Viscose Fabric: Back to Basics

If you don’t know anything about viscose, chances are that you have heard of another term rayon. Made from trees, rayon is a synthetic fiber. In this article, we are going to find out if viscose is better for you or the environment. Read on.

Introduction to Viscose

Often, viscose is considered a good alternative to polyester or cotton. In the fashion industry, it’s bought and used in place of silk for its cheap price and high durability. Generally, it’s used to make synthetic velvet, soft blouses, skirts, and summer outfits. Aside from this, it’s used to make sausage casing, carpets, bedding, and upholstery, to name a few.


The story of Rayon belongs to Europe. The commercial rayon was invented by Hilaire de Chardonnet how was a French scientist. However, due to the flammability of the fiber, it’s removed from the market after a while. The first commercially suitable viscose was developed in 1905.

Production of Viscose

Viscose is obtained from different types of trees and plants, such as pine, beech, sugar cane, soy, and bamboo, to name a few. This cellulose stuff is mixed in a special type of chemical solution in order to make a pulpy substance. Finally, this substance is spun into fibers and threads.


Since viscose is obtained from plants, it’s not toxic. The fashion industry is growing at a fast pace. So, most of this fiber is made inexpensively with water, energy, and chemical processes. This process has a very negative impact on local communities, workers and the environment. Therefore, it has got D and E grade, according to the Made-by Environmental Benchmark.

Actually, the wood pulp is treated with carbon disulfide and sodium hydroxide. Next, it goes through a spinning process to form a fine thread. In other words, this process is not eco-friendly and emits many toxic chemicals.

Carbon disulfide is associated with many coronary heart diseases, cancer, skin conditions, and birth defects.

The Changing Markets Foundation did an investigation only to find out that the top global fashion brands get viscose from polluting factors in Indonesia, India, and China. The researchers are worried that these pollutants have a devastating effect on animal populations, people and forests.

In fact, viscose production is causing the depletion of the forests. And people have been cutting down the trees to grow pulpwood plants. According to an estimate, about 30% of viscose is obtained from ancient forests. As a result, we have put many animals on the list of endangered species.


With the progress of technology, we can see new materials like EcoVero on the market. This innovative material is made from sustainable wood, which is obtained from sources that are controlled by different authorities.

Over 60% of the fiber is obtained from Bavaria and Austria in order to make sure the number of emissions are lowest. Moreover, all of the chemicals in the production process goes through the recycling process. So, the number of emissions are reduced by 50%, which saves energy as well.

Hope, now you have information about viscose to find out if it’s good for the environment.


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