What are natural fibres?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, natural fibres may be defined as “those renewable fibres from plants or animals which can be easily transformed into yarn for textiles”. Natural fibres form an important component in the manufacturing of clothing, upholstery and other textiles. Many types can also be used in industrial applications such as the making of paper, packaging, rope or composite materials.
Apart from its versatile uses to consumers and industry, natural fibres are an important source of income for the farmers who produce them. Natural fibre industries employ millions of people worldwide and are of major economic importance in some developing countries. Using natural fibres in everyday products furthermore contribute to a greener planet, as these fibres are a renewable resource and completely biodegradable, which means they can be reproduced over and over again and they don’t pollute or cause greenhouse gasses.
Annually the world produces close to 30 million ton of natural fibres of which cotton alone makes up two thirds while wool and jute account for two to three million ton each. There are a lot more natural fibre producing plants and animals than just wool, cotton or jute, though.