When you buy clothes made of acetate, you may ask, is acetate a good fabric? Here is what we have found about the pros and cons of acetate fabric.
In knitting and weaving, acetate yarns are crucial. It is perfect for use in items made in large quantities, like lining, and it can also be used to create exclusive fabrics for niche markets. Acetate is a material that, like everything else on the planet, has both benefits and drawbacks.
Read this blog and you will know more about the pros and cons of acetate fabric and then decide whether to buy it.
Is Acetate a Good Fabric?
Since it does not shrink like silk, acetate is a very flexible substance. It successfully upholds the design and gives the suit a more three-dimensional appearance. Acetate fabrics also have good drapes and conform without clinging to the body. It is available in a wide range of deep colors and has a soft feel.
Because they are frequently made with chemicals derived from fossil fuels, acetate fabrics are typically not sustainable. Chemical and energy input into the manufacturing process is typical. Microplastic issues in marine environments are also a result of washing acetate clothing. Last but not least, traditional acetate fabrics take a while to degrade.
To make using acetate fabrics somewhat more sustainable, follow these steps:
- Purchase acetate clothing that has been used once, recycled, or upcycled.
- Increase the number of wears between washings and retain acetate clothing items for as long as you can.
- When the time comes to replace your acetate clothing, consider upcycling the material to extend its life and make arrangements for recycling or proper disposal.
Pros of Acetate
The biggest benefit of acetate, which can be seen in observations of long-term use, is cost-effectiveness. Acetate can be produced cheaply because cellulose is widely available. It is considered a practical absorbent material for chemical spills in other industries. However, cellulose acetate offers more benefits than just those.
As a fabric, CA is soft and known as the “silk” of synthetic fibers. It can replace wool and is frequently added to these fibers to lessen shrinkage. Additionally, it minimizes the amount of fabric creasing. Because acetate is particularly heat-sensitive, hand washing and line drying are recommended; this reduces energy consumption.
Sunglasses’ tendency to catch fire was once a concern. This issue was resolved when cellulose acetate was used instead of the more flammable cellulose nitrate. The safety of wearing acetate eyewear has been demonstrated. The use of acetate in film for photographers and filmmakers is also impacted by this conclusion.
CA is thought to be biodegradable, which is an important environmental win. In a sewage-like environment, one study found that an acetate plastic cup degraded by more than 70% in just 18 months. It lost about 60% of its weight in water. According to the authors, it would degrade much more quickly in a compost environment.
A chemical additive called titanium dioxide, which is used to whiten objects, would significantly speed up the degradation of acetate, which doesn’t break down as quickly in sunlight.
So, while some studies don’t think it degrades fast enough to be called “biodegradable,” 18 months to 10 years is better than the hundreds to thousands of years it takes other plastics to degrade.
Cons of Acetate
Acetate has shown to be particularly practical in terms of usage and cost. Nevertheless, cellulose acetate is not regarded as being durable despite being stronger than many natural fibers. Additionally, it is prone to melting in extreme heat.
As the final drawback, acetate has issues that stem not only from the substance itself but also from the issues it causes when used in the manufacture of specific products. It is known to be combined with toxins, for example, when used outside of the textile industry.
Acetate frequently has plasticizers added to it to improve its stability and tensile strength. This increases the material’s usefulness for producing things other than fabric. To the detriment of its non-toxicity, this practice also raises its melting point.
The majority of plasticizers come from petroleum, which is known to be hazardous to the environment. When combined with cellulose acetate, phthalates are the most typical plasticizers used, and they have been identified as a significant source of man-made pollution.
Phthalates have a history of being toxic to animals, and more and more evidence is emerging that they are toxic to people as well. particularly in terms of reproductive health.
A hazardous chemical list does not include cellulose acetate. However, because it irritates the respiratory system, it may be harmful if inhaled. The skin and eyes could also become irritated.
It’s crucial that employees who are exposed to the substance work in an area that is properly ventilated and wear the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE), such as gloves and goggles. This is because the substance frequently starts as a flake or a powder. It is crucial to know that sustainable products were made in factories that care about the wellbeing of their employees.
Cellulose acetate is a semi-synthetic material that is still man-made and contributes to the microplastic problem even though it is made from a natural resource. CA makes up a sizable portion of the plastic debris found in marine environments and enters the ocean via sewage and cigarette butts.
Over half of the microplastics found in the Arctic were found to be made of seven different materials, one of which was cellulose acetate. This is something that should be taken into account in light of the expanding issue of microplastics in the ocean.
Is Acetate Eco-friendly?
It’s not a simple question to answer, though, because there are many things to take into account, especially when talking about eco-friendly materials for things like sunglasses or everyday eyewear.
In some steps of the acetate manufacturing process, sustainability is a consideration. For instance, Eastman Chemical, a business with headquarters in Tennessee, uses a closed-loop production process to turn certified-sustainable tree pulps into acetate flakes. The creation of cellulose acetate can, however, be a very challenging process.
Although cellulose acetate is thought to be safe, many different chemicals are used in its manufacturing. Acetate can be produced using acetic acid, which is a substance akin to vinegar, acetic anhydride, and sulfuric acid.
While the acetic components are generally safe, manufacturing with sulfuric acid can be dangerous for factory workers.
Additionally, petroleum-based chemicals that are used as plasticizers or UV stabilizers are also used in the production of acetate. Even harmful substances like phthalates, which have been linked to a number of diseases like cancer, asthma, and hormonal disorders, may be used in the process.
Can You Recycle Acetate?
No particular recycling facilities in the US currently deal with consumer waste made of acetate. For those who want to continue living a zero-waste lifestyle but still use acetate-containing products, there is a solution.
Used acetates cannot be recycled or manufactured by eco-friendly companies. Therefore, it is best to donate old acetate frames to your neighborhood charity or thrift store.
Conclusion: is Acetate a Good Fabric?
So is acetate a good fabric? Products made of acetate aren’t as sustainable as those made of more organic materials, like cotton or hemp for clothing or bamboo and wood for sunglasses. But when compared to substances made from fossil fuels, it is unquestionably the better option.
Is Acetate a High-quality Fabric?
Fabric made of acetate is thin and has a soft, opulent feel. It has a silk-like quality, so it feels soft against the skin and offers extreme comfort. It is a delicate material, so there’s a good chance you’ll like wearing acetate clothing if you like wearing silk.
Is Acetate a Cheap Material?
In its hardened form, acetate is very easy to process, making it a great and inexpensive material.
Is Acetate Fabric Soft?
Acetate material is soft and silky and tends to dye well. Because of this, acetate clothing frequently consists of soft items like blouses and linings, as well as clothing for weddings and parties.