Sustainability is a hot topic right now and on everyone’s mind – maybe you’ve committed to stop buying bottled water or using straws, but what about the clothes you buy? Fast fashion is a huge waste contributor, because a lot of materials we use (like polyester, rayon and lycra) are plastics. When we do laundry, tiny plastic particles shed from our favorite stretchy leggings and accumulate in the water. We’re not saying you have to walk around in a burlap sack for the rest of your life, but choosing materials that are sustainable and eco-friendly can help make an impact on our environment.
What Makes Hemp Eco-Friendly?
Hemp is a great example of a sustainable fiber that can be used to make more eco-friendly garments. The plant itself is actually a weed so is able to grow with little encouragement or maintenance, and consumes much less water than a cotton plant. Cotton plants also deplete the soil of nutrients as they grow, whereas hemp plants regenerate the nutrient content and their roots grow deep into the ground helping the soil stick together. Once the hemp fiber has been harvested, it can be made into a durable, natural textile and can be used for clothing, rope or canvas.
Benefits of Hemp Clothing
1) It’s extra strong
Hemp fibers themselves are quite fine, but when woven together they make a very strong, rip-resistant fabric which is great for children’s clothing or work uniforms.
2) Climate control
Stay warm in the winter, or cool in the summer with this excellent insulator. The material is breathable, so it doesn’t trap heat or sweat against your body.
3) UV protection
All plants produce their own UV protection, so this property still applies to clothing made from hemp fibers. While its still recommended to apply sunscreen before you go outside, any extra protection from harmful rays is good in our books!
4) It’s antimicrobial
Hemp clothes are great for workout gear, because of their lightweight feel and natural antimicrobial properties. This means that they won’t get stinky as fast, and a rinse will do wonders if you can hang the garment to dry in between wears.
Though your hemp clothing will last you many seasons, sometimes garments get stained or damaged beyond repair. At this point, it’s probably not feasible to donate or upcycle the item, but luckily the material will biodegrade quickly, and not waste away in a landfill for years to come.
As we start to be more considerate of the clothing we buy and seek out more sustainable and natural materials, it’s important to remember we can’t shop our way into a more sustainable lifestyle. The point of being sustainable is to upcycle and repair where we can – but when it does come time to purchase a new garment, to think about how to improve upon sustainable practices. Choosing hemp fibres where you can will not only benefit the environment, but will benefit your wallet, too, since the garments have a significantly longer lifespan.