Eucalyptus Bedding vs Cotton vs Bamboo
We can create fabrics without overusing the resources we have available. And yet, companies still use 10,000 liters of water to produce one pair of jeans while 785 million people don’t have access to drinking water. In 2015 alone, 79 billion cubic meters of water were used by the textile and clothing industry!
At the same time, you can make bedding using zero water. In this blog, we’ll compare Eucalyptus Lyocell with cotton & bamboo in terms of price, sustainability, durability, and softness. So that you can find out what really makes these fabrics so different!
The environmental impact of cotton
Everything from land to water and air is affected by the highly intensive production of cotton. A process that could be limited by choosing eco-friendly alternatives such as Eucalyptus instead, which requires way fewer resources to be produced. Here’s how unsustainable cotton is in comparison:
Producing each kilogram of cotton requires 20,000 liters of water - Eucalyptus requires 10 times less water to produce and follows a closed-loop process. Meaning that all water used to make it is reused again.
Cotton’s production makes up 11% of pesticide use and 16% of insecticide use at a global level - The production of Eucalyptus requires no pesticide as they are naturally insect repellent. By choosing Eucalyptus, you save 352sq ft of land farmed without pesticides.
Cotton takes up 2.5% of the world’s arable land - Since Eucalyptus grows so fast, it occupies significantly less land.
Cotton takes its time to biodegrade - In comparison, Eucalyptus bedding biodegrades twice faster and can often be recycled instead of thrown away.
One set of cotton sheets requires 27 KwH of energy - Eucalyptus can beat that as well, needing about 30% less energy and ultimately avoiding 31 miles of carbon emissions in its production process.
What about ‘plant-based fabric’?
Plant-based fabrics are usually more ‘derived’ from plants than actually ‘made’ from plants. This is because manufacturers take the raw plant materials and chemically dissolve them, leaving only cellulose. This is then processed even further to be turned into fibers. The word that we would use to describe these fibers is ‘rayon’ - depending on their process, they vary between ‘viscose’, ‘lyocell’, and ‘modal’.
Viscose is a semi-synthetic fabric that derives from wood pulp, often used as an alternative to silk for its similar feel.
Lyocell is also a semi-synthetic fabric composed of wood cellulose but differs from other rayon fibers. This is because it follows a ‘closed loop’ process that re-uses the solvent involved in its production.
Modal is similar to viscose in the way it replicates the luxurious feel of silk but appears stronger and more breathable.
Is Bamboo the solution?
For those who have become aware of the unsustainability of cotton before, bamboo was hailed as the perfect solution to save the environment. However, is your bamboo bedding really made of bamboo?
Now, here’s the thing - processing Bamboo to make it into fabric can happen in two ways. One, is by using the chemical process we outlined above, which would leave the fabric with no actual trace of Bamboo.
The other follows a mechanical process where the bamboo is crushed and then natural enzymes are applied to break down the cell walls. This creates a mass that can then be mechanically combed and spun into yarn. This process is actually sustainable but unfortunately also more expensive and time-consuming.
As such, many fabrics that claim to be ‘made from bamboo’ are in fact ‘made with viscose from bamboo’!
While the viscose process initially appears more sustainable than cotton, the chemicals used to make it are just as much of an issue. Producing bamboo bedding requires 12 chemicals that are toxic to the environment which alter the benefits of bamboo and are impossible to recycle after use.
Does this make it unsustainable?
Yes, this is another example of ‘greenwashing’. Consumers support products made from bamboo over cotton, thinking that they are making an eco-friendly choice. But since it’s actually made from viscose, they are still supporting a process that uses harsh chemicals that are then released into the environment.
The only way that bamboo fabric is actually sustainable is if it’s manufactured mechanically, which is rare to see in most products sold by big brands.
Differently from bamboo viscose, Eucalyptus Lyocell combines the best of both worlds to make a truly sustainable fabric. First of all, the Eucalyptus plants used to create the fibers are widely available and grow back quickly. Secondly, the closed-loop process to make Lyocell dissolves the wood pulp into a non-toxic solvent.
Once it has been dissolved, its fibers are then washed, dried, carded, and cut. Oh, and the best part is that the solvent is then reused to produce more of this fabric!
Won’t plant-based fabrics cause deforestation?
Nope, that’s because the cellulose fibers we have mentioned above are all made from trees that grow quickly and as such, won’t affect the environment when cut down. Plus, the raw materials used are usually sustainably sourced.
In the case of Eucalyptus, they also don’t require any pesticides and a limited amount of water to grow.
Try sheets made from Eucalyptus Lyocell
What make eucalyptus sheets so sustainable?
