Tencel vs Cotton & Bamboo
Currently, the most common fibres used to make underwear are cotton and bamboo. The production of cotton requires intense levels of chemical and water, with research showing that it takes 3kg of chemicals and 4,300 litres of water to make just 1kg of cotton. While organic cotton is an improvement from a chemical perspective, it often requires an even higher rate of water use to produce.
Bamboo fibres are almost always produced through a viscose process involving a highly toxic substance, Carbon Disulfide. This chemical poses a health risk for both the people producing the fibre, and local communities through water pollution (eutrophication).
We believe that the production of cotton and bamboo present too great a cost to our planet. , Therefore, we have chosen to make our underwear with the sustainable and regenerated fibre, Tencel. Tencel, which is Lenzing’s brand name for the fibre process ‘lyocell’ , is made using the wood pulp of certified Eucalyptus trees, meaning it is a renewable planetary resource. Eucalyptus trees are some of the fastest growing in the world, requiring no irrigation or fertilisers, and sequester carbon as they grow.
Tencel fabric requires 5 times less land and 20 times less water than cotton to produce the same amount of fabric, making it a sustainable material.
The ‘lyocell process’ (the method for turning wood pulp into Tencel fabric), is very different from a chemical perspective to the viscose process, it uses a safe surfactant in a closed-loop system, 99% of the water and solution are recovered and used over and over again. When released it is safe.