Its no longer news that our planet has been plunged into a state of constant environmental degradation by human activities…yes, our activities.
Earth beckons on us today to make a U-turn and embrace the use of sustainable materials in our activities to avoid this looming disaster waiting to strike us all.
At the time of writing this article, the universe is combating a deadly corona virus disease known as COVID-19. It has infected more than 2.5 million people worldwide and killed more than 200,000 people.
The pandemic halted most economic activities worldwide since its transmittable through human-to-human contact. Self-isolation and social distancing was advised by WHO due to the contagious nature of the virus.
It posits a raging disaster to the human race, but on the brighter side, that was a break for earth and a period for new innovation, awareness of our fragile nature, and preparedness for future mishaps.
Pollution is one of the major challenges the world faces. Pollutants affect wildlife in the ocean, releases carbon dioxide which affects the ozone layer, releases toxins that affect the human body, and reduces nutrients in the soil.
These can be avoided if we adopt a better lifestyle and embrace the use of eco-friendly and sustainable materials for producing our home and industrial products.
It may seem sustainable products are more expensive than the non-sustainable counterpart, but, It is not. It may seem so because demands for the sustainable products are not high enough to meet the supply.
Some government policies also do not promote eco-friendly living genuinely.The cost of manufacturing is expensive at the moment, but once people get used to sustainable materials, their cost will reduce.
- 1 What are Sustainable Materials?
- 2 How Sustainable Materials Are Made
- 3 Sustainable Materials for Building
- 4 Why Invest in Sustainable Materials for Building?
- 5 Eco-Friendly Materials for Packaging
- 6 Why Invest in Sustainable Materials for Packaging?
- 7 Eco-friendly materials for fashion
- 8 Why Invest in Sustainable Materials for Fashion industry.
- 9 Conclusion
What are Sustainable Materials?
Sustainable materials or eco-friendly materials are naturally occurring materials that are not harmful to the environment. It must not contain any component-releasing toxic substances (such as formaldehyde or volatile organics, VOCs) in order to guarantee the safety of human lives and animals.
They are materials made from nature which are grown organically without the use of pesticides or herbicides during their growth process. Sustainable materials are now used;
- in building construction,
- in packaging,
- in fashion,
- in decoration,
- in electronics,
- in auto-mobiles,
They can be used partially or fully to replace either an existing product or develop entirely, a new model. Statistics collected on twitter show that 77% of people that participated in a sustainable materials adoption survey, said that they want to learn more about sustainable living.
This means if adequately sponsored, they will abandon non-sustainable lifestyle and embrace eco-living.
Government has a great role to play, since 79% of respondents to the poll believe it was up to government to tackle environmental problems. About 82% of respondents complained that eco-friendly lifestyle is quite expensive, since the price of products are not controlled.
There is need for government policies to be put in place to solve the high price challenge and other numerous challenges facing eco-friendly living.
The future potential in eco-friendly product and sustainable life style is unending, hence investing in sustainable materials will be a profitable venture in the long run.
How Sustainable Materials Are Made
Sustainable materials are made from biodegradable or inert materials that have little or no harmful effect on the environment. For a product to be tagged “100% sustainable”, its manufacturing process will be put into consideration.
The production process has to be sustainable as well. Sustainable manufacturing is energy efficient, uses renewable energy, reduces waste and conserves water.
For the most part, sustainable materials can be made following these basic steps;
- Raw material identification: The needed raw material is identified and marked for extraction.
- Extraction: Materials are harvested or extracted and sent out for processing.
- Processing: This is an energy efficient method that can involve treatment of the raw-material with other additives (if necessary) in order to make it fit for use.
- Storage: Once processed, the raw material can be stored using the best possible means. The stored material will pass through the right production process in order to get the finished product.
Whether you are a large scale sustainable raw material manufacturer or small scale type, the process is the same.
As an example, the bamboo used for making eco friendly kitchen products such as spoons and forks; is first identified and marked suitable. It is then cut down and taken to be processed. It is further cut into sizable bits (spoon size), sanded and stored or sent to be carved into desired final products.
