Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
A NEW fibre developed by the British
textile firm Courtaulds - Lyocell - is
causing considerable interest in the
markets in Europe, and now in India.
Courtaulds claims that Lyocell blends
the favourable qualities of cotton
with those of synthetic fibre, and can be
mass produced in an envirpnment
Fibres like cotton are obtained from
plants and are by nature comfortable,
ecologically sound and completely
biodegradable. Moreover, fabrics made
from plant-based fibres (cellulosic)
breathe and absorb moisture, with
outstanding colour yields for bright
and natural colours. On the other hand,
synthetic fibres like nylon offer superior
strength, are more stable, and retain
their colour better than cellulosic fibres.
Fibres made from petrochemicals,
however, are not easily biodegradable.
In addition, they do not breathe or
are planted to compensate for the loss",
says Anil Agarwal, director of the Centre
for Science and Environment, New
Delhi. But Tencel's unique manufacturing process and its biodegradability
score in a big way over the sourcing of
its raw material.
Unlike conventional viscose fibre,
produced by chemically digesting the
wood pulp leading to heavy gaseous
emissions, the Lyocell process consists
of pulpifying the raw material in amine
oxide medium, which is fully recovered
in the process and can be used continuously, to extract the fibre. The process
lets out a negligible amount of emissions as a result.
Tencel has proven to be a strong
fibre, whether wet or dry. Its tensile
strength, claim Courtaulds, is much
greater than that of cotton and even
polyester, when dry. Being a 100 per
cent cellulosic fibre, it absorbs moisture
effectively, the reason why it gives comfort equal to that of cotton. "The fibre
can be put to a variety of uses, both in
the original form, as well as in blends
with other synthetic and natural fibres,"
says M L Gulrajani, the head of the textile technology department at the Indian
Institute of Technology, Delhi. He says
the fabrics made by Tencel exhibit
exceptional drape in luxurious handdyed and machine-dyed colours.
Lyocell also scores on fibrillation, or
the coming out of the minute ends of
the fibre when rubbed hard against a
rough material, Courtaulds asserts.
These minute micro-fibrils can be engineered to produce unique aesthetic
effects. Tencel fabrics are gaining popularity with the top garment designers
and labels in the fashion industry in the West.
Lyocell was introduced under the
brand name Tencel in limited quantity
in Britain in 1988. It was also marketed
in Japan as a luxury fibre. Mass production began in 1992. At present, world-
wide production of the fibre stands at
43,000 tonnes. "In the next five years it's
going to explode, absolutely explode,"
says Michael Glasser, the Californian
designer whose Democracy Jeans, made
from Tencel, are already a hot favourite
in the market. Italy's Georgio Armani
says that Lyocell is a great fabric for
sportswear. Many textile market experts
predict that Lyocell will soon replace
rayon and will also eat into the cotton
and polyester markets.