Almost everyone has a few fleece jackets that come in handy during winter. Despite these icy weather conditions, they are usually warm enough to allow you to walk outdoors.
The fabric is also known for being cozy and soft. However, despite all this glory, is fleece bad for the environment?
Vegans are hesitant to wear wool, and fleece has turned out to be a great replacement. After all, it doesn’t come from animals.
So, that begs quite an important question. Where does fleece come and what’s its impact on the environment?
Is it sustainable since humans will most likely wear clothes for many years? There is only one way to get these answers: reading on.
So, Is Your Fleece Jacket Bad for the Environment?
No matter how soft and warm the fleece is, that jacket is bad for the environment. It may be sad for any environment enthusiast, but that’s true.
The cause of its harm to the environment is a result of its material. Since its material is often polyester, known as polyethene terephthalate, that jacket will most likely shed microplastics.
It is made through chemical reactions involving petroleum, air and water. Petroleum is a renowned environmental pollutant in several ways, even on its own.
Its big size makes the matter worse. After all, it will use more polyester and shed more microplastics.
Equally important, microplastics are also easy to see and, thus, hard to handle. Unfortunately, their impact is huge, and the planet can’t afford to overlook it.
How Is Fleece Bad for The Environment?
We have identified that the main culprit is its material, polyester. One of its ingredients is petroleum, and it is no secret that the fossil fuel is nonrenewable.
To make the matter worse, its processing requires a lot of water and energy. Again, these resources should be used sparingly to meet the demands and for sustainability.
Its dyeing is yet another way that sees fleece affects the environment adversely. Like any other dying process, manufacturers must use a lot of water.
The used water is also released into water sources. Since such water contains chemical surfactants and unexpended dyes, it can harm the aquatic life in these water sources.
There is also the fact that it isn’t a biodegradable material. Besides, even after breaking down, which it does, it will shed microplastics which are small plastic particles, thus threatening the environment.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to dispose of fleece for it to impact the environment. It will release these harmful microplastics even when cleaning the fabrics.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Fleece
It turns out that fleece has advantages and disadvantages. The two sides of the same coin are as follows;
Advantages of Fleece
Despite being bad for the environment, there are various reasons why fleece is a popular fabric. It has several advantages, including the following.
- Moisture resistance hence ideal for winter since it often rains and drizzles
- It will also insulate you despite being wet
- It is highly breathable
- Fleece is soft
- It is plush
- It is durable
- The material is comfortable
- It is lightweight
- It is easy to clean, and ironing is unnecessary; hence a low-maintenance fabric.
- Fleece is also hypoallergenic
- It is relatively cheap
- It will dry quickly, which is highly appreciated, especially during winter.
- The material also resists wrinkles
- Lastly, it is flexible
Disadvantages of Fleece
Despite the advantages, here are the downside of fleece;
- Its high static electricity attracts dust, pet hair and lint, among other similar items
- It isn’t windproof
- It is flammable
- Fleece can’t withstand ironing and tumble drying
- The same applies to extremely high temperatures during washing
- This material is known for pilling quickly
- It can easily pollute water due to the microplastics it usually sheds
- It is also non-biodegradable since its material is polyester
Why Is Fleece Considered Environmentally Friendly Though?
Whereas manufacturing, cleaning and disposal make fleece bad for the environment, there is a good part about it regarding the surroundings. That’s why it is still popular among clothes manufacturers.
For instance, one can make fleece using recycled materials. Consequently, it minimizes the waste that could have ended up in landfills or improperly disposed of.
There is also its durability that makes fleece sustainable. If you like fleece jackets, there are high chances that you have one that has lasted for a substantial amount of time.
For instance, if one fleece jacket can last several winters, it means minimal waste. That’s why it is usually considered environmentally friendly based on such perspectives.
What Is An Alternative to Fleece?
It turns out that there are several alternatives to fleece. Therefore, you get to wear a warm jacket without causing the environment any harm.
These options include the following;
- TENCEL™ Fleece:It is eco-friendly since its source is natural wood. The raw materials are sourced sustainably, and the processing is done responsibly.
- Organic Cotton Fleece:Since convectional cotton impacts the environment negatively, one can’t insist enough that its organic counterpart is an eco-friendly alternative. After all, it is sustainable due to the farming methods, and its extreme softness makes it ideal for baby wear.
- Recycled Polyester Fleece:Its raw materials include recycled instead of virgin plastic, thus making it sustainable. It also means minimal plastic reaches the landfills since they are recycled into fleece.
Does Fleece Contain Microplastic?
Yes, and that’s why fleece is considered bad for the environment. In most cases, manufacturers use polyester to make fleece.
It is no secret that polyester is a synthetic fabric. Consequently, it sheds microplastics during washing or after disposal.
What Is Better, Fleece or Cotton?
The only instance when cotton wins over fleece is regarding cooling. Cotton is the best in this regard compared to wool and fleece.
Nevertheless, fleece wins in other aspects, such as wick perspiration, water resistance, and warmth. Fleece will still be warm despite getting wet.
Which Is Better, Fleece or Wool?
What would be the best option if you choose between fleece and wool? It depends on several factors since fleece sometimes wins and loses in others; the same applies to wool.
For example, fleece wins on cost, comfort, and lightness. On the other hand, wool wins regarding insulation, warmth, water resistance and water resistance.