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Sustainable Textile Guide: Why We Love TENCEL™

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Sustainability has become a key word for many, consumers and businesses alike. One industry that has been making significant strides in this area is fashion. As people become more conscious of the environmental impact of their clothing choices, questions about how to make a wardrobe more sustainable are being asked. Consumers take a step back from fast fashion and turn towards ethically produced, sustainable wardrobe essentials. There are a few steps you can take, from buying less and use the items you have for longer, to being more eco-conscious when buying new clothes. Fabrics have a big part to play and natural fibers from organic sources, such as organic cotton or linen should be your go to. But semi-synthetic fabrics derived from natural sources should not be ignored. One such fabric that has been garnering attention is Tencel. But what is Tencel exactly and what are its eco-friendly features.

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What is Tencel

Tencel, also known as lyocell, is a brand of cellulosic fiber derived from sustainably harvested wood pulp, created by Austrian company Lenzing AG. The fiber is generally derived from eucalyptus trees. They have the propriety to grow quickly and not needing hazardous chemicals or much water to thrive. Eucalyptus wood also is sustainable through its carbon sequestration. The trees grow rapidly, about 5m per year and can reach 30 m after 6 years. The wood used for the Tencel  production comes from responsibly managed forests, making it an eco-friendly choice. The manufacturing process involves transforming the wood pulp into fibers through a closed-loop process, where the solvent used is recycled and reused. Tencel is also FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, awarded for forests that are managed in a way to preserve bio-diversity and that benefits the lives of local people while sustaining economic viability.

Tencel being the brand name for one lyocell, other lyocell fabrics are also available. The difference is utterly important though. While Tencel is being produced with wood coming from sustainably managed forests, other lyocell materials might come from non-sustainably managed sources. This results in forests being destroyed and the biodiversity being endangered.

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Sustainable production process & circular economy

Tencel stands out for its environmentally friendly production process. It is renowned for its low environmental impact. The closed-loop manufacturing system used in producing Tencel ensures that nearly 99% of the solvent and water are recovered, recycled and reused. This process minimizes the release of harmful chemicals into the environment, reducing the carbon footprint of the fabric. Additionally, Tencel production requires less water compared to other fabrics, making it a more sustainable choice.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Tencel is its biodegradability. When Tencel garments reach the end of their life cycle, they can naturally decompose, returning to the earth without causing harm to the environment. If the fiber does end up in the landfill it is decomposed within 6 to 24 months. This feature sets Tencel apart from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, which can take hundreds of years to break down. Moreover, Tencel fibers can be recycled and used to create new fabrics or blended with other materials, promoting a circular economy. This closed-loop system reduces waste and minimizes the need for virgin resources, further reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Tencel by Lenzing is certified biodegradable and compostable.

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Tencel features and health benefits

Aside from its sustainable qualities, Tencel offers numerous benefits in terms of comfort and versatility. The fabric is known for its exceptional softness, making it a delight to wear. It has excellent moisture-wicking properties, keeping you cool and dry, which is especially advantageous in warm climates or during physical activities. Tencel is also very lightweight, resistant to wrinkles and has a luxurious drape, making it suitable for a variety of clothing items, including dresses, shirts, jeans, activewear and underwear.

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Tencel’s natural fibers allow for excellent breathability, making it ideal for warm climates. Additionally, it has the ability to regulate body temperature, providing warmth during cooler months. Tencel fabrics are known for their durability, strength, and resistance to wrinkles. This makes them long-lasting and reduces the need for frequent replacements. It absorbs moisture more efficiently than cotton and thus supports the body’s natural thermal regulating mechanism. Which leaves you feeling cool and dry throughout the day and at night.

Moreover, Tencel is hypoallergenic, making it an ideal choice for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. The fabric’s smooth surface prevents irritation and allows the skin to breathe, promoting better overall comfort. Furthermore, Tencel has natural antibacterial proprieties, which helps inhibit the growth of bacteria and odor, keeping garments fresh and hygienic.

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Caring for your Tencel clothes

To maintain the quality and longevity of Tencel products, it’s essential to follow proper care instructions. Most Tencel items can be machine washed with cold water on a gentle cycle, such as wool or delicate cycle. Avoid using harsh detergents and bleach, as they can damage the fibers. The garments should be airdried or tumble-dried on a low heat setting to prevent shrinkage. Only use light steaming if needed and avoid ironing. Tencel keeps its shape and finish, even after frequent washing. Bonus tip: Flip your clothing inside out for further protection.

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Final thoughts on Tencel

The fashion industry is notorious for its negative environmental impact, but there are alternatives, from buying less to capsule wardrobes and paying attention to the materials your clothes are made from. Tencel offers a sustainable alternative, and it is time to embrace  its eco-friendly attributes. Its versatility, softness, and drape make it an appealing choice for creating high-quality garments. By incorporating Tencel into your wardrobe you can reduce your carbon footprint further and take your wardrobe to the next sustainability level. That way we all can contribute to the preservation of our planet while enjoying stylish and comfortable clothing.

Missed the links to our collections made with Tencel!?

Tencel underwear for kids: https://milimilu.com/collections/just-peachy

Dresses and basics for women: https://milimilu.com/collections/women

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