Textile waste is a mounting issue that extends beyond the fashion industry.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 990,000 tons of sheets, pillowcases and towels were landfilled in the U.S. in 2017.
As the textile industry aims to curb its carbon footprint and wastefulness, picking environmentally minded fibers for bedding and bath products can move it towards its goals. Lenzing’s TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fibers are made out of wood pulp, making them natural and fully biodegradable. A product made of 100 percent TENCEL™ can be composted at the end of its life, saving it from the trash and returning it to the earth.
The use of TENCEL™ for home textiles is ticking up, particularly when it comes to basic bedding. The cellulosic fibers can be used in a fill, replacing some of the polyester in mattresses and pillows, making these products more sustainable while enhancing the comfort.
Along with adding more sustainability to bedding, TENCEL™ branded fibers are better at absorbing moisture than cotton. This helps with thermal regulation and breathability, allowing consumers to have a cooler, drier night’s sleep.
“I would suggest to everybody to try a bed that features TENCEL™ from the mattress up to the top of bed, and they’ll see for themselves how comfortable and a better night’s sleep they’ll get,” said Walter Bridgham, senior business development manager, home and interiors, North America at Lenzing.
When used in bedding, TENCEL™ fibers also create an unfavorable atmosphere for bacteria growth and dust mites.
For sheeting, TENCEL™ branded fibers can be used in concentrations ranging from 30 percent blends to 100 percent. For instance, the fibers can be blended with polyester to create a wrinkle-free sheet that is breathable and cool to the hand. Brands may also choose to mix TENCEL™ with organic cotton or other fibers to achieve a specific look or feel and message.
Aside from its sustainability and comfort credentials, TENCEL™ branded fibers boast fashion-friendly properties. Bedding made with the fibers has a silky handfeel and sheen. From a design perspective, TENCEL™ textiles can be digitally printed to enable a wide variety of looks.
In the bathroom, towels made of Lenzing’s TENCEL™ Modal Loft offer better loft, absorbency and softness than terry products made of 100 percent cotton.
While TENCEL™ is biodegradable for a less impactful end of life, the lifespan of a product made from these fibers is also longer since the material is stronger than cotton. For towels, better color retention also means terry that looks like new for longer and stays softer.
There is virtually no limit to the potential applications for TENCEL™ branded fibers in home textiles. Retailers and brands are increasingly catching on to using the fibers. Some of the major brands that carry bedding and bath textiles with TENCEL™ branded fibers are Pottery Barn, The Company Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillards, Macy’s, West Elm and The Home Depot. Direct-to-consumer companies including Casper, Beantown Bedding, Bearaby, Hoot, Malouf, Molecule and Pure Grace also retail products containing the fibers.
Outside of technical attributes, another aspect that sets TENCEL™ branded fiber apart is its branding. Lenzing offers partners cobranding opportunities and digital assets to help tell a sustainability story to the end consumer.
“The great thing about TENCEL™ is it’s the number one most recognized sustainable fiber brand,” said Bridgham. “Where you have seen it in all your other aspects of life, now you’re seeing it more in your home life. So that’s a great plus for brands and retailers.”
Want to learn more about using TENCEL™ branded fibers for home goods? Join TENCEL™ for a panel discussion on Sept. 16 at 9 a.m. ET during Home Textiles Week with speakers from Lenzing and Textile Exchange. Register here for access to the live event and to receive a copy of the recording.