which fabric is the WORST for our planet???

which fabric is the WORST for our planet???

hey guys it shall be otherwise known as shell fizzle here on YouTube and today I am so excited to share this video with you guys because we're going to be talking about clothing which materials are not sustainable and which ones are and I'm so excited to talk about this because you know my channel focuses on sustainability and specifically with clothing within the last couple decades we've really been trending towards clothing just being another disposable people look at it it's something you just buy wear a few times and then toss it as a matter of fact two-thirds 80% of clothing that is produced ends up in the landfill and so I'm hoping by helping educate people on what materials are better for the planet which ones you should be looking out for and why you should care about these things it will encourage people to pay more attention and be more thoughtful when purchasing clothing and looking at the labels to see what's in them and which ones are more sustainable and which ones we don't want to be supporting this video is in partnership with the make it feel right campaign which is just trying to educate people like you and me on what fibers are more sustainable and can be transformed into some of the most beautiful garments like my absolute favorite utility jacket made from complete tensile that I wear all the time now you might have seen on my Instagram a time or two so we'll talk more about that throughout the video but if you want to jump ahead and check out the naked feel alright campaign I'll have a link in the description you should really really check it out if you do care about being more sustainable and ethical within your clothing purchases currently textiles made from natural materials like tensile fiber and other things like bamboo and that sort of stuff only makes up about 2% of the market so only about 2% of all the clothing produced is made from those sustainable materials some of the materials we'll talk about today but there's a lot of fast fashion out there made from a lot of really unsustainable materials but by us choosing to purchase the more sustainable materials that 2% is growing more and more and more consumer reports aren't saying so I just want this video to stand as a pillar for why people should choose more sustainable materials I did want to talk about all these materials from three standpoint so the production of how they're made how their source that sort of thing we'll talk about what they do during their lifecycle if they cause any environmental harm or not harm during their lifecycle and which ones are or worse quality sort of situation and then their afterlife what happens when they're done being able to be used as clothes and even if they're not in donating condition what can you do with them so with all that in mind let's go ahead get into which one of these fabrics is the most unsustainable the first material which I feel completely right in saying is the most unsustainable is polyester the beginning of its life starts in an oil rig because that's right polyester is literally plastic which if you don't know by now is made from oil or petroleum from what I was able to find polyester takes the exact same amount of oil to produce the same weight of fabric if that makes any sense so what I found is that for every one kilogram of polyester fabric produced it takes 1.5 kilograms of oil or petroleum currently because polyester is so popular in fast fashion 70 million barrels per year go towards making clothing and that's just for the material not including the production polyester is the material that has the most negative impacts during its life cycle for a couple reasons number one whenever you wash things like polyester synthetic materials made from petroleum they shed off what's called micro fibers and it has been found that micro fibers are getting into our water stream from our washing machines and can be found in water samples all over the world not only are humans not consuming micro plastics due to this cheap synthetic fibers but it also bioaccumulates not only that but this material is incredibly low quality it is not something that is going to last so essentially these big fast fashion companies are using it mostly in their clothing because they're already making disposable clothing anyway they don't need to be made to last so it is not a fiber that you should be investing in definitely not what I would recommend and the one I would label as the most unsustainable the end of polyesters life is absolutely nothing because it's life never ends truly polyester is made from plastic and petroleum like I said which exists on this planet nearly forever from what scientists have been able to tell and forms of microplastics there are some companies out there that are doing recycled polyester so recycling other forms of polyester into a new material but like I said this is not a high quality material so oftentimes it does just end up as that 80% of cooling that goes to landfills like we talked about in the beginning not much different than polyester our synthetic fiber blends so a lot of these actually have polyester in them there are other synthetic materials blended together to make essentially a new material before a during life cycle of these two materials is essentially exactly the same as polyester so it won't go too far into that part of it but their end of life cycle is where you really get a problem because a blend of materials means that none of those materials can be broken down back into their raw forms meaning you cannot recycle those synthetic materials because they are all intertwined and cannot be broken down to their basic blocks to return back in to anything else leather clothing or boots or accessories made from animals is incredibly unsustainable and that is because the production behind it in general is just awful leather often comes from cows so if we just take that into account how much energy and how many resources and how much water it takes to grow a cow it is incredible how many resources go into that wasting all these resources for such a cruel and unsustainable material is so unnecessary but aside from that after the cow is grown and killed then you have to treat the flesh with so many chemicals to stop it from decomposing because that's what it's meant to do because it's an animal there are several chemical baths that the leather has to go in and out in and out of which makes it horrible not only for the environment but also for the workers who have to be there to do all of that chemical work and then also for us to be buying and then breathing in as we wear it during its lifetime a leather doesn't lose any fabrics that make it unsustainable except for the fumes that come off of leather it's not something I would ever encourage people to keep