Renewable materials can be generated from nature within a short period of time on a human scale without diminishing the overall quantity of the world’s supply. Non-renewable materials, like fossil fuels, require thousands of years to generate and are in limited supply.

Environmental Peril

Natural gas, oil, coal, and uranium are non-renewable fossil fuels that take millennia to form deep within the earth. There is a finite supply of these materials which means when we run out, that’s it!

But more importantly, because nonrenewable resources are difficult to extract, they impose a heavy environmental toll on the planet. The easy-to-access resources are rapidly depleting, and only the hard-to-reach resources remain. Companies now venture into increasingly more sensitive ecological regions to get at previously untapped resources. This means many areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and our oceans are exposed to the risks of oil spills, chemical contamination, and ecological destruction.

The methods used to harvest these nonrenewable resources become more expensive and environmentally damaging. For instance, a current popular method for extracting natural gas is hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as fracking), which poisons water, produces tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to increased earthquake activity. Other hard to reach fossil fuels are tar sands – oil that’s dissolved in sand. The process to remove this oil involves stripping vast swaths of natural ecosystems and then using massive volumes of water and chemicals to separate oil from sand.

Another significant threat to human and environmental survival is the fact that water is considered a non-renewable resource. Believe it or not, there are limited quantities of drinkable water on our planet. Yes, it’s true: [i]

  • 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, but only 2.5% of that water is drinkable and fresh; the rest is salt water in our oceans.
  • Of the 2.5% fresh water, 70% is locked up in frozen ice shields in Antarctica and Greenland. Most of the remaining 30% is dissolved in soil, etc.
  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (~0.007% to be exact) is available for us to use directly. And that water is disappearing rapidly due to overconsumption and climate change.

Most importantly, the earth’s fresh water supplies are being consumed much faster than they can be replenished. Scientists predict that the wars of the future will not be fought over energy resources like oil, but over water.

What’s in Your Fashion?

So what does all of this have to do with fashion? Well, synthetic textiles, known as polymer textiles, are created from non-renewable resources like natural gas and oil. It’s true – your dress may be dependent on oil drilling! Here’s a quick list of just a few of the fabrics created using non-renewable fossil fuels:

Acrylic                                                     Microfiber 
Celliant                                                  Nylon
Polyester                                              Spandex
Lastol                                                     Thinsulate

You’ll also find nonrenewable resources in everything from plastic buttons to Velcro.

The fashion industry is thirsty. Huge volumes of water are used in agriculture, textile dyeing and leather tanning, and in the production of synthetic fabrics. As a result, conventional fashion has a big impact on our non-renewable water resources.

Made with Renewable Resources

Hearts’ is transforming the fashion industry by working with sustainable materials and renewable resources whenever possible. Since renewable materials can be produced in less time and harvested with less effort than nonrenewable resources, they create significantly less environmental degradation. They also are more financially and socially sustainable because there is little risk of the supply of renewable materials running out.

The world of eco fashion uses many kinds of renewable materials:

  • Renewable textiles: Acetate, azlon, bamboo, Lyocell, soy, linen, hemp, silk, and Modal
  • Renewable materials: Seeds, sustainably harvested wood, berries, cork, and coconut shells
  • Plant based fibers: Banana leaves, pineapple fibers, and abaca fibers
  • Cruelty free animal fibers: Alpaca wool, naturally fallen porcupine quills, and archeological shark’s teeth

Hearts’ line of eco fashion incorporates all of these renewable materials. They not only reduce our dependence on non-renewables like oil and natural gas, they’re naturally biodegradable, which makes them even more eco-friendly.

So try out renewably-based eco fashion for a new twist on living green. We’re pretty sure it will grow on you!

Discover more about renewable materials in our extensive research.

Material - Renewable -

[i] Human Appropriation of the World's Fresh Water Supply. (2006, April 1). Retrieved August 12, 2012, from Global Change Program: University of Michigan: