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The Best Eco-Friendly T-Shirt Fabrics

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The Best Eco-Friendly T-Shirt Fabrics - Enya's Attic


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As consumers, it looks like we’ve finally got it - Using eco-friendly fabrics is as much a way of sustainable living as conserving water. 

And with t-shirts being the most basic and omnipresent piece of clothing, it’s a good bet to start there when building a sustainable wardrobe.

Because, though you might not realise it, simply buying tees that are farmed and processed with the planet – and not solely profit - in mind,  is a huge step towards lessening the clothing industry’s negative impact on the environment.

But which t-shirt fabrics are eco-friendly?

With so many innovative clothing materials coming on stream (apple leather, anyone?!) it can be difficult to separate the planet-loving from the polluting.

So we’re giving you the lowdown on five easy to find, eco-friendly t-shirt fabrics that’ll help you build a quality-based and earth-snuggling wardrobe to be proud of!


Organic Cotton 

Organic cotton tops our list of eco-friendly t-shirt fabrics.

Grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and processed without the use of chemicals, organic cotton uses  62% less energy than conventional cotton (a.k.a. “the world’s dirtiest crop”).  

Additionally, when cotton is farmed and processed organically, water pollution is significantly reduced, which is a huge consideration in a world where millions of people (and often those involved in conventional cotton farming) do not have access to safe water.

Third-party certification institutions are responsible for confirming if the producers use products and methods allowed in organic production.

So look out for GOTS-approved or certified organic cotton labels when shopping for tees. GOTS is the gold standard, insisting on rigorous ethical and environmental standards being met in the entire cotton supply chain, ensuring all final garments are chemical-free – and it’s the certification carried by several of our women’s organic t-shirts.


 BUY NOW: 100% Organic Cotton Zora Neale Hurston Quote Tee - €24,00

Recycled Cotton 

Recycled cotton is also known as regenerated or repurposed cotton. It’s a product of both pre-consumer and post-consumer cotton.

Pre-consumer cotton includes post-industrial waste like fabric scraps and yarn. Post-consumer cotton is simply recycled cotton towels, garments, or household items.

Most of the recycled cotton t-shirts you’ll buy come from pre-consumer waste. This is because getting post-consumer fabric of the same colour and blend is labour-intensive.

This cotton type reduces negative environmental effects by cutting out cotton farming and inhibiting waste from reaching landfills.

Recycled cotton certification is almost impossible, as identifying where recycled cotton is sourced from and whether it's pure is challenging.

However, OEKO-TEX, bluesign® Approved, Global Recycle Standard, or Recycle Content Standard logos guarantee a lack of toxic materials.


READ NEXT: 5 Ways to Style Your Favourite Bookish T-Shirt


Recycled Polyester 

Recycled polyester, popularly known as rPET, is a product of repurposed plastic bottles.

Aside from diverging plastic waste from landfills, recycled polyester production has gained its eco-friendly credential because it requires less energy and produces less carbon dioxide than processing new fabrics.

There are two recycled polyester production processes; mechanical and chemical. Mechanical recycling involves melting the plastic into yarn. In chemical recycling, plastic molecules are broken down and reformed to form yarn.

Recycled polyester clothing takes various forms, from women's environmentally-friendly t-shirts to  hoodies and sweatshirts  and active-wear.

A downside to recycled polyester fabric is that although it’s recycled till its quality reduces, it remains non-biodegradable. Therefore, holding off until that point means ensuring that the best possible processes are undertaken.

For that reason, certification is mandatory and to obtain the Recycled Content Standard, OEKO-TEX, or Global Recycle Standard certification, producers must comply with the best practices and chemical restrictions for social and environmental responsibility.


Hemp fabric comes from hemp plants, a high-yielding crop in the cannabis sativa species or family. This plant enriches the soil by inhibiting weed growth and lessening synthetic herbicide use thanks to its pest resistance, making it one of the most eco-friendly fabrics.

Moreover, hemp absorbs more carbon dioxide from the environment than regular plants,  which is a plus for the entire ecosystem.

That said, hemp is the most expensive fabric in the market because it’s hard to grow.

Still, it has several wearable advantages, like its microbial and sun-protective attributes along with its great durability.

Various USDA certifying organisations inspect organic farming processes and chain supply to ensure no toxic chemical materials are used.


Organic Linen

Organic linen is a product of flax plants grown without artificial fertilisers and pesticides. Flax grows using rainwater rather than irrigation, making this fabric highly sustainable.

Retting the crop to strip the fibres from the stems is the first step in organic linen production. Crushing the fibres using rollers to remove all the woody elements follows. The entire process is fully mechanical and includes zero chemicals.

This fabric is extremely expensive and only makes up about 1% of the total linen produced worldwide. But women’s t-shirts made with organic linen can dot the elegant-looking I’s as well as cross the eco-friendly Ts.

So, what eco-friendly t-shirt fabric do you like best? Sign up for Enya’s Attic’s weekly newsletter now and you’ll receive 15% off our lovely selection of sustainable bookish t-shirts.

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