The processing into finished product is simple and energy efficient but require lots of hand craft skill. You can’t wake up one morning and decide to make a bamboo cutlery, unless you have some nerve to go through the rigorous process.
If you are a green energy or eco friendly product advocate, you can always start small. Here is a video that will motivate you to keep up the good work.
Do not worry so much about not having enough funds to start your business, start with the little you have and be hopeful investors will find you one day.
Big sustainable companies like IKEA, Nike, Johnson and Johnson, Adobe, Patagonia, Panasonic, Unilever and Virgin, are putting tons of research out there to ensure sustainable living is achieved in no distant time.
You can choose to invest in any of the following;
- Sustainable materials for building
- Sustainable materials for packaging
- Sustainable materials for fashion
Sustainable Materials for Building
The importance of using sustainable materials for building cannot be over emphasized. Choosing to build green saves energy and cost.
Very little energy goes into the production of these materials, with a direct reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. There are generally two possible ways to go sustainable:
- Choose energy efficient materials.
- Choose recyclable materials.
Both can be combined to achieve optimal efficiency. Energy efficient materials used for buildings are eco friendly since they provide natural insulation against heat and cold.
This cuts down energy consumption in form of natural resources that cause global warming, such as oil and gas.
Using recyclable materials causes less environmental impact, than using new materials. Hence, its more sustainable to recycle an old timber, than cutting down a new tree for the same project.
New timber will need more energy to be processed and reduce the number of trees in the forest. And that’s no-way-to-go for an eco-friendly advocate.
Why Invest in Sustainable Materials for Building?
Sustainable building or green building is among the fastest growing US industries as shown by statista. The market size of sustainable materials for building is expected to reach $364.6Bn by 2023 with a CAGR of 11.9% from 2016 to 2022.
More industries are making devices for smart and sustainable homes now than ever. Therefore, it is not late to hop into investing in sustainable materials for building constructions as more industries are embracing this next big thing.
Recently, the price of oil fell to $10.38 per barrel probably because of the covid-19 pandemic. It is known fact that more industry will diversify their resources to alternative energy sources after the pandemic.
Here are some sustainable materials for building construction to invest in:
1. Bamboo tree
Bamboo is a popular tree among Asia-pacific countries (China, India, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines), America (Eastern America, Southern Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil) and Africa (south of Senegal, Guinea, Libby Elijah, Southern Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, Gabon, Congo, Malawi, Mozambique).
It is a rich natural resources that is used for various purposes; from its medicinal use as a weight loss therapy and immune booster to construction purposes such as scaffolding, bridges, houses, trusses and floorings
What makes bamboo such a promising building material for modern buildings is its combination of tensile strength, light weight, and fast-growing renewable nature. This inherent nature of bamboo has proven to be able to withstand earthquakes more than concrete and wood.
Sustainable materials like the bamboo can replace expensive and heavy imported materials used for making scaffolding for concrete and re-bar construction; especially in difficult-to reach areas, post-disaster rebuilding, and low-income areas with access to natural locally-sourced bamboo.
It can also be skillfully used to building small houses for homes.
Why Invest in Bamboo?
The global bamboo market size was valued at $68.8 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 5% from 2019 to 2025. By 2025, the bamboo market size is expected to be worth $98.3 billion.
Globally, the U.S. is the top importer of bamboo products, demonstrating the massive demand of bamboo. Investment opportunities in bamboo are growing as more producers in the U.S. seek to grow this eco-friendly plant.
2. Recycled steel
Steel, as one of the prominent sustainable materials, is used in building houses, bridges, railways and skyscrapers. It is a tough, ductile, malleable, stiff, durable, and high tensile strength material, very abundant in Australia, Brazil, USA, China, South Africa, India, etc. These countries has abundant iron ore deposit which makes them top producers of steel.
Recycling steel means, putting an old scrap piece of metal to good use by converting it to steel. Recycled steel conserves energy by reducing the energy used in producing new steel up to 74% – that’s enough energy to power about 18 million homes for a full year.
Scrap steel materials can be re-melted and used several times to produce new products. Recycling steel will reduce carbon dioxide emission by 80% than producing new steel.
For every ton of steel recycled, 2,000 pounds of iron ore, 1,200 pounds of coal, and 100 pounds of limestone are conserved.
