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Beyond cotton: Which alternative fabrics are eco-friendly?
Beyond cotton: Which alternative fabrics are eco-friendly?

Much as they're trumpeted by so-called eco-designers, plant-based alternatives to cotton are a minuscule piece of the fashion puzzle. Dwarfed by cotton and synthetics such as polyester, spandex and rayon, textiles made from flax, wood pulp, hemp and bamboo make up less than 2% of the market. But that percentage is growing due to consumer and corporate demand, as well as technological advancements that make natural fibers easier to transform into wearable fabrics. One of the more promising developments in sustainable textiles is flax, a stalky and fibrous plant that can be grown with far less water and fewer pesticides than cotton and produced at a lower price. While cotton is...

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