Sustainable is actually a word that we constantly misuse. We also use it for organic cotton products and rightly so. But we at Elicious also do that for the reason that it is quickly 'picked up'. But to be honest, we should actually split it into sustainable and biodegradable. And sometimes a combination of the two.
Because let's face it: our soap is biodegradable, but not sustainable. Because it is a product that you have to buy again and again. Yet we also call it sustainable, because it helps to keep the water supply clean and sustainable. No toxins and other pollution.
For example, a combination of the two are ours products made from bamboo. Such as soap dishes, cups, spatulas and more. They last for years (sustainable), and are then embraced by Mother Earth (biodegradable).
You can also find this combination in our GOTS* certified organic cotton products for the home, such as our bread bags. But why don't we use bamboo fabric or RPET (Recycled PET) for that? With the latter, quite a few plastic bottles can be reused. And the bread stays fresher than in cotton alone.
Therefore no recycled PET
We would like to clarify that. It's a nice idea that plastic bottles can be reused. However, there are definitely disadvantages to turning it into a fabric instead of simply recycling it into new plastic bottles.
Fabric made from RPET weakens when you wash it more often. The yarns then partly break and then microfibers can come off. They end up in the washing machine, go into the sewer and eventually end up back in our nature. You can wash a cotton bag as often as you like. It also naturally wears out, but can also be absorbed by nature again after its lifespan. That is not the case with recycled plastic, which you will have to process separately.
A good reason for processing into yarns by pet bottle manufacturers instead of recycling into new bottles is that they can earn more from yarns. With the 'sustainable' label, they appeal to the emotion of you as a consumer.
But then you can also use bamboo fabric, right?
Because bamboo is such a fast-growing crop, it is generally considered sustainable and environmentally friendly. Bamboo fabrics are soft and absorbent and are widely used to make shirts, underwear, sheets, towels, but also washable / reusable cotton pads.
As always, large-scale cultivation does not always go hand in hand with all our good intentions and that is no different with bamboo for making fabrics. A lot of forest land has to be sacrificed for new bamboo plantations. In addition, there are 2 common methods to make the bamboo suitable for fabrics: mechanical processing and chemical processing.
In mechanical processing, the bamboo is harvested, cut and then mechanically processed into fibers. Mechanically processed bamboo is known as bamboo linen and is made using the same process as flax and hemp linen. However, this only accounts for a minuscule share of the market, as the linen has an uncomfortable rough texture. Its production is also labour-intensive and therefore expensive.
In the much more common chemical method, the bamboo is simply broken and then the plant fibers are dissolved in a mixture of sodium hydroxide (aka lye) and carbon disulfide. The resulting mixture is then extruded through small holes into a solution of sulfuric acid, which solidifies the fibers. Then it can be woven into cloth. This chemical process using carbon disulfide is extremely toxic. Chronic exposure to carbon disulfide causes damage to the nervous and reproductive systems.
The hazardous chemical waste typically ends up in the environment and the benefits of the fast-growing crop are largely negated by the toxic manufacturing process.
Organic cotton and hemp are two excellent substitutes for bamboo fabrics. Although bamboo as a plant is much more sustainable than cotton, the manufacturing process of the fabric is so harmful to the environment that organic cotton looks much better.
The answer is actually simple; we continue to use organically grown cotton with the GOTS* certificate. We will also not switch to bamboo or RPET for new products until other methods are available for production and/or reuse.
Then about ours popular bread bags. We, like many buyers, are very happy with them and use them daily. These organic cotton products also contribute to a zero-waste life. Of course, depending on weather and home conditions, the bread can sometimes dry out a bit faster.
We now also offer one for those situations new bread bag On. Still GOTS* certified organic cotton, but now with a special freshness liner inside made of fully recyclable and biodegradable TPU (Thermoplastic Poly Urethane). Admittedly, the biodegradation process takes longer than cotton, but it is eventually absorbed by nature.
Not only do these cotton bags have a high 'feel good' content, they are also more affordable.
* GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) stands for, among other things, good working conditions throughout the chain, no child labour, no pesticides. The yarns for our cotton products are controlled by Control Union Certifications BV in Zwolle.
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