The process of recycling steel includes;
- Heating, melting and purification,
Why Invest in Recycled steel?
The steel recycling market is projected to grow from USD 52.1 billion as of 2019 to USD 76.1 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.8% from 2020 to 2025.
The growth of this market is attributed to the increasing demand for steel and the urbanization & industrialization in developing countries.
After this pandemic, there is likely-hood of new form of industrialization and steel will play a huge role in this market.
Investing in recycled steel market will be a helpful way to reduce the scrap metal from dump sites and put them to good use, thereby sustaining our environment.
3. Precast concrete
Cement is a by product of limestone which is a naturally occurring mineral. However, concrete is a composite material, composed of fine and coarse aggregate (stones, gravel, sand) bonded together with a cement paste which is left to harden over time.
Limestone is abundant in China, the US, Russia, Japan, India, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Italy. These countries are the largest producers of limestone used in making cement in the world today.
Precast concrete as one of sustainable materials is a perfect choice for eco-conscious homes. It is more eco friendly than concrete poured on-site.
As a precast, the mixture is poured into a mold embedded with a reinforced bar (rebar) or wire and then allowed to cure (left to harden).
Once hardened, it is can be used to make various structures and shapes, thus, achieving economies of scale, which is not possible in the case of concrete poured on-site.
Its sustainable factor is higher because, the slabs take less energy to produce and assemble.
Why Invest in Precast Concrete?
The overall precast concrete market is expected to grow up to USD 138.96 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.96% from 2017 to 2022. It has been growing in accordance with the advancing degree of urbanization, industrialization, and infrastructural developments.
The gradual shift of building contractors and consumers toward cost-efficient, eco-friendly, and modern building techniques is creating growth opportunities for the precast concrete market.
This is the best time to wear your investment cap and participate in building a sustainable future for the unborn generation.
4. Straw bales
Straw bales have insulating properties. They are made up of chaff from cereals crops such as barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat.
Straw bales are used for the making walls, attics and ceilings which helps in temperature control (cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures in the winter).
Straw saves the energy that would have been used to cool or heat homes during these seasons.
As a sustainable material, straw can be harvested and re-planted easily with minimal environmental impact. The interior and exterior sides of the bale wall are typically covered by stucco, plaster, clay, or other treatment (fire resistant or moisture retardant).
Straw bales also direct agricultural waste from landfills, to use as a building material at no cost.
Care must be taken not to allow too much load on the straw when used for roofing.
Why Invest in Straw Bale?
There is increasing demand for eco-friendly homes in developed and developing countries. Investing in straw production or building with straws will contribute to use of straws in building.
You could start a straw-bale factory or invest in straw-bale architecture and be sure of returns on your investment. Straw houses also allow you saving about 75% of energy costs for heating and cooling systems.
5. Sheep’s wool
Sheep’s wool provides a good insulating material and can be used efficiently for insulating walls for homes, ceilings and attics. Sheep’s wool can be re-grown easily after shearing which inherently produce a new crop.
Clothing manufacturers have long-known the insulating properties of wool, which make very cozy sweaters, blankets and socks.
Australia, China, the US, and New Zealand are the world’s top wool producing countries. Australia produces 25% of the world’s wool supply while China, the US and New Zealand produces 18%,17% and 11% respectively.
Why Invest in Wool?
Wool market is a thriving and sustainable market that will remain evergreen for a long time. Despite a passive growth in the past five years, as its valuation dropped from ~US$ 49 billion in 2014 to just ~US$ 33 billion in 2018, wool business remains viable as there is possibility of an uptrend in this period of sustainable lifestyle advocacy. Investing in wool will yield positive result in the long run.
6. Recycled wood
Recycled wood are woods that are re-used. They are taken down from old wooden structured and refurbished into an almost new timber. It may seem recycled wood is not strong as new timber, but in reality, the reverse is the case.
Older timber is a lot stronger since it has completely dried over time. Hence, no growth of mildew and mold in the recycled wood.
In addition, recycled wool is eco-friendly and sustainable because, it discourages deforestation and saves cost. Sometimes, it is finer than new wood (the timber from which the recycled wood was felled may not be available in the market any longer).
