Tencel is the brand name for Lyocell which is a fibre which is produced in an environmentally responsible process made from cellulose. Tencel is becoming increasingly popular, the fabric of choice for ethical and conscious clothing brands. The light material is favoured for casual and sportswear. Eucalyptus, which is the main tree used to create the fabric, is a fast-growing tree and an ethical and eco-friendly material for the fashion industry.
HOW IS TENCEL MADE?
Tencel is made from dissolving wood pulps and dried using a process called ‘Spinning’. During the drying process, wood chips are added to make the mixture wet, which is then pushed through holes to create threads. The threads are then chemically treated and spun into yarn which is woven into clothes.
1. Making the pulp: Trees such as Eucalyptus are harvested from tree farms and sent to the mill to be debarked and chopped into several pieces. The pieces are filtered through chemical digesters to produce wet pulp. Later the pulp is washed with water which is spun into yarn.
2. Dissolving the cellulose: The next step is to dissolve the cellulose by breaking it into small pieces and piled into heated, pressurized containers filled with amine oxide.
3. Filtering: At this stage as soon as the cellulose in the solvent dissolves into a clear solution, it is purified out through a filter to make sure everything was dissolved.
4. Spinning: At this stage, the solution is pumped through spinnerets. The cellulose is forced through, producing long fibre strands. It will then be washed with demineralised water.
5. Dry and lubricate: The remaining water is removed by heating it. At this point, the fibre strands pass through a lubricant like soap or silicone and helps untangle the fibre strands and facilitate the process of carding.
6. Carding: The fibre strands are compressed by a crimping machine to give it texture and bulk. It is then sent through a comb to seperate it for the last time where lastly, the carded fibre strands are rolled up and shipped to a fabric mill.
How does Tencel impact the environment?
The primary worry for making Tencel is the quantity of trees that would be chopped down. The trees are cut from sustainable farms. Over that, the trees that are cut are replaced with more trees. Tencel is a biodegradable item. In comparison to cotton, the trees don't require pesticides. Production of Tencel is short, it takes about two and a half hours from chopping the wood down to the carding. Thus, compared to the production of other man-made fibres it uses less water and energy. The production is produced on a "closed-loop system," in which "99% of the chemicals and solvents used in the process t