fleece – A CLARIFICATION
For most people the word fleece is perceived as its own material. But this is not correct. Fleece is a common term for many different fabrics with a fluffy fabric surface, and it can be made far more eco-friendly than by using polyester!
THE DISADVANTAGE OF polyester fleece
For many years the fleece sweater of polyester has been a popular garment, and most of us have one of these bad boys at home or at the cabin. The "fleece sweater" has become a term of its own, and this synthetic sweater is cheap, practical, warm, light and soft. This all sounds good eh? Alas! To process polyester you have to use a chemical mixture of two petroleum fibers that are melted to a thick sirup, before this stiffens and is spun to thread. This is not particularly eco-friendly, and the process releases a whole lot of gasses that pollute nature.
POLYESTER FLEECE, in short:
- Environmental bad boy
- Synthetic oil-based fiber
- Micro plastics that pollutes nature and the ocean
- When ignited, material will melt on the body and cause major burns
- Looses its isolating effect when wet
- Creates odor when in use
Fleece OF recycled polyester
Some times bottles and other plastics are recycled and reused as thread which then becomes clothing and fleece material. This is much better than conventional polyester, and producers say that for every meter of recycled polyester material 8 plastic bottles are kept away from the landfill. This is good! But seeing as the material is made from plastic it will sprinkle small micro plastic fibres when used and especially when machine washed. This plastic ends up in nature and contributes to the constant cluster of plastic in the ocean. Some sources estimate a yearly emission of about 600 tons of micro plastics in the sea via machine washing synthetic textiles in Norway only! And some garments, fleece of polyester included, can release as many as 1900 different plastic fibers when washed.
Do no despair, you can still use fleece! As we mentioned, fleece means "garments with a fluffy surface", and can be produced of eco-friendly materials, such as wool or organic cotton. Both are far better alternatives for nature! At Tufte we make our own wool fleece of 100% superfine Merino wool, completely free of plastics and synthetic fibers. These wool based garments have all the qualities many enjoy from the polyester fleece and so many more – but it doesn't have any of the negative ones!
Hope this made you a bit wiser and gives you inspiration and motivation to choose clothing that are good for you and for nature. At Tufte we can promise you that we'll never make fleece from polyester, so you can be safe that a fleece jacket from us is always eco-friendly and kind to the planet and the future.