What are the environmental impacts of modal?
High wet modulus rayon is a regenerated fiber and a form of rayon but what sets the two apart is the manufacturing process. The production of modal no longer requires ageing in cellulose alkalization and chemical concentrations of sodium hydroxide are also reduced. Thus, the environmental impact has reduced to a certain level when compared to conventional rayon.
However, chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide are employed in the manufacturing of modal. Sodium hydroxide, although is used in small amounts, contributes towards the water and air pollution while carbon disulphide is a toxic chemical that if leaked in water bodies has the ability to contaminate the water body and aquatic life.
Carbon disulphide is also linked with medical conditions such as heart and skin diseases and thus might have an adverse effect on the health of the factory workers. With growing awareness, many factory managers have installed devices which absorb the carbon disulphide creating a toxic-free environment for workers.
But the Austria-based company Lenzing AG claims that their HMV rayon known as Lenzing Modal manufacturing process is not harmful to the environment and the technology adopted by them recollects and recovers almost 95% of the chemicals used in the process. Also, the production process has reduced the release of toxic chemicals.
Lastly, a lot of deforestation is involved in cellulose extraction and extensive water is required during cultivation.