in their home especially from new leathers mother is also pretty high quality so it's not something that I would put in the category of unsustainable for being a low quality material and it can also be composted weirdly enough but it does have to be old leather because like I said newer leather has so many chemicals and preservatives in it you're not going to be able to compost anything that has been recently treated I personally support the purchase of second-hand leather or recycled leather but I definitely think that virgin leather is a very unsustainable material that we should not be supporting with our dollars cotton organic cotton is much more sustainable than conventional cotton but most cotton in the u.s. that is grown is conventional so we'll focus on that for now but don't forget when you're looking for cotton alternatives look for organic and you can feel pretty good about doing that the reason I say conventional cotton is so terrible because there are so many pesticides insecticides those sort of things put onto cotton to keep it pristine it's actually one of the most treated agriculture crops in the world which makes it pretty unsustainable because when those things get into our water streams it can have negative impacts on what lives in the water and also on our health cotton also takes an incredibly large amount of land and water to produce it makes you wonder why it has become one of the most subsidized and most popular fabrics to use in clothing as opposed to some of the other plant alternatives we're gonna get into I'll mentioned how much yield per acre some of these other plant materials can produce but keep in mind that cotton can only grow 800 pounds of material per acre you'll learn as we go on why that's not really that much I would say during Cotton's life cycle it has about a medium quality it's not the best quality fibers especially when it's put into things from fast fashion brands but it's also not the worst and you can definitely compost it and there are active programs that recycle it so that's really good linen fibers are actually made from a waste product because linen is made from flax which most Fox is grown for the seed you know flax seeds and then flax fibers or linen fibers are the waste product of that so that already makes it a pretty sustainable material because it is an agricultural by-product and another upside to linen as opposed to its other natural fiber counterparts is it can grow quite a bit more per acre so it's taking up less land which is really important when we're taking into consideration and what is most sustainable is how much land use do these things take flax trout can grow up to 1,400 pounds per acre which is a pretty sustainable way of growing clothing if I do say so myself there are no downsides to linen during its lifecycle that I have been able to tell it is a pretty durable material and it also can keep you pretty cool in the summer months and even better linen at the end of its lifecycle can be completely composted hemp and we've already talked about how much cotton and how much linen can grow per acre and we said that cotton can grow 800 pounds linen can grow 1,400 pounds while hemp can grow up to 2.5 tons which is nearly 5,000 pounds of material per acre but the benefits of hemp production cycle does not stop there because I didn't touch on this in flax or in cotton but those two crops do take nutrients out of the soil to produce a lot of cotton farming in the u.s. is very unsustainable because the plant monocultures which basically means that that one crop is taking all the nutrients out of the soil that that crop needs so instead of mixing the use which takes out different sort of nutrients here in there they'll put all all the acres full cotton and it just completely strips that land of the nutrients that those plants need to grow hemp does not do that and the reason is because hemp actually gives the soil nutrients it's not just extracting it it actually improves the quality of the soil so not only does hemp produce a lot more per acre but it also is not extracting all the nutrients from the soil which we need to have a sustainable production method so that we can replant and things on the same land year after year there are no negative impacts during hemp's lifecycle there are no plastic fibers being emitted there are no VOCs like the leather it is a very durable material and not many fast fashion companies use it actually I don't know if any fast fashion companies use it so it is a very very sustainable material and you should definitely add it to your list of things to look out for when purchasing clothing and last but not least we have my new favorite which is tensile which I told you is made from wood pulp so these forests are sustainably certified most of the time you definitely want to be a little bit careful about that I know I didn't mention this certainly the upper fabrics because none of them come anywhere near as close to as soft as tencel fibers are it is so amazing I wish you could touch my new favorite jacket because it is just so great and it doesn't keep you too hot or too cool it's super weird how this jacket has helped me during my Portland trip my Seattle trip and even once the temperatures have dropped weirdly enough again in Texas I'm able to wear it and it regulates my temperatures so so nicely I'm really a big fan of tencel fibers right now and of course tensile is a natural material so like a lot of the other ones it is completely biodegradable and is not going to stay on this planet forever but it is also a very very good quality fabric so you don't have to worry about it falling apart on you it is something that you can feel good about investing your money in into a tensile fiber material garment in any scenario just a quick rundown on some other things you can keep in mind it's really good to buy recycled materials so if there's a company out there that's making things from recycled wood or recycled wood so there are companies out there that are making clothing from recycled wool or cycled polyester even or recycled cotton and denim it's really great to support those businesses as well because obviously those were already waste products that they're turning back into something new that we can all use and enjoy I hope this video really encouraged you to start thinking about the fibers that you are buying things that you are supporting and even if you're shopping second hand to prioritize these natural materials because there are still negative impacts that synthetic fibers can have on our environment even if you didn't create a demand for them don't forget to check out make it feel right campaign and learn more about natural fibers and why you should choose them and remember until next time you cannot do all the good that the world needs but the world needs all the good that you can do bye guys