It is used for making flooring of houses and roof trusses.
Why Invest in Recycled Wood?
The global recycled wood market size was valued at USD 11.22 billion in 2017 and is expected to register a CAGR of 4.6% over a forecast period of 10 years.
There is increasing adoption in use of reclaim wood in the U.S. construction industry, because of its availability and properties, including high durability and strength. Government can do more by passing bills that promote use of recycled wood in building construction.
Earth is readily available for use as an eco-friendly alternative for building walls and structures. It is sometimes called adobe which is compressed earth missed with 5-8% cement and can be painted to give an artful outlook.
Just like straws, earth-built homes are temperature regulated building, which are warm during winter and cool in summer.
They are sustainable building which do not require so much cost in material and energy during unfavorable climatic conditions. Earth is used for building in France, Australia and Germany, and in developing countries such as India, Peru, Brazil and Columbia.
Caution must be take to ensure the regulations guiding a particular country before using earth to build or investing.
Why Invest in Earth?
Earth (clay) can be seen in many parts of the world. If this material is abundant in your region, you can start a small business of manufacturing this material and selling at a price lower than the conventional block (cement, sand and water).
You can also invest in companies that are already producing adobe. To contribute to eco-living, you can build a house made from earth.
Eco-Friendly Materials for Packaging
Adopting the use of sustainable packaging will contribute to huge reduction of trash in dump sites, reduces individual carbon footprint, removes harmful plastic, saves aquatic lives that sometimes swallow this materials, and can help one save money(using multiple times).
Sustainable materials for packaging can also be called green packaging materials or eco friendly packaging.
Here are some raw sustainable materials that are used in packaging. You can chose to invest in these materials by using any of its end product or go into business by using these materials to create your own brand. The market potential is enormous.
Why Invest in Sustainable Materials for Packaging?
The market size of sustainable materials for packaging registered a value of USD 237.74 billion in 2019 and is expected to be 313.93 billion in 2025 to register a CAGR of 5.7% over the forecast period 2020-2025.
The result of this expected growth is linked to concerns regarding environmental impacts caused by plastic packaging, as seen across the food and beverage industry, which is leading a number of companies to use recycled plastic (rPET) in their packaging(bottles and bags), thus, boosting eco-friendly market growth.
Mushrooms can replace the styrofoam (polystyrene foam) which provides a cushioning effect for fragile products like electronics. Styrofoam is non-degradable and can be prevalent in land fills for thousands of years.
They contribute to about 25-30 percent of space in landfills together with other plastic constituents.
Styrofoams are also hazardous to human health as it is found to cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and upper respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal effects.
Using mushroom as the alternative will curb this damage.The mushroom’s mycelium is mixed with some bio-degradable materials such as straw, under adequate condition and processing.
The mycelium bonds with the straw and forms a bio-material capable of replacing the styrofoam. Mushroom packaging is non-toxic and bio-degradable.
Why Invest in Mushrooms?
The global mushroom market is expected to reach USD 118 million by 2025, at a CAGR of 15.6% between 2019 and 2025. It is a durable packaging that will likely replace the styrofoam once it becomes globally acceptable.
Ecovative is an American company already making lots of money using this technology.
9. Coconut husk:
This is a very useful eco-friendly material used for packaging that can serve same purpose as the mushroom. The husk of coconut is separated and shredded into tiny bit and then treated with natural binders to make it suitable to be molded into desired forms.
It can be used for making trays, food boxes or containers. It is light weight and can bio-degrade when exposed to moisture and favorable conditions.
Coconut is always in demand, as many countries that are leading producers of coconut, such as Indonesia, Philippines, India , Brazil, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are constantly complaining of not meeting demand from the people.
Why Invest in Coconut Husk?
The coconut products market size was valued at $11.5 billion in 2018, and estimated to reach $31.1 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 13.6% from 2019 to 2026. You can invest in coconut husk today by dumping styrofoam base packaging materials. Invest in start-ups promoting eco-friendly coconut husks.
10. Sugarcane pulp
Sugarcane residue (Bagasse) remaining after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice, can now be used as an sustainable material for packaging.