Compared to resource-intensive fabrics like cotton or bamboo, eucalyptus trees grow quickly and require no pesticides. The manufacturing process is especially eco-friendly as it uses less than half the amount of water as other fabrics and requires no toxic chemicals. Even the dissolving agent used to turn the fibers into a fabric is then re-used for the production of more fabric, limiting the amount of waste. Plus, its breathability means that anyone using it will have to wash this fabric less frequently, saving more water.
Are eucalyptus sheets cooling?
Lyocell is quite absorbent, to the point where some companies even use this type of fabric to create sportswear. The advantage of using it for bedding is that hot sleepers will be able to enjoy a great sleeping experience free from heavy sweat.
What does eucalyptus sheet feel like?
Eucalyptus sheet is incredibly soft, with a silk-like feeling at a more affordable price than silk (and more sustainable). This, combined with its moisture absorption, makes it great for even the most sensitive of skins.
How long do eucalyptus sheets last?
The higher price of products made from eucalyptus is justified by their long-lasting quality. The lyocell fibers are smooth & elastic and resist any wrinkles while also keeping clean for longer, meaning that products made with them will not be damaged by frequent washing or get ruined by regular use.
Are there any cons? The fabric in itself is a fantastic alternative to other more popular fabrics, but as with everything that gains traction, its source is what makes the difference between a sustainable product and one that does more harm. As more companies pick up on the benefits of eucalyptus fabric, transparency becomes more and more important. The way that lyocell is sourced or manufactured sets the difference between how green a product made with it actually is. Besides that, the price might be out of reach for some, but in a matter of ‘quality over quantity’, eucalyptus bedding is a justified investment for better sleep with a durable product.
Bamboo vs Eucalyptus Sheets
Besides the way they are produced, what are the main differences between the two?
Viscose derived from bamboo feels soft at the touch in a way similar to cotton, but smoother. It’s also breathable and moisture-wicking but is not very durable and harder to keep clean for longer.
Eucalyptus Lyocell is super soft at the touch and a favorite for its breathability. It’s just as moisture-wicking but longer-lasting, especially thanks to its stretchability.
Price - Viscose derived from bamboo is cheaper than Eucalyptus Lyocell. However, since it’s less durable, you would end up spending more by replacing your products than you would by just investing in a good product made from Eucalyptus Lyocell.
Biodegradability - Bamboo viscose can be biodegradable and take about a year to decompose. However, that changes if any toxic dyes are applied to it. Eucalyptus Lyocell is also biodegradable and since the final fabric comes out already as pure white, it’s less likely to require the addition of any toxic dyes.
Maintenance - Eucalyptus Lyocell is better washed by hand in cold water or with a gentle washing cycle. If you combine that with a zero-waste detergent and hang it to dry, even the washing process becomes completely sustainable! Bamboo viscose, instead, can be washed as you would with other fabrics, making sure to check what the instructions suggest.
What you didn’t know about eucalyptus lyocell sheets vs cotton sheets
Their difference can particularly be noticed when compared to cheaper quality cotton bedding. The more you use it, the more you have to deal with ugly and uncomfortable pilling on the surface, something that’s prevented by the superior quality of bedding made from eucalyptus. Another thing that hugely sets them apart is the feeling - if lyocell feels instantly soft from your first use, cotton will be crisp at the beginning and then only get softer with time and multiple washes.
Why are bamboo sheets not as good as eucalyptus lyocell sheets?
While bamboo might already be a better option than cotton, there is one thing that bedding made from Eucalyptus especially wins over: wrinkling resistance. The softness and suppleness of the bamboo fabric make it particularly prone to wrinkling, something that you’ll never have to worry about with lyocell.
Not only Eucalyptus wins over cotton and bamboo for its eco-friendly production, it also offers many more benefits that beat its competitors:
70% more moisture-wicking than cotton - perfect for both hot and cold sleepers;
The least wrinkling prone fabric - especially compared to bamboo;
Ultra-soft fabric - get a silky feeling without the cost of real silk;
Better longevity - enjoy its benefits for longer than even the highest quality bamboo or cotton bedding.
For an alternative that gives you a worry-free sleeping experience with its 100% antibacterial natural fabric, the eco-friendly bedding made from Eucalyptus is unbeatable. Do something good for the environment without sacrificing your comfort, check out our Eucalyptus sheets at NATUREST today and make the switch.
A few weeks ago, Sustainable Jungle featured our brand in their article about the top sustainable bedding brands. We are very proud to be featured on their website and we want to thank them for this amazing opportunity!
Sustainable jungle is a website dedicated to helping people make more environmentally responsible choices. They have tons of great information about different products and how they affect the environment. The article they wrote about us can be found here: https://www.sustainablejungle.com/sustainable-living/sustainable-eco-friendly-bedding/