan.
One thing I needed to avoid wasting for a separate article was the show they’d of their reception, the place they’d decomposed completely different materials of their backyard.
The manufacturing facility is about in enticing grounds, with water pouring down from the mountains behind. Establishing them, and operating the manufacturing facility alongside environmental strains, has been a ardour of the founder.
In the midst of the backyard is a pleasing pond, however a number of years in the past the crew crammed the entire thing and components of the backyard with lengths of material, made up of various fibres (cotton, rayon, polyester).
The thought was to have private, bodily expertise of how significantly better pure materials – like their very own – break down within the setting.
The outcomes are displayed in chronological order on the board, beneath.
The primary strip on the left is the unique cloth. The strips with pink labels on the prime are those that had been buried within the floor (after 50 days, 100 days, 200 days, as labelled), whereas the blue labels are people who had been within the pond (once more, after 50, 100 and 200 days).
The strips themselves are then divided vertically into completely different fibres. First, two completely different finenesses of polyester, then a polyester/cotton combine, then two finenesses of rayon, and at last cotton.
For those who click on on the picture, it ought to open in a lightbox, and you’ll then click on on it once more to zoom in. Or you may proper click on and open in a brand new tab, and zoom in there.
The rayon was the primary to go – an artificial cloth, however after all made with regenerated pure cellulose, so it broke down simply.
The cotton is barely simply seen, mendacity on the desk on the backside, but it surely broke down just a bit slower than the rayon, principally eaten away within the water after 50 days, and fully gone after 100.
However the polyester stored going and going. After 200 days, in water or soil, it had shrunk just a little however was in any other case advantageous.
Maybe scariest of all is the cotton/polyester combine. You may suppose this may be just a little higher than pure polyester, but it surely’s just about the identical, regardless of among the cotton breaking down.
I wasn’t stunned on the outcomes, but it surely was highly effective seeing the method slightly than simply being instructed about it.
It additionally made me respect rayon (or viscose) just a little extra. There are many issues fallacious with it after all, together with the supplies minimize all the way down to make it and the processes used, however it’s actually higher than polyester and nylon on this respect. Different pure supplies utilized in high-end menswear, reminiscent of wools and vegetable-tanned leathers, are additionally higher in that means.
We most likely cannot get into all of the nuances of fabric sustainability right here – and quantity of consumption is usually the most important situation – however on this one side the purpose is fairly compelling.
Aigat, I ought to add, solely use pure cotton and generate their manufacturing energy 60-70% from photo voltaic panels on the roof. Actively rising the backyard helps a bit with the CO2 emissions as properly.
For extra on PS about sustainability, see: