Yes, Tencel is a vegan fabric. It is cruelty-free, does not use animal products, and clothes made using it are suitable for anyone living a vegan lifestyle or looking to build a vegan wardrobe.
What Is Tencel?
Tencel is a brand-name for a type of rayon created by an Austrian company called Lenzing AG. Tencel material is a type of rayon fabric created using the lyocell or modal process.
Tencel is a semi-synthetic rayon fabric made from wood and bamboo cellulose and does not use any animal-derived materials. It is popular with sustainable fashion brands because Tencel is produced using a sustainable process and using sustainably-sourced wood and bamboo (unlike many other types of rayon).
How Is Tencel Made?
Tencel is made from cellulose fibers. Wood pulp is mixed with a solvent that dissolves the fibers to produce a pliable mixture. This liquid is then pushed through small holes in order to form threads, which are then dried using a process known as spinning. The threads are then treated, and the fibers can be spun into yarn and turned into cloth.
Is Tencel Sustainable?
Just like most textiles, Tencel production has both positive and negative impacts on the environment. Overall, Tencel is more sustainable than other types of rayon and is considered a good material to buy.
Because it is made from plant materials, it is biodegradable, and producing it uses considerably less water and energy than is needed to make the equivalent amount of cotton. Crucially, Lenzing only sources their wood and pulp from sustainable sources – some rayon production has been linked with deforestation, but this is not an issue for Tencel.
However, like all rayon production, Tencel does rely on chemical solvents made from petrochemicals to break down the wood chips. Lenzing does use a closed-loop production process, which means that the solvent used is recycled and reused to produce new fibers and minimize waste. Currently, the solvent recovery rate is 99%.
Tencel production also involves the use of conventional dyes. These can be harmful to the environment. However, Tencel requires less dye than conventional cotton. The other concern with sustainability is the production process’s energy requirements. Unfortunately, the process used to make Tencel fabric has a high energy cost, although companies are working on ways to reduce this.
Should Vegans Buy Tencel?
Overall, Tencel is a good material for both vegans and anyone concerned with sustainability to buy. While there are some concerns about production, it is a greener and more environmentally-friendly fabric than most other options. This is a durable, plant-based material that has many properties similar to cotton, offering a good for anyone shopping for environmentally friendly, vegan fabrics.