Diversify those materials!

This week we learned about material diversity from the reading. Material diversity uses alternate materials in creating products that not only makes things more efficient but also is sustainable for the environment. It was really important to learn about the synthetic vs. natural debate. In my head, for some reason, I thought natural was the equivalent of organic. In this article it explained that there are faults and consequences in using both synthetic and natural materials. A big draw back of using natural materials such as cotton is water use. This is probably the biggest concern in these natural materials. In synthetics, chemicals are a problem and can be harmful to workers in production and consumers during the end use stage. Both materials have drawbacks so what do we do?

Learning the facts on the natural vs. synthetic debate is highly relevant in choosing alternatives. All of the alternatives have potential drawbacks and are not perfect fixes in any situation. I think natural alternatives would be ideal because it eliminates the problem of chemicals and reduces water use. I feel reducing water use in naturals could potentially be more realistic than reducing a high amount of chemicals in synthetics. One of the alternatives I found interesting was dew-retted flax/hemp in place of linen. These two alternatives completely avoid the pollution problems that come with producing the linen in the traditional method. These alternatives help to rebuild the soil and clear land for crops as well as using less water. 

By reading up on the alternatives to natural and synthetic fibers, I now know that there is no right or wrong answer. Just because a company uses ‘natural’ fibers does not mean they are a completely environmentally friendly or sustainable business. I would like to learn more about these alternatives being used in sustainable companies. I would also be interested in finding companies who make products solely based on these alternative materials. 


-rockozigg out

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