TENCEL™ is a fibre developed by the Austrian company Lenzing. In fact, TENCEL™ is the brand used by Lenzing, and the actual fibre is called lyocell. It is a regenerated cellulose fibre with properties almost identical to cotton. Its structure and adhesion are very similar to silk: smooth and soft, with a beautiful shine. Like rayon, TENCEL™ is made of renewable wood materials, in this case, eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees grow quickly and thickly on low-cost land. Only half a hectare is needed to produce enough trees for one ton of TENCEL™ fibre. Cotton needs at least five times as much land - in addition, it must be quality agricultural land. TENCEL™ trees are grown without the use of pesticides or insecticides (unlike cotton).
Although eucalyptus trees do not need irrigation, water is still used to process the pulp and convert it into TENCEL™ fibre. Lenzing estimates its water consumption at 0.66 cubic meters per kilogram of fibre, 80% less than cotton, whose main environmental problem is water consumption.
TENCEL™ is manufactured in a closed-loop production process, transforming wood pulp into cellulosic fibres with high resource efficiency and low environmental impact. This solvent-spinning process recycles process water and reuses the solvent at a more than 99% recovery rate. Even the loose fibres are recycled back into the material, so the production waste is truly minimal.
Another advantage of the material is its absorbency, which allows better dye absorption. As a result, the consumption of dyes and water in the dyeing process is much lower than in cotton. In addition, TENCEL™ fabric carries the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification, an international standard developed to certify no harmful substances are contained in the fabric. OEKO-TEX® also requires a low level of production chemicals and by-products. Although TENCEL™ seems to have an advantage in sustainability, we must consider the amount of produced material compared to cotton is still negligible for the time being.
TENCEL™ fabric is usually softer than cotton. This softness comes from the extremely smooth surface of the fibres, which guarantees a silky smooth feeling and is therefore suitable for sensitive skin that does not like irritation. The fabric is made of microscopic hydrophilic fibres which absorb moisture from our skin. This quality gives it an advantage in more effectively maintaining a lower body temperature (during sleep or sports activity), and it also performs well in a variety of climates. The material itself is very breathable due to the high absorbency of the fibres. The feeling of cooling can be a crucial factor for those with a higher body temperature. Usually, it wrinkles less than cotton and is easy to maintain. It also performs well when washed; lyocell clothes shrink and distort significantly less than cotton clothes. It is long-lasting and not prone to thinning.
There are pros and cons to both TENCEL™ and cotton. TENCEL™ may be more suitable for slightly more specialized needs, i.e. body temperature problems or delicate skin. It may also be perfect for people with skin prone to allergies because it is hypoallergenic. The material's many qualities justify its price. However, the purchase will probably depend primarily on preferences regarding its smoothness and feel on the skin.
In short, compared to cotton, it is a much more environmentally friendly material. The main environmental problem of cotton is the vast consumption of water and pesticides needed for production, while lyocell TENCEL™ requires significantly less of both. Let's not forget to mention another essential quality; the material is completely biodegradable. While that does not mean the fabric will disintegrate during wearing, it will decompose under the right conditions. TENCEL™ Lyocell is certified by TÜV Austria Belgium NV as biodegradable and compostable under industrial, home, soil and marine conditions.
We chose the material that is derived from nature and can fully revert back to nature. Because we care about our planet.