Landscaping and cutting-edge fashion have something in common.
They can both put organic textiles to use and create beautiful, useful, and eco-friendly consumer options.
There are so many uses for biodegradable materials, including fabric, eco-friendly shoes, home decorations, and even compost piles. It is worth researching a few common (and uncommon) textiles and their benefits. Whether you are into greenscapes that are free of weeds, or looking to reduce your carbon footprint starting at home, organic materials can be an invaluable help!
What Are Organic Textiles?
Essentially, these textiles have been produced without the use of harmful toxins, like herbicides and pesticides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
As with food, many people choose organically-sourced over inorganic fabrics because they improve quality of living. For example, who would not want to swaddle their newborn in a 100% non-toxic cotton blanket? Organic materials also vary in texture and price, and offer the added bonus of being quite versatile within and outside of the home.
Types of Organic Textiles
What do these wonderful materials look like, and how can you put them to use?
Organic cotton can be used for many essentials within the home. Unlike its widely-used cotton counterpart, organic cotton does not contain any troublesome pesticides, making it a more wholesome option for household use. Because people have discovered its benefits within the past several years, this fabric is in higher demand and more expensive than it used to be. Often found in furniture upholstery and sheet sets because of its natural softness, organic cotton can also be put to use in the garden – try some 100% natural gardening gloves. Several major brands have produced eco-friendly clothing comprised of organic cotton, which makes for a wardrobe that is stylish and durable both inside and outdoors. As an added bonus, you can shred worn-out organic cotton shirts and throw them in your compost pile.
Second only to cotton in usefulness, jute is a wonderfully versatile and organic material. Comprised of smooth, long vegetable fibers, jute is often used for making rope and products such as area rugs or wall hangings. Inexpensive to manufacture and requiring zero pesticides to cultivate, jute is also a popular gardening material. Biodegradable jute twine can be used to tie plants in your backyard garden plot or make seed lines; if you are planting young trees, try a container made of jute, which will allow roots to keep growing naturally when planted; to control erosion on your landscape, jute netting is a very useful and ecological tool. Furniture made of jute is also worth the investment, as individual pieces – such as this jute and leather armchair – are very durable and attractive.
Jute fibers are also found in a popular textile called burlap, a woven material that organic- decorating enthusiasts and gardeners could hardly overlook! (Note: if the fabric is soft in texture and drapes easily, you will know it is faux burlap.) This material is rough and rustic-looking, two characteristics that make it so appealing for garden, backyard, deck, and in-home use. Use burlap for drainage in pots before planting flowers, or put it to use as a cover for outdoor plants during the cold winter months. Bags made from burlap – commonly known as “gunny sacks” – contain a whole world of use: manufactured to store such goods as coffee and grain, burlap sacks can be made into anything from handbags to backyard teepees! The dedicated DIY-er might want to try sprucing up an old dresser with coffee sacks; if you enjoy re-upholstering, you may find that burlap’s affordability and charm make it perfect for many custom furniture projects. Totally organic, biodegradable, safe for plant use, and full of decoration possibilities – what is not to love about burlap?
No list of organic materials would be complete without mentioning hemp. A product of the cannabis plant, hemp can be put to use in many different ways, and is a completely natural fiber. Many people use hemp seeds or hemp oil for their nutritional value; fabric made from hemp covers some of the most durable and stylish furniture on the market; hemp cord is renowned for its strength and rusticity, and can also be used in the garden to tie plants. Hemp is among the heartiest of eco-friendly materials, and even versatile enough to be made into a house!
The List Goes On!
There are several other uncommon organic materials worth mentioning for their sustainability and practical usage.
Blended with organic cotton, ramie derived from bamboo makes a lovely, light fabric for use in clothing and curtains. Banana stems, previously discarded as trash, have more recently been used to produce ecological textiles such as hand-woven baskets and even versatile clothing. Looking for a more eco-friendly option than peat moss? Try the natural waste produced by coconuts, a fiber known as “coconut coir,” which makes for hearty potting soil and an excellent mulch substitute. Coconut fiber can also be made into a strong rope for garden or household use – or survival purposes! For anyone interested in organic fashion, pineapple leaves are also making more of an appearance on the market, recycled into sustainable handbags and shoes. Tropical fruits are not just for eating anymore!
If you are interested in gardening, landscaping, fashion, decorating, or clean living, add some GMO- and pesticide-free materials to your life – they will prove valuable in more than a few ways!