Posted by John Goetz
From the Creative Ways to Tackle Global Warming files:
It appears that the Australian Cotton Research and Development Corporation feels the need to develop an argument that cotton is a green alternative to polyester. According to Daily News & Analysis India, the CRDC has commissioned a “life cycle assessment” that compares the environmental impact of cotton and polyester T-shirts on their production, use and disposal stages, the “cradle to grave” approach. This assessment is being done by researcher Francisco Javier Navarro of the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Sustainable Resources.
According to the following excerpt: washing dirty linen yourself rather than relying on a machine could help cut down greenhouse gas emission levels… Now there’s an idea sure to gain a lot of traction in the modern world. Surely most of us want to return to that nostalgic era captured in the image above, back to the pre-industrial age when life was simpler and temperatures cooler.
The article continues: For example, washing and tumble drying a dirty T-shirt consumes three-quarters of the energy used in manufacturing and using it…This means our decisions on washing our clothes have a big impact on the carbon footprint of our clothing. It makes a huge difference in energy consumption to hang clothes out on a washing line to dry instead of using a tumble dryer.
OK, that seems to be pretty standard common-sense stuff. But wouldn’t polyester have the edge here, as it takes less time to dry a polyester leisure suit than it does a 100% cotton T-shirt? Well, the study actually seeks to break new ground.
The article concludes with the following:
One of the objectives of Navarro’s research is to analyse the effect of increasing the number of times T-shirts are worn before washing.
Navarro said the use of “smell-friendly” fibres would also assist in increasing the number of times a shirt is worn between washes. “Research shows that polyester is related to more intense sweat odour than cotton,” he said.
So, the suggestion is that we wear the cotton T-shirt more times between washes than the polyester shirt, thus negating the polyester advantage and therefore saving the planet. Now that’s clever, but Dr. Navarro might first want to check and make sure there is not a middle school boy out there somewhere holding a patent on that concept. Perhaps the study will extend this to underwear and socks and just about everything else we wear. No, wait, that has probably been patented by the same boy…
Regardless of who came up with the idea first, I believe this will go over well with those who use public transportation, as they are at the forefront in reducing their carbon footprint.