49 Replies to “which fabric is the WORST for our planet???”

  1. What a great video. I wouldn’t have even thought of fabrics being bad for the environment. Thank you for this

  2. Shopping on ThreadUp. Should I avoid certain fabrics or does it not matter as much since I'm buying used? A lot of the clothes don't have fabric information:/

  3. I also thought Tencel was some bad made made plastic thing…just because of the trademark beside it, I don’t remember what I bought that has it, but I thought “what the hell is Tencil?” Followed by “sounds like spandex or something, it’s probably plastic”

  4. Have you heard of the 'Guppyfriend washing bag'? It reduces micro plastic pollution and supposedly makes the life time of synthetic materials longer. It would be great if you can make a video on it.
    I find my synthetic athletic wear to be most durable and I keep it for ever. With this bag I don't feel bad for washing it anymore. However I agree natural vegan materials are probably better if one can afford it.

  5. I just found your channel and it's everything I've been looking for and more in my recently started sustainable journey ❤️

  6. If anyone wants to know how to remove plastics from there water. Berkey filters which are sustainable as well. No more bottles or big plastic filters. The filters last you 15 years max and they are 150 every 15 years! Berkey filters viruses in the water as well so they filter out plastics as well and alot of other things that make the water healthier for us to drink. I'll have one for my family by the end of the year! It's amazing for an off grid life as well.

  7. I just discovered your channel and as someone who knows nothing about zero waste, other than carrying around her cute jeffree star straws, you've made me really open my eyes and reconsider my whole life. I mean my entire closet is made up of fashion nova essentially. things have to change

  8. shelbi, you always have the best delivery! this has to be one of your best + most informative videos yet!! this resonates w/ everyone bc we all wear clothes! something that may seem small like buying one fabric or another can have a big impact. thank u so much for breaking down each of these materials, i feel much more informed now for when i go looking for secondhand clothes!! 🙂 keep making amazing content!!!

  9. But what do i do with clothes i dont wair anymore but are polyester? Do i sell them? Then te next person will create microplastic with washing them..

  10. Hoodlamb makes clothing from hemp. They are big supporter of Sea Shepherd and they are vegan certified. ✌🏻

  11. Would leather also be a by-product if it's made from cows/animals that are produced for meat?

    I'm not saying we should eat meat or be okay with the carbon emissions but if it's already happening, maybe that's should be counted for leather? Idk

  12. Just keep in mind that synthetic fibers like rayan etc. are sustainable during production but might still shed harmful fibers during washing, so use a guppy friend bag when you wash them. The jury is still out on it, so play it safe 🙂

  13. This is my area of expertise due to work, I'll be honest was prepared to dislike the video due to previous experience, but pleasantly surprised. I would say one thing is that blends are good alternatives for natural fibres as they can add strength and make them easier to care for reducing energy impact in the PLC. Nice work!

