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9:38 AM   April 27, 2015
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Know Your Fabrics

This sweater is made with 100 percent corn yarn. Courtesy of Wool & Kashmir
Customers who dress up their dogs (in something other than a collar, of course!) can choose from a new variety of eco-friendly fabrics. Designers are creating dog couture using these renewable, recycled and reclaimed resources:

Organic cotton: More and more cotton farmers are going organic, which means that more crops are available to make organic cotton fiber. Products that bear the United States Department of Agriculture certified organic seal are made of ingredients grown on chemical-free farmland, manufactured in facilities that avoid synthetic chemicals in their processing and inspected regularly to ensure separation of organic and non-organic materials.

Reclaimed cotton: Reclaimed cotton comes from commercial t-shirt industry waste. When a t-shirt pattern is cut, excess fabric remains, which used to be incinerated or tossed in a landfill. Now, companies take the remnants, break down the fibers and reweave them into yarn without using any chemicals or dyes. That yarn is then used to make everything from dog T-shirts to sweaters.

Bamboo: Bamboo fibers come directly from bamboo stalks. The plant, which grows up to a foot a day, is broken open, the fiber is stripped and dried, and it’s then spun into a silky yarn that can be woven into fabric. Often spun with cotton or hemp, the fabric is commonly used in fashions and home furnishings, like sheets, blankets and towels, but it’s also being used on collars and leashes.

Hemp: Hemp has been used as a textile for thousands of years, thanks to its strength and durability. It is machine washable and dryable, it softens as it’s laundered, and it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plus, because it grows like a weed with no pesticides or chemicals, it’s essentially a hypoallergenic textile. Look for clothing, collars, harnesses and bedding made with a hemp-cotton blend.

Corn: Corn yarn comes from waste products from the commercial corn industry. Like bamboo and hemp, corn fiber is machine washable and dryable. It absorbs moisture, breathes like cotton, is naturally soft and retains its shape much like wool does. Plus, it’s fade- and wrinkle-resistant -- not a major concern for pets, but a nice convenience for humans.

Soy: Made from tofu manufacturing waste, soy protein is liquefied and extruded into long, continuous fibers that are cut and processed into a spinning fiber. Soy fiber, which is often combined with silk, wool, and alpaca, is extremely soft and strong. It’s washable, breathable and soft -- and it’s antibacterial, making it a suitable yarn for pet product textiles. It also makes eco-friendly and durable dog beds and plush toys.

The next time customers want to purchase an outfit for their dogs or cats, consider offering them one made from one of these environmentally friendly fibers. Their pets won’t know the difference -- but you and your customers will know your helping our planet.<HOME>

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