What are the environmental impacts of lyocell?
Lyocell is a regenerated fiber and has emerged out as an alternative to viscose rayon. The need to substitute viscose rayon was the toxic manufacturing process that was used to process the fiber. Lyocell, a form of rayon is considered as a biodegradable fiber since the raw material is cellulosic in nature and does not involve the use of much chemicals in the production process. Unlike viscose rayon, the manufacturing of lyocell eliminates processes such as alkalization and xanthation and employs the use of a solvent amine oxide that can be recovered and reused. The manufacturing lyocell is also environmentally sustainable because it requires less water and energy.
But, lyocell poses a problem when fibers are converted into the fabric as at this stage certain toxic chemicals are released into the environment during the pre-treatment and finish the application to the fiber.
In addition, there is no way that the manufacturing process can be traced to assess whether the fabric procured has undergone a sustainable closed-loop process.