I was thinking about buying a new parka for the winter and decided to find out facts about the different fabrics and their impact on the environment. Unfortunately, I found that almost all fabrics that are commercially available are harmful to the environment. That goes for synthetic fabrics like acrylic, nylon, polyester and polyamide. Sadly also the natural fibres viscose, rayon and most bamboo fibres are the same. Of the latter, the only exception is apparently one called lyocelle and tercel (?). Cotton is harmful for the environment because apparently it uses far too much water, but ecological cotton isn’t that bad, in other ways. (Though I’m upset that ecological/organic means using bone meal and blood from slaughered animals). Finally, old-fashioned materials like linen, hemp and fabric made from nettles seem to be best, but alas they aren’t commercially available, at least not that I know of. I’d also love to know about the environmental impact of soy fibres and banana and sugar as well. Still, I imagine it will be a long time until these fibres will be commercially available, if ever. The same goes for linen, hemp and nettle cloth. Sigh.
So, what did I decide to do about the new parka? I will save my money and the environment and use my old parkas. I’m really bad at throwing old clothes away or selling or giving them away. That means I have jackets from as far back as my high school years. I might not be inclined to wear those oldest jackets in town, but maybe when I just go for walks in the countryside. Fortunately, I do have jackets that are maybe three-five years old as well and those will still do very nicely. Maybe it’s for the best. I do have enough clothes, except for the stuff you tend to wear out first, like underwear and socks. The same goes for accessories. Maybe I’ll stop buying that sort of thing entirely.
However, I do need to buy things for my babies. For the time being, I will try to buy just cotton clothing (and ecological when available), because that seems to be the least bad of all the options available. It’s too bad I can’t buy fleece anymore, since that seems to be bad as well. The twins will need something warm to wear in the winter. At least I’d already bought some fleece stuff and I can’t really throw them away now, so at least for this winter, I can keep using them. They also have some really cosy foot muffs for the stroller. That’s a weird word for what we in Swedish call a ‘travel bag’, meaning something like a sleeping bag that you put your baby into when they’re riding in the stroller/pushchair (not the pram). For the pram they have sort of covers that you can put on top of whatever else you use to warm them, like blankets.
Have you thought about the environmental impact of fabrics? What have you decided on? Will you keep using the ordinary stuff that’s available, because that’s all you can do? Or have you found a better solution? Buying second hand and using older stuff doesn’t really help, because apparently fleece, gore-tex and other synthetic fabrics keep releasing microscopic particles into the environment every time you wash them. Still, there’s only so much you can do. All we can do is our best under the circumstances.