We believe we have found a renewable and preventative solution to the global fibre gap in CRAiLAR Flax. It is a hearty, fast-growing rotational crop that requires minimal pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, and irrigation. According to a study published by the World Wildlife Federation, a single kilo of finished cotton fiber requires between 7,000 and 29,000 liters of water. Based on its two-year lifecycle analysis, Cotton, Inc. reports that a kilo of finished cotton requires 2,120 liters, while Field to Market, a third-party initiative for sustainable agriculture, believes that figure is closer to 1,917 liters per kilo. Those studies represent a wide range of findings, but, in every case, the amount of water required is undeniably significant, especially considering that 73 percent of all cotton is produced on irrigated land.
Based on our ongoing research, a kilo of CRAiLAR Flax only requires 17 liters to produce the same quantity of finished fiber — 99 percent less water than cotton, using Field to Market’s research. Factor in far fewer pesticides and herbicides and it’s easy to see how CRAiLAR Flax can help conserve the world’s water for other uses. For such reasons, the USDA has designated CRAiLAR Flax Fiber 100% BioPreferred®.
CRAiLAR Flax only requires 17 liters to produce the same quantity of finished fiber — 99 percent less water than cotton.
In the past, flax’s application as a fiber has been limited by its structure, which allowed it to be woven into linen, but not knitted like cotton. Developed in collaboration with the Canadian National Research Council, the all-natural, enzymatic process used to create CRAiLAR unlocks the potential of flax as a high-performing, eco-friendly natural fiber.
Once the fiber is harvested, it is left in the field where natural moisture begins to loosen the raw flax fiber from the soft inner core, known as shive. Next the retted straw, that has been let in the field to soften the fibers, is decorticated by having the outer layer removed by a machine completing the process of separating the fiber from the shive. Finally, the raw fiber is treated with the proprietary CRAiLAR process to remove stiffening lignins from the flax, resulting in a fiber with cotton’s softness and durability. Based on ongoing testing, garments made of or blended with CRAiLAR Flax Fiber outperform pure cotton.
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