Linen fabrics and environment
At present time an increased attention is devoted to reduction of human impact and careful attitude to the environment. The consumer goods have to exert as low influence to the environment as possible at all stages of their life cycle: manufacturing, transportation, utilisation and disposal.
From this point, linen has a substantial advantage over other widespread types of fabrics. Cotton and synthetic fabrics such as polyester, gained a great popularity in last decades owing to their low cost and relatively high consumer properties. From another side, using of cotton and synthetics might not be the optimal choice for the environment.
Cotton grows best in hot climate, therefore it is being cultivated in the south: in India, southern regions of China and the USA, Africa and Australia, as well as in Central Asia. However, cotton is a relatively hydrophilic culture that requires irrigation. As the result of intensive development of cotton growing, the water resources are near to starvation in many arid places that has already led to catastrophic consequences. The most well-known example is destruction of Aral Sea due to excess use of water from its feeding rivers that was needed for development of cotton industry of the USSR. Now there is a lifeless desert instead of the sea.
Flax needs approximately the same amount of water as cotton for growth, but it is cultivated in moderate climate and therefore there is no need in artificial irrigation. As a rule, the amount of precipitation is larger and evaporation rate from the soil surface is lower in places were flax is traditionally grown compared to many new regions of cotton cultivation.
An important source of greenhouse gases is transport. As it was already said, cotton is grown predominantly in tropical and subtropical zones and the delivery distance of the raw material and fabrics to the Northern and Central Europe even from relatively close Central Asia is about 3000 km. What to say about India and China. Flax is grown as inside the EU as in the neighbouring Russia and Belorussia.
Linen fabrics are stronger and more durable compared to cotton and polyester ones. Correspondingly, linen products should be less frequently replaced due to natural wear or accidental damage.
Unlike to polyester, linen is natural and fully biodegradable product.
Thus for EU residents purchasing of linen products instead of cotton or synthetics leads to lower environmental load and a bit higher price is compensated by higher longevity of linen products.