It is a renewable and sustainable source of energy used in the manufacture of pulp and paper product, building materials, and disposable food containers(replacing styrofoam, which are currently regarded as toxic waste).
You can invest in this business if you live in countries rich in sugarcane production or that have processing plants such as in Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Thailand, Pakistan and Columbia. These countries produce and export sugarcane products to other countries.
Why invest in Sugarcane Pulp?
The global sugarcane pulp market size was estimated at USD 4.02 billion in 2018 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.9% over a forecast period of 5 years.
Increasing demand for adopting sustainable packaging by industries in the food, food service, electronics, healthcare, industrial, and other sectors, is estimated to drive the growth in use of sugarcane pulp as the alternative.
11. Recycled Paper and cardboard
Paper and cardboard are sustainable materials which can be recycled and re-packaged for use as paper and cardboard (or related products) severally. Making a new cardboard from cut tree is more expensive than using a recycled one.
Using a recycled pulp also reduces paper waste from landfills. Reducing deforestation is one way recycled paper can be beneficial to the habitat loss for wildlife and makes more oxygen available in the atmosphere.
Why Invest in Recycled Paper and Cardboard?
The global market size of the paper industry is estimated to reach to reach USD 679.72 Billion by the year 2027, at a CAGR of 3.45% over the fore cast period.
This is a huge market for businesses already in the pulp industry. You can also invest in sustainable living by buying shares from environmental conscious industries and adopting environmentally friendly lifestyle as well.
12. Corn starch
Corn starch is biodegradable and belong to sustainable materials. It has long been used as binders for recycled paper. They can also be used to make disposable wares (to replace styrofoam) and plastic bags.
They can help save tons of plastic bags waste which go into landfills and ocean each year, providing a clean and sustainable environment for mankind.
Corn is popular in many countries including USA, China, Brazil, India and South Africa. These countries are the largest producers of corn.
Corn starch, as one of the sustainable materials, can be used for many other purposes in the medical and culinary industry. Investing in this market will lead to a sustainable future for you and many generations unborn.
Why Invest in Corn Starch?
The corn starch market size will grow at a (CAGR) of 4.5%-5.5% during a forecast period of 2019-2025. In 2018, the global corn starch market value size was estimated to be between $10.1 billion to $10.5 billion.
Its a thriving market to invest in. Reduce your carbon footprint as well by making corn starch your investment choice.
13. Palm leaves
Indonesia, Malaysia, Columbia, Nigeria and Thailand are top producers of palm oil. This means there is abundance of palm trees and of course palm leaves. These leaves can be commercially processed and used as an eco-friendly packaging material.
To make eco-friendly products using palm leaves, the leaf is is plucked from areca palm leaf, cleaned with water, dried and then stretched and flattened. Plates and bowl of different shapes are then molded using a heated press and a mold.
The end product is a sustainable and renewable product, and since the production process involved produces less waste-emissions, the process is also sustainable.
Why Invest in Palm Leaves?
Sustainable materials like palm leaves, makes a fine finish and tough material for use as a food packaging end product. The market size of oil palm is valued at USD 65 billion, is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 7.2%, to reach USD 92 billion in 2021.
Eco-friendly materials for fashion
Bags are used for many purposes and can be made with sustainable materials. Bags made with eco-friendly materials contribute to reduction in 60% of wastes found in landfills.
Most bags are made with synthetic leather and are not biodegradable, but introducing biodegradable bags, made with sustainable materials will cushion the effect of global warming in our planet.
On another note, just like our food, it is easy to forget where our clothes are made and what they are made of. They are everywhere in all retail shops.
We don’t really care much about the material the clothes are made of. Once its fashionable and affordable, we send them to the cart straight-up.
Most of these fabrics and dresses made of cheap, trendy and glimmering fabrics are made of materials which causes gradual, but perilous damage to our earth.
Polyester, nylon and acrylic fabrics are the real culprits here, as they have proven to give off thousands of tiny plastic microfibers when washed.
Marine animals can ingest these micro plastics which causes serious damage to their digestive tract; reducing their population and endangering their specie.
The environmental damage caused by the fashion industry cannot be exhausted in this post. In summary, here are the top effects:
- Water pollution caused by discharge of dyes and textile effluents.
- Contribution to landfills and ocean debris.
- The amount of fuel used in textile industry contribute to global warming
- Pesticides used to treat cotton plant are washed ashore, destroying aquatic lives.
A similar scene is found in shoe manufacturing industries. Shoe manufacturing and shoes in general, poses many threat to the well-being of our planet because of the many toxins, chemicals and fossil fuels generated during its production process.
These toxins are leaked into the eco-system during the first and last stages of the shoe life cycle.
The manufacturing process produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide which contributes to the already serious effects of climate change and global warming. The left over materials are discarded into landfills, causing more pollution.
In the final cycle, about 80% of every shoe, find their way into land fills and some end up in the ocean. The non-sustainable materials in these shoes disintegrate into tinier after a while and harm wildlife and humans.
Some eco-friendly materials can be used to mitigate the effects of already existing pollution caused by the fashion industry. The materials can be recycled and re-used for a fraction of its cost if it was newly produced.
Why Invest in Sustainable Materials for Fashion industry.
Fashion industries can use sustainable materials such as fibers, animal skin and some plants to make environmental friendly products.
The market size of this industry is expected to reach USD 69.0 billion by 2025, as per a new report by Grand View Research Inc. expanding at a CAGR of 9.2% over the forecast period.
Also, you can invest by buying eco-friendly clothing and shoes for use. Research shows that 88% of consumers want brands to help them to be more eco-friendly.
If the fashion industry continues on its current path, it will produce 26% of the world’s carbon footprint by 2050.
Companies like Rothy’s, Nike, Tentree and Levi’s are making a huge impact by employing measures that limit the carbon foot print of their customers by using eco-friendly materials in their designs.
Some of the materials they use which you can invest in today include:
14. Recycled Rubber:
Recycled rubber is rubber that has been reclaimed from rubber base scrap products, such as used tires, tubes, hoses, gloves, etc. As one of the sustainable materials for fashion industry, recycled rubber provides innovative means to reduce environmental waste, while solving our fashion needs. Recycled rubber can be used to make hand bags, belts, wallets, shoes and sandals.
Recycled rubber can also be used to make athletic surfacing, mats, sound control rooms, roofing, and ballistic tiles. These products are termed environmentally friendly since they are made without needing fresh raw material from the rubber tree.
This saves energy and reduces amount of carbon dioxide generated from rubber plants. The rubber that would have been left at dump sites are also put to good use by recycling.
Why Invest in Recycled Rubber?
The global market size of rubber recycling applications will grow from $7.6 billion in 2017 to nearly $9.5 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% for the period of 2017-2022.
By investing in recycled rubber, you are encouraging an energy efficient manufacturing process and reduced waste prevalence in our environment when compared to its synthetic counterpart.
Hemp is a bast fiber plant similar to Flax, Jute, and Ramie. It is an annual plant that grows from seed. It can be grown on a range of soils but grows best on lands that produce high corn yields.
It has great nutritional value, can be used for cleaning products and a stronger material than cotton.
Additionally, it requires less pesticides and herbicides during its growth than cotton, when grown on a large scale. This makes it a perfect replacement for cotton as an eco-friendly material.
The production process used in making textile out of hemp fiber requires less energy than would be required in making fresh cotton. This also makes it fit to be tagged eco-friendly.
Why Invest in Hemp Plant?
Apart from the nutritional and clothing value hemp provides, it is also used for making rope, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. The global industrial hemp market size is projected to grow from USD 4.6 billion in 2019 to USD 26.6 billion by 2025, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.0%.
If you have resources to invest in eco-companies that use hemp as raw material, it will be a risk worthy investment.
16. Organic cotton:
Cotton market is huge in terms of its use in manufacturing of goods, but the environmental damage caused by cotton plant is huge. Cotton production is also rated as one of the most polluting processes in manufacturing.
Your typical cotton plant is supported with lots of pesticides and herbicides during its growth cycle. These are not favorable for the environment.
