Fabric Certifications - do you know the difference?
A couple of weeks ago I posted on Instagram with some brief information regarding Oeko-Tex certification for fabrics. In the design industry, these certifications are important when it comes to choosing bedding, window treatments, fabric for upholstery, furniture choices, and more. Sustainable choices are important to me and many of my clients so it's important to be aware of the certifications and what they really mean.
There are many certifications out there to consider when dealing with fabrics. I'm going talk about just a few that I think are very important: Greenguard Gold, Oeko-Tex, GOT, and MadeSafe.
Oeko-Tex is the certification I focused on in my IG post. This certification is about how the fabric is processed (including dyes and finishes). Every part of the garment is tested. If a product is labeled as such it is certified to be completely free from harmful chemicals and safe for human use.
Things to know: 1. It’s completely voluntary 2. It’s reviewed annually 3. It’s a global standard 4. Testing is done by 3rd party laboratories
GREENGUARD Certified looks at another aspect of the fabric - these items have been tested and scientifically proven to have low chemical emissions (remember those VOC's I discussed in a previous post?). In this process, large stainless steel compartments are used to test emissions. This scientific process can see between zero and 200-300 chemicals coming from a product. GREENGUARD Gold certifies that products emit low levels and incorporate a very low level of formaldehyde emissions specifically.
Things to know:
1. Testing can take between one and 6 months
2. Greenguard is not just for fabrics, look for this certification in a wide variety of products
3. New versions of products are tested each year
GOTS Certification (or Global Organic Textile Standard) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. Harvesting of raw materials, as well as environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, are the focus of this certification.
Things to know:
1. Products must have a minimum of 70% organic fibers
2. Functional wastewater treatment plants are mandatory for processors
3. Products include fiber products, yarns, fabrics, clothing, and home textiles are included
4. Packaging materials must not contain PVC
MadeSafe Certification is the first non-toxic certification in America. Materials, components, and ingredients used cannot be known to harm human health or the environment. I look forward to this company expanding their products.
Things to know:
1. A vast array of products used in everyday life can be certified.
2. Certification starts early by working with companies in the research and development stage.
3. Human health, environmental health, and ecosystem health are all considered.
So, what should you do with all this information? Buying sustainable products tells manufacturers that you want products that are safe for your family and environment. Look for the labels shown above when purchasing and researching items you want in your home. Many manufacturers and businesses that value sustainability in their products will proudly display this information on their websites, so be on the lookout for that information. HOWEVER, and this is a big one, some "certified" companies are made-up to certify their own product. So bottom line is you want the product to be certified by a 3rd party.
To do the research in advance and make sure you are shopping with eco-friendly companies for eco-friendly products, check out this website. You can search for items and narrow down your search by looking for specific certifications as well as where items are sold and where they are manufactured. Great information... let me know if you have other sources you like to use to find sustainable products and information - I'm always looking for more resources!