What are Eco- friendly Fibers
All natural fibers are not eco-friendly. If there is extensive application of harmful pesticides or insecticides while cultivating, say, cotton- it doesn't remain eco friendly. Also the textile chemicals applied during the finishing and other processes of textile production goes to kill the eco friendly character of these fibers. However, if it's an organic cultivation without any pesticides etc. and if they are processed with mechanical or other ways without any chemicals then only a fabric can be termed as eco-friendly. The same is true for animal fibers like wool where pesticides are used in sheep dips and harmful drugs are given to cure animal diseases but then organic wool is there which is eco-friendly fiber.
As far as man made fibers are concerned, they too can be eco friendly. These are regenerated fibers. They are of two types- having protein origin and having cellulose origin. Protein origin regenerated fibers are obtained from plant protein like corn, soy, peanut etc. or from animal protein like casein from milk. Regenerated fibers of cellulose origin are derived from cellulose of wood pulp or leaves such as rayon fiber. If manufactured in environmental friendly way, they can be very well put into the category of eco friendly fibers.
Some Eco- Friendly Fibers
There are many eco- friendly fibers that are gaining popularity these days. Stinging nettle fiber comes from the Brennessel plant, naturally resistant to vermin and parasites and can be grown without pesticides, herbicides and with very little fertilizers. They are often blended with organic cotton to make a very eco-friendly fiber. It is stronger than cotton and finer than linen having fine weft and glossy look. Then there is eco-friendly pineapple fiber, the pina fiber made from pineapple leaves. The pineapple fabrics are lightweight, soft, transparent and a little stiff fabric with glossy appearance.
Milk yarn derived from milk protein fiber is yet another eco- friendly fiber that goes into making skin friendly, antibacterial, antifungal, and highly absorbent fabric. Bamboo fiber, the cellulose fiber- mechanically processed from bamboo plant, makes smooth, soft, antibacterial and luxurious fabric which has become very popular in present day fashion circles. Yet another eco- friendly, strong, shiny, lightweight and bio-degradable banana fiber is used extensively for fashion clothing and home furnishings.