Viscose production also contributes to the rapid depletion of the world’s forests, which are cleared for pulpwood plantations. And the extraction process wastes around 70% of the tree. Around 30% of rayon and viscose is made from pulp from endangered and ancient forests, causing habitat destruction at real risk to endangered species. Human rights abuses and land grabbing from Indigenous communities are also associated with this practice. These impacts on workers, local communities and the environment are why viscose (including bamboo viscose) was given ‘D’ and ‘E’ scores for sustainability in the Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibers.
But bear in mind another key element of sustainability, which is to minimize waste by retaining and re-using. Many of the ecological concerns linked to Viscose Lycra Fabric are heightened by its being a favorite fabric of the fast-fashion industry, where giant companies pressure manufacturers to produce at ever-lower ecological and social standards. This encourages these unsustainable social and environmental practices.
Environmentally sustainable of Viscose?
But with viscose, the arguments are more complex. As plant-based fibers, viscose is not inherently toxic or polluting. But to create it and let it withstand regular wearing and washing, the raw cellulose has to be chemically treated such as with caustic soda, ammonia, acetone, and sulphuric acid, which is then filtered and spun into a fine thread. Campaigners allege that this process releases toxic chemicals into the air and waterways surrounding production plants.
Carbon disulphide which is also used is said to have been linked to higher levels of heart disease, birth defects, skin conditions and cancer in textile workers and in those living near viscose factories. We therefore have a fabric from a natural and sustainable source, but made with chemicals. However, manufacturers are making positive efforts to ensure clean production as we strive for a nature-friendly world. Viscose is increasingly manufactured with the Lyocell process that uses N-Methlymorpholine N-oxide as the solvent. This results in less waste, making it more eco-friendly.
Why buy Viscose Lycra Fabric?
There are three main types of customer who choose Viscose Lycra. The first appreciates its hard-wearing and washable qualities as well as its cost-effectiveness, using the fabric in upholstery, garments or soft furnishings that are liable to wear and tear or need regular washing, such as heavy-duty seating, uniforms, children’s clothes, or tablecloths. Another group is those who suffer from a reaction to wool. These customers select Viscose Lycra as a wool-substitute, thanks to its anti-allergenic (or hypoallergenic) properties. In fact a good Viscose and Lycra Fabric can be hard to distinguish at first sight from pure new wool when made into a skirt or kilt. So in many ways poly-viscose is an ideal alternative to wool.
The stuffs of the fibers mingled are combined and made into a reformed state in the blended fabric. If combination is done carefully the good qualities of the fibers are highlighted minimizing the poor abilities. Blending entails acquaintance of both fiber science and art. It enables the operator to produce a flawless fabric for perfect use.