O Ecotextiles – Education & Products

From on December 11, 2008 in Green Remodeling

O Eco TextilesDid you know that the textile industry is considered to be one of the world’s worst offenders in terms of pollution? This is because it requires a great amount of two components:

1. Chemicals – as many as 2,000 different chemicals are used in the textile industry,
such as dyes and transfer agents; and
2. Water – a finite resource that is used at every step of the process to convey the chemicals used during that step and to wash them out before beginning the next step. The water becomes full of chemical additives and is then expelled as wastewater, which in turn pollutes the environment:

  • By the effluent’s heat;
  • By its increased pH; and
  • Because it’s saturated with dyes, de-foamers, bleaches, detergents, optical brighteners, equalizers, and many other chemicals used during the process.

(Sources: “Environmental Hazards of the Textile Industry,” Environmental Update #24, published by the Hazardous Substance Research Centers/ South & Southwest Outreach Program, June 2006; Business Week, June 5, 2005)

O Eco TextilesO Ecotextiles, recently announced as one of BuildingGreen’s 2008 Top-10 Green Building Products by the editors of Environmental Building News and GreenSpec®, is taking a stand by producing a line of responsibly produced organic fabrics made from such fibers as bamboo, hemp, abaca, ramie, linen and silk.

O Ecotextiles is committed to changing the way textiles are made “by proving that it’s possible to produce luxurious, sensuous fabrics in ways that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable, resulting in fabrics that are safe to bring into our homes.” The article about the company, by Leigh Anne Van Dusen and Patty Grossman, continues, “Their worldwide production partners do not support the sale and use of the thousands of chemicals used regularly in textile production that poison soils, pollute groundwater, and devastate eco-systems. O Ecotextiles’ production partners treat their wastewater so it doesn’t degrade waterways. Their products do not contain toxic chemical residues.”

O Ecotextiles describes their fabrics as “organic fabrics; not just fabrics made with organic fibers. The difference is in the processing. Think of turning organic apples into applesauce: It’s not organic applesauce if chemical preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, chemical dyes and flavorings are added to your organic apples.”

The collection http://oecotextiles.com/collection.php features fabrics with wonderful names such as Northern Lights (velvet made with bamboo), Rogue River (pure hemp twill), and Ozette (open weave casement fabric made of linen). Each fabric’s description includes pertinent facts about its eco-friendliness and how it is produced.

For designers who work in both residential and commercial venues, O Ecotextiles offers a growing range of fabrics in stock. Orders can be customized as well.