Environmental awareness | Minimalist and sustainable non-woven fabrics
Non-woven fabrics are a common material in our lives and are widely used in various life products. According to application requirements, non-woven fabrics can be divided into two categories: durable and disposable. Durable non-woven fabrics can be used multiple times and have a certain service life. They are widely used in clothing, home improvement, agriculture, industry and other fields. For example, many of the popular eco-friendly bags in recent years are made of non-woven fabrics. Disposable non-woven fabrics are also very common, such as cleaning wipes, masks necessary for everyone during the epidemic, tea bags for tea bags, baby diapers ...
Is non-woven fabric a cloth?
In fact, non-woven fabric is not "cloth", its main raw material is polypropylene (PP), and its essence is still a plastic product. Non-woven fabrics, the standard name is nonwovens. China's national standard GB/T 5709 - 1997 "Textile Non-woven Terminology" defines non-woven fabrics as: "oriented or randomly arranged fibers, which are made by friction, cohesion or adhesion, or a combination of these methods. Sheets, webs or batts, excluding paper, woven fabrics, knitted fabrics, tufted fabrics and wet-rolled felts. The fibers used may be natural or chemical fibers; short fibers, filaments or fibers formed on the spot."
What is polypropylene(PP)?
The incredible durability and abrasion resistance of polypropylene fabric makes it a darling of the manufacturing, industrial and upholstery industries. In addition to being able to withstand repeated and long-term use, polypropylene is also stain resistant. It has all synthetic the fiber or natural fiber has the lowest thermal conductivity and is an excellent insulator. Polypropylene fiber is resistant to sunlight and fades when dyed.
The fabric has enhanced resilience to fabric bacteria and other microbes - just like its synthetic fabrics; as you probably already know, polypropylene is more durable against moths, mold, rot or mildew Properties; polypropylene fabrics are flammable, but not easily ignited. In the presence of specific additives, polypropylene becomes a flame retardant. It's easy to guess that polypropylene is also waterproof.
Non-woven fabrics really 100% environmentally friendly?
As we all know, the true sustainability of a product or fabric lies in its recoverability and reusability. Just like canvas shopping bags or jute bags, non-woven bags can be reused for a long time. Polypropylene is recyclable, as are non-woven polypropylene tote bags for shopping or drawstring bags for sports or leisure. For example, you can throw away a broken, non-woven polypropylene office bag after years of use. As long as it is collected and properly sorted, you can rest assured that it will enter the recycling process and give life to new items. Non-woven shopping bags have many environmental advantages that plastic bags or natural fibers do not have, such as: you can wash and sterilize them without worrying about their elasticity; as long as you wash in cold water, your washing machine will not hurt it. You can spray your non-woven bags with disinfectants and antibacterial substances for added safety, especially in a time of global health concern; both woven and non-woven polypropylene are derived from recycled materials (plastic) , so it is easy to understand why non-woven shopping bags are highly sustainable. They are recycled products, which in turn make recycled products. Before we move on to the next reason why non-woven bags are the sustainable solution for plastic bags, we must say that no plastic is biodegradable or eco-friendly. However, as you probably know, some synthetics can take 400-500 years to break down, leaching harmful toxins into the ground and water supplies. On the other hand, non-woven polypropylene degrades in just 30 years. While it does release some toxins in the air or soil, these levels are easier to accept and manage than other types of plastic. Now that we are on this topic, it is time to discuss the making of non-woven bags or other fashion items. This theme must be emphasized, as manufacturing is a key criterion in determining whether a material is sustainable.
What makes non-woven fabrics more sustainable than other types of plastics?
During the nonwoven's life cycle, almost no energy or carbon dioxide is consumed. Furthermore, during the production of polypropylene, bisphenol A is not present. It's a chemical that has worried people and health experts for quite some time. Due to its lower density, polypropylene also requires less resin (up to 1/3) than other plastics to create any application. In this way, the production of polypropylene and its non-woven follow-on varieties reduces the amount of non-renewable resources required in the manufacturing process.
Another reason nonwovens are more sustainable than other plastic varieties is the waste management part of their life cycle. Since polypropylene and nonwovens are reusable, recyclable and less toxic than other materials, the burden of waste management is reduced. As an intermediate conclusion, non-woven bags and other items are not perfect from an ecological point of view. Its manufacturing process includes the use of renewable and non-renewable resources. When it comes to waste management, the world needs to put more emphasis on recycling, even everyday non-woven groceries and things like worn-out grocery shopping bags. However, there is a reason why nonwovens are the most popular alternative for eco-friendly fashion.
Sustainable applications of non-woven fabrics (nonwovens)
By now, you probably know that one of the most widespread applications of non-woven polypropylene is in shopping bags, fashion tote bags, wallets, sports backpacks, and more. However, we must pay attention to one key factor. According to experts and statistics, polypropylene non-woven fabrics will gain huge market shares in many industries.
According to a study published by Global Market Insights, the polypropylene nonwovens market size was valued at USD 27 billion in 2019 and is expected to exceed USD 55 billion by 2026. The demand for polypropylene (PP) nonwovens market is growing rapidly due to the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 worldwide. These products offer consumers many benefits, including bacteriostatic action, adsorption, filtration, and warmth. These advantages, combined with its water repellency, are likely to drive the polypropylene nonwovens market share to over $10 billion by the end of 2026.
In case you were wondering, non-woven polypropylene was, and still is, one of the key materials for making face masks, doctor protective gear, and other types of equipment and accessories that are used not only in medicine but also in agriculture. The personal care industry is a driver and beneficiary of the recent popularity of nonwovens. As noted by experts, high product demand in the personal care and hygiene industry for the manufacture of baby, women, and adult hygiene products is expected to drive industry growth. Rising awareness of personal hygiene among consumers has led to increased demand for sanitary napkins, diapers, incontinence products, and wet and dry wipes, thereby propelling the market. Rising demand for protective clothing is also expected to positively impact the market development. These products provide high standards of protection, barrier quality, and protection against the penetration of dust particles and microorganisms.
The problem of non-woven polypropylene whether is environmentally friendly is not new. Fortunately, science and experience have proven that this material is one of the most sustainable we have. While things are still far from perfect—many polypropylene products still end up in landfills rather than recycling plants—the world is moving forward.