  14. Thanks for info! I really wonder from what material you buy shoes for the winter and rainy period? What material will be of high quality, like leather, to wear shoes, jackets, bags for 10-15 years? How do you feel about recycled leather and leather from the meat industry? Very interested in this questions, thank you.

  15. Do you study a Textile course or something?? Where did you learn all this lol. I know most of this stuff because I study this studd personally 🙂 much love x

  16. If we are going to consume the cow we should use every part. And there are natural ways to tan leather. It is better than faux leather … which is plastic.

  17. this is such a great video shelbi! thanks so much for doing all this research, i'll definitely keep my eye out and choose clothing that uses those sustainable materials! 😀

  18. You should make a video about sustainable lingerie and sportswear I'm having a tough time finding some cute bras that actually fits my huge tetas (I'm a h cup)

  19. ❤️ thanks, got lots of new info. I love wearing bamboo clothes, so soft and good for hiking/sports too. I will defiantly try out the Tinsel

  20. I have to be completely honest, most ‘environmental’ social media folks are either full of it, promoting unrealistic lifestyles, or somewhat uneducated (even if they have good intentions). I have always liked your content. I respect that you are knowledgeable, down to earth, and pragmatic. THANK YOU. Keep up the useful content! You keep me going on my journey to do as much as I can, without going crazy.

  21. This was very helpful. Thanx. Rothys and Everlane make clothing out of recycled plastic bottles. I'm not sure where to place those on the spectrum.

  22. I feel you polyester has been my bain for long before I knew about microfibers. I just never liked it. My mom literally bought me a shirt and pants made with 100% polyester last Christmas and I knew I would hate them. Because I stink more when I wore them before and I knew this from experience. I just told her I will not wear them yes I hurt her but I explained what I know and experience with that"material" she now watches out for it. Its cheap those pants fell apart in a week literally for my niece who took them instead. I warned them of all this plus the environmental impacts.

  23. I love a Tencel shirt I just bought off of Amazon. It was also on sale in my particular size, so I was very happy to score it. BUT it does state that it is made in Bangladesh – I am not sure about the labour practices….

  24. I have this girl is on fire stuck in my head but instead of "this girl is on fire" I'm singing "Is this fabric sustainable" 😂

  25. Second-hand polyester: If I don't buy it, it goes to landfill. If I do, it can shed plastic into the water system – is that why it is still not good to buy it second-hand?

  26. hey i was wondering what you think of microfiber? it's in everything, "zerowaste" swaps mainly kitchen towels, makeup erasers etc. does it shed microplastic when washed? is it sustainable to produce? what's it made out of anyway it's so cryptic I haven't been able to find much on it. Love your videos you've been a true inspiration and a wonderful trusted source of information to me and my family all the way here in egypt <3

  27. Just a reminder… before running out to buy sustainable clothing, use up what you already have. Broken zippers can be replaced, holes can be patched. It may not be cutting edge fashion, you may not be able to brag about the sustainably sourced fibers, but if it's already there, use it.

  28. also fun thing with hemp is that not only does it grow super fast (like only 4 months) but it also ''breaths'' in 4x the co2 then threes. Hemp is also super versitile with over a 10,000 different uses, all from fabric, string, medical like tintures, also hemp can be used as a building meterial like wood (way better then wood as well, since it grow in 4 months compared to around 20 years, also it uses less resourses to produce and less space) just to mention a few ^^

  29. i just bought Tencel by accident today and i'm SO HAPPY!! (it said on the label that it was a 100% natural product, but i'd never heard of it) that was so lucky! 😄

  30. Can leather also be considered an "agricultural by-product" of beef? If cows are already being slaughtered for their meat, is it the sustainably responsible thing to do to use their skin to make leather and use the whole animal? I am vegetarian and feel very strongly against killing cows, but am wondering where the carbon footprint shakes out in the equation.

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