Janne Robberstad

Welcome to my site! I work as an eco-designer, an artist, as a teacher and as a researcher, and creating, or ARTING as I prefer, makes me happy! This is both a portfolio of things I´ve made and a blog meant to inspire.

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World Environment Day

By spotogspindel | June 5, 2014

World Environment Day is today. There are so many important areas to focus on. Greening the Blue´s slogan is Raise your voice, not the Sea Level.

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But since I work so much with textiles, I want to share some some facts and figures from the world of textile production.

Every year, we produce around 82 million tons of organic textile fibers worldwide.

60% of this is synthetic textiles, in other words mainly based on oil. Oil as we all know is a non-reusable resource. Transforming oil into fabrics requires a lot of energy and chemicals in the process. There is every reason to question the ecological output in this process. This is where you´ll find polyester, acrylic, nylon, to mention the most well-known. One of the exceptions in the synthetically made fibers are made from alginate, extracted from algae. This is naturally anti-septic, and won´t be dismissed by the body, hence it is used as surgical thread during operations.

33% is cotton. Cotton usually requires a lot of attention, a lot of water, a lot of labour and a lot chemicals. 2,5% of all agricultural land is used for growing cotton, but it requires 25% of the pesticides! In addition it requires 15 000 liters to produce just 1 kilo of ready-made cotton fabric. That´s about 4 000 gallons. For 2 jeans or 5 T-shirts… And for the same 1 kilo finished cotton fiber you need 680 grams of chemicals. 680 for every 1000 grams. And that´s before dyeing or printing. The market for organic cotton is growing with 50% every year, even thought the prices are between 10-50% higher. Personally I think paying  a little extra to spare the Earth of all those chemicals is more than worth it!

4% are cellulose-based fibers. That is a natural origin, chemically treated into fibers. This is where you find rayons and viscose.

2% are wool and 1% are flax-fibers such as linen and hemp. You get wool-fibers from a lot of animals, but mainly from sheep. Wool, unlike cotton, can “grow” itself. It´s actually considered a bi-product. Sheep are quite versatile animals. They are excellent landscapers, maintaining large areas just by grassing, the deliver wool twice a year, and finally delicious meat. Wool has some excellent qualities: it´s naturally flame-retardant. It´s anti-septic, it turns urine into soap, and is therefore excellent to use over diapers! And it is temperature-regulating. It absorbs a lot of moist, so you wont feel cold if you sweat in wool. Wet wool actually increases it´s own temperature! And for those of us who live in a colder part of the world: it´s warm! Wet or dry, it´s warm.

One piece of good advice I´ve picked up on my quest for knowledge about the textile industry are:

Simply buy less clothes, but buy better quality clothes. Clothes you really like and last longer. They might be a bit more expensive, but again, that will make you appreciate them more. Look for natural fibers, preferably organic. They are less of a strain on nature and contain less residues of chemicals to be transferred to your body.

 

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