Wovens have been used for centuries for clothing, wipes, fences, bed sheets, conveyors, and more. The types of fibers used in these wovens are mostly dependent on the application. Synthetics can be used for many different types of applications, but sustainable, natural fibers are naturally efficient in use for woven absorbents, like towels and wipes. Natural fibers are also significantly more sustainable, allowing us to use safer, virgin materials, without having to worry about their impact on the environment.
What are the benefits?
Bast fibers are very durable in woven applications. This is why cultures have used fibers from hemp and kenaf for years in uses like sails and rope, applications that rely on the fibers’ durability. Unlike most fibers, hemp and kenaf fibers become softer with each wash, making them ideal fibers for use in woven towels.
These fibers are also incredibly absorbent. Hemp fiber is known for absorbing about 150% of its own weight in water, compared to cotton, which can absorb about 100%. Luckily, hemp’s absorbent properties do not interfere with its natural mold- and mildew-resistance properties. Hemp and kenaf fibers are also very breathable, making for an easily dryable bathroom and kitchen towel.
Bast fibers can also create very comfortable towels and wipes. Hemp is one of the few fibers notorious for its soft feel and its continued softening with each wash. Even softer and more universally known is the flax fiber. Flax is used to make linen, one of the softest materials known to man. Centuries ago, linen was the fabric of choice for Egyptian royalty; now, linen is easily accessible and just as soft.
Finally, bast crops are known for being incredibly sustainable. These crops can go from seed to harvest in 100 days. They also are known for being much kinder to earth. According to a Stockholm Environment Institute study, hemp uses an estimated 60 times less water than cotton during the growing season. Bast fibers also sequester thousands of tonnes of CO2 for every 100 acres of crop, completely offsetting the CO2 expelled in production.
And that’s just comparing natural to natural. When comparing the production of natural fibers to fiberglass, natural fibers use less than a third the energy and emit almost a fourth the CO2 per ton. Not to mention, natural fiber production uses zero water in their production, while fiberglass uses about a thousand gallons per ton.
For More Information…
For questions about woven absorbents or more sustainable applications, contact us.