Bio-Baumwolle und recyceltes Polyester vs. herkömmliche Materialien - NIKIN EU

Organic cotton and recycled polyester vs. conventional materials

The materials used and the production of textiles are often not very sustainable. With the aim of making sustainable fashion accessible and affordable for everyone, we work every day to find and implement sustainable alternatives to conventional materials for our products.

The materials used and the production of textiles are often not very sustainable. With the aim of making sustainable fashion accessible and affordable for everyone, we work every day to find and implement sustainable alternatives to conventional materials for our products.

 

Nachhaltige Textilien

 

It is becoming clear to more and more consumers that the thoughtless consumption of textiles causes problems for the environment and people. Customers want to use their consumer behavior to actively contribute to conserving the planet's resources and improving working conditions in the producing countries, often in the Third World. The alternatives that seem to be available are organic cotton or recycled polyester. What can eco-fabrics do – and what can’t they do?

Organic cotton: why it protects the environment

Cotton, as consumers in Europe have now realized, is a greedy crop. Cotton cultivation uses up huge amounts of water, and not only that: to make large harvests possible, herbicides and pesticides are used. They not only poison the soil and groundwater, but also the people who work in the textile industry and ultimately the consumer.

When growing organic cotton, however, harmful factors are consistently avoided. It starts with the seeds. The cotton seeds must not be genetically modified. Artificial fertilizers are not used during cultivation, nor are herbicides or pesticides used, even though manual weeding is extremely time-consuming. The result is impressive: if you buy just one T-shirt made of organic cotton, you will have 7m² of floor space free of chemical pollutants! Water consumption is also lower with organic cotton. While a kilogram of cotton in “normal” cultivation produces more than 10.000 liters (!) of water gobble up, only a little more than half of this amount is required through targeted drip irrigation in organic farming. An equally important factor is that the people who work in cotton cultivation and in the textile processing industry must not be exploited so that the finished fabric really deserves its organic label. All of this has its price. Accordingly, a garment made from the soft, breathable fabric is more expensive than “fast fashion” made from conventional cotton.

What is recycled polyester?

Approximately half of the clothing produced worldwide is made of polyester - and the trend is rising, especially in sports and leisure fashion. However, the resilient, elastic materials are not sustainable because they are made from the plastic PET, a by-product of the petroleum industry. However, polyester can be recycled. The material obtained in this way, known as rPET for short, is created by melting down polyester and spinning it into new fibers. The yield is good; fibers for a T-shirt can be made from five plastic bottles! This of course reduces the consumption of new synthetic fibers and helps ensure that less plastic waste ends up in the environment. However, PET cannot be reused indefinitely. During every recycling process, the molecules are broken down and some of them become unusable. As a result, the “yield” of recycling is becoming ever smaller. Furthermore, the recycling process itself uses energy and chemicals and releases microplastics.

Not perfect – but better

There is not – yet – a “perfect” solution for textile production. Both the increasingly popular organic cotton and rPET-based clothing cannot be produced in a completely environmentally and pollutant-neutral manner. Nevertheless, they are of course preferable to conventionally manufactured textiles because they significantly reduce the impact on people and the environment. Through conscious consumer behavior, i.e. buying a few high-quality pieces rather than constantly renewing their “fast fashion” wardrobe, consumers can make a significant contribution to reducing environmental pollution! Because the same applies here: it's not just the quality, but also the quantity!

We at NIKIN are making our contribution

With our range of sustainable products at fair prices, we at NIKIN want to help ensure that consumers can consciously choose clothing that is less harmful to the environment. We are therefore always looking for suitable, sustainable alternatives to conventional materials. We have long been using GOTS-certified organic cotton and recycled polyester for our textile products instead of conventional textiles. Of course we are aware that we are not perfect yet, but we are well on the way in the right direction! Our concern: We want sustainable materials to become the standard and not just a luxury for a few. We want to make sustainable and fair fashion accessible and affordable for everyone.

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