At Palais de l’eau, our aim is to leave the world in better shape than we found it by creating sustainable products. Now, even though our products aren’t made with Tencel™ (yet), we like to tell you more about this amazing fabric. If you’re interested in more of these nifty articles, all you have to do is sign up for our newsletter and you’ll get them in right in your inbox, every month!
What is Tencel™?
Tencel™ is a branded lyocell which consists of cellulose fibre made from wood pulp or cotton linter. The fabric is produced from natural, raw wood material which is sustainably sourced from forests. In all countries where Lenzing (the company behind Tencel™) sources its wood supplies (mostly Central Europe), reforestation exceeds the quantities harvested for sustainable usage by a third. Wood pulp is dissolved in a chemical solvent and the mixture is then pushed through small holes to form fibres. The fibres are then chemically treated with some amine oxide, spun into yarn and can be woven into cloth.
The manufacturing of lyocell produces no harmful byproducts and is significantly less toxic and wasteful than the manufacture of other fibres. Cellulose, its principal ingredient, is easily obtained from managed tree farms, and the industry hasn’t been accused of harmful forestry habits. Furthermore, the amine oxide solvent used to treat Tencel™ is non-toxic, and because it is almost completely recycled during manufacturing, it is not released into the environment. The water used in the process of Tencel™ is recycled and the solvent is reused to form new fibres, in a bid to keep waste to a minimum.
So, Tencel™ is biodegradable and also requires less energy and water in its production than cotton! Sounds great, right? It gets even better…
So Tencel™ is sustainable, but what about the fabric?
Tencel™ is an extremely versatile fabric that is used for a lot of purposes already like shirts, trousers, t-shirts, and bedding. The fabric has a smooth surface, is soft, breathable, light, and really comfortable. Furthermore, it’s made to last a really long time as its elasticity and strength are unparalleled. The cherry on the cake is that Tencel absorbs moisture better than cotton (natural perspiration included). Not only does that make it more comfortable, but it also has an anti-bacterial function because of its moisture management property. Sounds like the perfect fabric to make a (baby) towel out of, right?
The downsides of Tencel™
There are not a lot of downsides to Tencel™, but currently, one of them is the price. From a consumer’s perspective, Tencel™ is more expensive because of the technology used in processing. At this moment in time, it simply costs more to produce than cotton, for instance. Secondly, dyes are difficult to bind during production because of its fairly low surface energy. So, you might not be able to find your favourite colour shirt in Tencel™. Lastly, Tencel™ loses a bit of strength when wet. This, however, could be resolved by combining Tencel™ with a stronger fabric.
Back to the future
For us, it seems the benefits outway the downsides by a long shot. Therefore, we are currently looking into creating our products with Tencel™. We’ll keep you posted on the process! If you don’t want to miss out, sign up for a newsletter and never miss an update! Just to summarise, here’s why Tencel™ is so great:
- Tencel™ is naturally biodegradable
- The production of Tencel™ produces no harmful byproducts
- Reforestation exceeds the quantities harvested for sustainable usage by a third
- The main ingredient, cellulose, is easily gotten from managed tree farms
- The chemical (amine oxide solvent) is non-toxic and recyclable
- The farming of trees to produce Tencel™ does not require irrigation or pesticides
- Tencel™ production is significantly less toxic and wasteful than other cellulose fibres
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