Let's Talk: Clothing. Cotton vs. Polyester.


Author: Lydia

April 27, 2021

We get it. You want to live a more eco-friendly life, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. Where do you start? Grocery bags? Water bottles? Solar panels? As of late, there has been an increased focus on what lives in our closet - should you buy 100% cotton garments? Is polyester always worse? Is a 50/50 blend the way to go? Or should you only purchase second hand? Take a breather. We're in this together and taking small steps can go a long way. ✌️

Let's talk clothing: we've recently had to do some digging for our clothing development process. Choosing the best materials is of upmost importance to us here at Tree Tribe, but it doesn't come easy - we spend a lot of time researching where to start, too! Lately, we've come across some information that seemed too important not to share. So, buckle up! 

Cotton or Polyester? This debate is still alive and well. At face value, cotton fabrics seem like the obvious choice: they're made from natural fibers from cotton plants. Polyester, on the other hand is a synthetic material. Naturally, a lot of us would think (me included!) that 100% cotton is the way to go... 

As it turns out, a 50/50 cotton/poly blend material may be the better choice for your wardrobe. According to the European Textile Services Association, especially for workwear, a cotton/polyester blend takes the cake and produces less greenhouse gases. Likewise, some research into Fibre2Fashion lands with similar conclusions. Ready for the rundown? 👇

  • Polyester and its blends creates 10% less CO2 than 100% cotton wear, when considering the entire lifespan. 
  • Polyester is stronger and more chemically resistant than 100% cotton, resulting in a longer life span for the garment. 
  • Cotton takes a ton of water to produce and is often produced in a non sustainable way. 
  • Polyester takes less water to produce, but more energy. 
  • Polyester and its blends, due to lower moisture regain, take less energy to dry than 100% cotton garments. 
Best of both. There are clearly downsides for both cotton and polyester. Opting for a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend, when you do choose to purchase new clothing may be the best option. Overall, there's a lesson we've learned lately...
Be better, even if it's not perfect. We're not always 100% perfect and we're the first to admit that. When you purchase from Tree Tribe, you can feel good knowing that we take great pride in doing our best and striving to improve systems that produce a negative impact on the planet, from all angles. We take the time to look at not only the material we're using to create a product, but where its coming from, the labor practices surrounding it, and it's lifespan. + we're going to plant some trees for it. 🌲
We're firm believers in small positive actions made by thoughtful, yet imperfect individuals - keeping that mission in mind will surely result in a better world for us all. 
Author: Lydia

Brand Development Manager, Product Designer

Lydia has a deep passion for traveling and exploring the world. When she’s not working on her next project or adventuring, you can find her reading, working out, and spending time with her inner circle.

Favorite nature spot: Tela, Honduras

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