What is Tencel?
Tencel is a product of a German company Lenzing, which is an innovative leader in fiber development and environmental protection. Tencel Lyocell, to give it its full name, is the most environmentally friendly man-made cellulosic fibre available today. It is produced exclusively from the wood pulp of sustainably harvested Eucalyptus trees certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), and the fibre carries the Pan-European Forest Council (PEFC) quality seal.
Why production of Tencel is revolutionary?
The production process is based on a solvent spinning process which represents the greatest achievement in cellulose fiber technology. The only chemical used in the Tencel manufacturing process is the non-toxic solvent, amine oxide, that allows closed loop processing where up to 99.8% of the chemical is perpetually re-used and the remaining emissions are broken down in biological water treatment plants, minimising the impact on the environment and conserving energy and water. In fact, the solvent is not acidic, does not remain in the fiber, and has been proven harmless in dermatological and toxicological tests. The European Union (EU) awarded this process the Environmental Award 2000 in the category 'technology for sustainable development'.
What are the properties of Tencel?
SUPERB MOISTURE MANAGEMENT One of the major Tencel's “claims to fame” is its ability to absorb excess liquid (perspiration) – at a rate of 50% more than cotton – and quickly release it into the atmosphere. In doing so, Tencel supports the natural ability of the skin to act as a protective shell to regulate body temperature and maintain water balance. Tencel has a unique fibril structure. Nanofibrils (extremely small hairs) are the key to the performance of Tencel, which is the first cellulose fiber to use this nanotechnology. The nanofibrils are hydrophilic (meaning they have a strong attraction to absorbing water) and optimize absorption of moisture with excellent cooling properties. By contrast, synthetic fibers do not absorb moisture.
ANTIBACTERIAL Tencel’s moisture management does not give bacteria a chance to grow. Moisture is directly absorbed from the skin and transported to the inside of the fiber, rather than on the surface where bacteria could grow. As a result, Tencel clothing is naturally hygienic and remains odor-free for multiple wearings and much longer than cotton. This means fewer washings and saving on water and energy as well as on the wear and tear that occurs on any fabric from the washing and drying processes. By contrast, synthetics have hundreds to thousands of times higher bacteria count over the same time periods as Tencel. Even better, Tencel’s anti-bacterial property is inherent to the fiber without the chemical additives that are used on synthetics and many cotton products.
LUXURIOUSLY SOFT The material is well known for its outstanding physical characteristics - silky softness and luxurious drape. It is the combination of extremely smooth surface and excellent moisture absorption that makes Tencel feel so soft and pleasant to the skin, making it ideal for active wear and clothing for sensitive skin.
GENTLE ON THE SKIN The microscopic surfaces of Tencel fibers, due to the nanofibrils, are smoother than the surfaces of cotton and wool, reducing skin irritation. In addition, Tencel is hypoallergenic and anti-static and fabric made from it doesn’t cling.
STRONG AND SHRINK RESISTANT Tencel fabric with natural elongation and recovery properties can be created without having to use elastomeric fibers such as spandex. The high tenacity of Tencel in both a wet and dry state increases the dimensional stability of the end product. Therefore, even a small percentage of Tencel combined into other yarns and fabrics increases their durability.
What makes Tencel an eco-fibre?
Since regenerated cellulosic fibers do not qualify for organic certification, other recognized eco standards that review the entire process chain for growing and harvesting the trees through the manufacturing and treatment processes must be applied to these fibers. One such award that has been given to Lenzing for Tencel® is the European Eco-Label, which addresses compliance with high environmental standards for production and products.
RESPONSIBLE MANUFACTURING The unique closed loop process allows the solvent used in production of Tencel to be recycled by almost 100%.
RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE Eucalyptus is a fast growing, evergreen plant which grows to a height of up to 40 meters. Tencel is produced from sustainably harvested eucalyptus trees.
WATER CONSERVING Eucalyptus grows quickly and without artificial irrigation. It needs up to 20 times less water than cotton.
ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE Chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetic manipulation are not needed in the growing of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus can be planted on marginal land that cannot be used for food crops.
GREATER YIELD The fiber yield per acre from the trees used in the Tencel fibers is up to ten times higher than that of cotton.
BIODEGRADABLE Tencel, as a natural cellulose fibre, is 100% biodegradable in soil by microorganisms and sunshine. The decomposition process doesn't cause any pollution to the environment.
EASY CARE & ENERGY EFFICIENT Tencel is machine washable in cool water. There is no need for environmentally unfriendly and unhealthy fabric softeners or whitening agents, and energy and water use can be decreased due to shorter washing machine cycles.