Costs of Textile Fibres

All textile fibres has their own costs, be it to the environment or the consumer directly. Listed below are examples of the costs in producing some materials.

[Cotton: Michael Bass-Deschenes]

According to World Wild Fund for Nature:

  • Cotton uses up 24% of global insecticide sales and 11% of global pesticide sales, despite only accounting for 2.4% of the world’s agricultural land
  • The use of chemicals in its production resulted in health hazard for workers and nearby ecosystems
  • 20,000 litres of water are used to produce 1 kilogram of cotton, which is equivalent to one T-shirt and one pair of jeans
  • Detrimental effects to River Basins worldwide as unsustainable practices are impacting health and livelihood of nearby communities

Nylon & Polyester:

According to a report by Fibre2Fashion:

  • Made using petrochemicals which are non-biodegradable
  • Manufacture creates nitrous oxide, which is ‘310 times more potent’ than carbon dioxide
  • Huge amounts of water required for cooling process of polyester
  • Uses up massive amounts of energy in its production

Rayon (viscose):

According to a report by Fibre2Fashion:

  • Pulpwood plantations results in rapid clearing of forests and displacement of subsistence farmers
  • Eucalyptus tree which is usually planted for rayon, uses up a large amount of water
  • Toxic chemicals are used to treat wood pulp


According to a report by PETA:

  • Overconsumption of the commons by sheep farmers resulted in soil degradation and desertification. In Argentina back in the early 20th century, this has resulted in an estimation of threat to 93% of its land.
  • Sheep ‘dip’ contains toxic chemicals which poses environmental problem. A study conducted in Scotland measured 40% of 795 sheep-dip facilities to have a ‘pollution risk’