Bio-based Synthetic Textiles

12 October 2022 by Andy Ko
Today, synthetic fabrics make up about 60% of overall apparel and continue to grow at a faster rate of demand than cotton, wool, hemp, and other natural fibers. The low cost of synthetic polymers, as well as favorable properties such as waterproofing or stretch, keep synthetic fabrics well in demand. But almost all synthetic fabrics are made from petroleum, so it is a key target for the transition to a circular economy. One significant approach for this is to substitute petroleum feedstock for bio-based feedstock to make the same synthetic fabrics without a trade-off in the properties that make synthetics such an asset for the textiles industry. In this premium article, IDTechEx looks at the most prevalent classes of synthetic textiles for apparel, polyesters, nylon (polyamides), polyurethanes (including spandex), and acrylic, and discusses the efforts being made to transition these materials to bio-based.
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