However, organic cotton is processed without the use of pesticides, making it eco-friendly. When we rely on organic processes in the growing and textile manufacturing processes, the quality of cotton substantially increases.
The fabric made out of organic cotton are hypoallergenic, meaning they do not cause rashes which occur because of pollutant residue on the fabric.
Why Invest in Organic Cotton?
Many countries are imposing ban on synthetic materials and pesticides used in textile manufacturing processes. Organic cotton market provides the alternative which is accepted in many countries.
As of 2007, 265,517 bales of organic cotton were produced in 24 countries and worldwide production was growing at a rate of more than 50% per year. In the 2016/2017 season, annual global production reached 3.2 million metric tonnes.
17. Organic Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is grown majorly in India and it is regarded as of the most affordable natural fibers; second to cotton.
The fabric made from jute fiber is strong, recyclable and biodegradable. When it is made using organic processes, it will be 100% sustainable.
Apart from its use in the textile industry, it is also used for making twine, rope, matting and bags used to store rice, wheat, grains, etc.
Why Invest in Organic Jute?
Because of its versatile use,the jute plant is sometimes known as the “golden plant”. It has long been an economic plant for Indians and other parts of the world where it is grown.
The market size of jute bag market reached a value of US$ 1.8 Billion in 2018, exhibiting a CAGR of around 11.5% during 2011-2018. According to the report, the market is projected to reach a value of US$ 3.1 Billion by 2024.
That is only for the bag making industry. It will be higher if other products of this sustainable material is considered.
18. Recyclable PET fabric
Did you know that plastics can be used to make fabric? Yes. It is very possible. The recycled PET fabric is one of the sustainable materials.
The yarns of the clothing material are made from rejected or used PET bottles from companies.
This system helps to reduce the waste produced by the PET bottle industries and also from PET bottle users. The recycled fabric can be recycled as many times as possible.
Why Invest in Recyclable PET Fabric?
The market for this eco-friendly raw material is really big. The polymer coated fabrics market size is expected to grow up to USD 20.1 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 4.3% during the forecasting period.
19. Organic Wool
Wool is gotten from hair of sheep, alpaca, camel, cashmere goat etc. It is one of the sustainable materials used in textile industry.
If the process it passes in order to be converted to wool clothing is free from chemicals; including pesticides and fertilizers used in raising the hairy animals, then it is termed organic wool. Only organically grown feed is given to the animals.
Why Invest in Organic Wool?
While there is no data for sales of organic wool products specifically, sales of organic apparel and
home products in general are increasing at a rapid rate in the U.S. as well as globally.
Study showed that organic fiber (including organic wool) product sales in the United States reached $1.4 billion in 2016, an increase of 9.2 percent.
There is a projected increase to this trend as more companies are becoming more aware of this market.
19. Recycled fabric
Recycling our used clothes is one way to reduce the amount of waste found in our landfills and dump yards. For dresses you have outgrown or that are out of fashion, they can be made into an eco-friendly dress or clothing that is entirely new.
The innovation is still new as many industries are searching for ways to improve the amount of wastes found in our environment.
Latest technology is used at all stages of manufacturing to minimize environmental impact. The Use of recycled fabric and environmentally-friendly dyes have changed the ecological outlook to some extent. Now, the designers and consumers have to be aware of their impact and take a stand.
Why Invest in Recycled Fabric?
It is cheap and easily accessible. In addition, the market size of recycled wear was valued at $5.3 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to generate $8.0 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2019 to 2026.
Adopting the use of sustainable materials and sustainable products is a huge investment towards a better environment. We can only feel the real value of our investment over time, when we experience cleaner environment, cleaner air, greener vegetation, and reduced industrial wastes. Our air quality is poor because of release of carbon dioxide from several industries and other human activities.
You can begin your eco-friendly journey by becoming aware of the how your choices effect the environment. To achieve this, the following should be observed;
- Learn to use items that cause little harm to the environment.
- Be aware of how much you contribute to carbon footprint.
- Be ready to support others that work to live and produce eco-friendly.
There you have it! 15+ sustainable materials to invest in today…feel free to comment below – the material that interests you the most. If you have an input, kindly share as well. I will be glad to read through.