‘Biodegradable’ is a term that is often used when talking about the textile industry from an environmentally conscious angle. If you want to make environmentally conscious fabric and fashion choices, it’s worth knowing a little more about biodegradable fabrics, the impact they have and why they’re a greener choice. The term ‘biodegradable’ refers to the ability of a substance to decompose naturally via living organisms.
So while synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and acrylic are technically able to biodegrade, they take too long to do so and are produced with many chemicals, causing them to emit greenhouse gases such as methane into the environment. This creates damage to our environment and is not therefore sustainable; 600 years of methane emissions is definitely not desirable!
The majority of fabrics and fibres will biodegrade, whether synthetic or not. However the time it takes along with the amount of damage dealt to our environment will vary, depending largely on what fibres a fabric is made from.