Fabric Types

Understanding what makes a t-shirt sustainable can be confusing. Below we break down each of the fabric types offered at Print Natural and what makes them sustainable.

Print Natural is dedicated to being the most sustainable t-shirt printer in the USA.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is hands down the most sustainable fiber, supporting healthy ecosystems, promoting fair treatment of farmers and workers, and focusing on long-term viability and sustainability of the farming system:

No Synthetic Pesticides or Fertilizers
Organic cotton is cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Instead, farmers rely on natural methods such as crop rotation, composting, and beneficial insect release to manage pests and enrich the soil.

Reduced Environmental Impact
By avoiding synthetic chemicals, organic cotton farming minimizes soil and water pollution. It helps preserve biodiversity and promotes healthier ecosystems by maintaining a more balanced and sustainable agricultural system.

Water Conservation
Custom organic cotton t-shits often utilizes water more efficiently through practices like rainwater harvesting, better irrigation management, and reduced water-intensive synthetic fertilizer usage. This is particularly important in regions prone to water scarcity.

Soil Health
Organic farming practices improve soil fertility and structure by avoiding the depletion of essential nutrients. Crop rotation and the use of organic matter enrich the soil and support long-term sustainability.

Promotes Biodiversity
Organic farming encourages the growth of various plants, insects, and animals, promoting biodiversity. This helps maintain a balanced ecosystem, which is crucial for the overall health of the environment.

No GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Organic cotton is not genetically modified. The avoidance of GMOs helps prevent potential environmental and health risks associated with genetically engineered crops.

Safer for Farmers and Workers
Organic cotton farming involves fewer health risks for farmers and workers due to the absence of exposure to harmful synthetic chemicals. This contributes to a healthier and more socially sustainable working environment.

Transparency and Certification
The organic cotton industry is supported by various certification bodies (e.g., GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard) that set standards for organic cotton production. These certifications ensure that specific criteria related to sustainability, ethics, and environmental impact are met.

Supports Local Communities
Organic cotton farming often emphasizes fair wages, fair labor practices, and community development. It supports local economies and communities, creating a more sustainable and equitable supply chain.

Long-Term Sustainability
By focusing on soil health and sustainable farming practices, organic cotton cultivation promotes long-term sustainable t-shirt printing, ensuring that the land remains productive for future generations.

Better Cotton

Better Cotton aka The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) promotes more sustainable practices in cotton farming, social and economic benefits for farmers and workers, research and innovation, global collaboration, and context-specific approaches:

Water and Chemical Management
BCI emphasizes responsible water use and reduced chemical application. Farmers are encouraged to optimize water usage and minimize the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers, which helps in conserving water resources and reducing chemical pollution.

Soil Health and Biodiversity
BCI promotes practices that enhance soil health, such as crop rotation and reduced tillage. These practices help preserve soil structure, fertility, and biodiversity, contributing to long-term sustainability of the land.

Environmental Impact Reduction
By promoting integrated pest management, proper waste management, and reduced chemical use, BCI aims to minimize the environmental impact of cotton farming. This includes reducing soil erosion, pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Responsible Farming Practices
BCI trains farmers in adopting responsible and sustainable farming practices, including efficient water usage, safe pesticide handling, and sustainable land management. These practices improve overall farm productivity while reducing negative environmental and social impacts.

Transparency and Traceability
BCI promotes transparency and traceability in the cotton supply chain. This allows for better accountability and monitoring of sustainability practices, ensuring that the cotton produced adheres to the BCI sustainability standards.

Social and Economic Benefits
BCI encourages fair labor practices, better working conditions, and improved livelihoods for cotton farmers and workers. This includes providing training, education, and empowerment opportunities, leading to improved economic outcomes for farming communities.

Research and Innovation
BCI invests in research and innovation to continually improve sustainability standards and practices. This includes finding better ways to reduce resource use, improve crop yields, and mitigate environmental and social impacts associated with cotton farming.

Global Collaboration and Partnership
BCI collaborates with various stakeholders, including farmers, retailers, NGOs, and governments, to drive sustainable change throughout the cotton supply chain. This multi-stakeholder approach ensures a collective effort towards sustainability.

Adaptability to Local Contexts
BCI recognizes the importance of adapting sustainable practices to local contexts, considering regional environmental conditions, social dynamics, and economic realities. This ensures that sustainability efforts are effective and meaningful in diverse regions.

100% Recycled Cotton

100% recycled cotton contributes to reducing environmental impact, conserving resources, and promoting circularity in the textile industry.

Resource Conservation
Using recycled cotton reduces the need for new cotton production, conserving natural resources such as water, land, and energy that would otherwise be used to grow and process new cotton.

Waste Reduction
Recycled cotton is made from post-consumer or post-industrial cotton waste. By recycling cotton textiles, the amount of waste sent to landfills is significantly reduced.

Lower Water Usage
Cotton cultivation is water-intensive. Recycled cotton eliminates the need for water-intensive farming practices, thereby conserving water resources.

Reduced Energy Consumption

Recycling cotton generally requires less energy than producing new cotton fibers. This results in a lower overall carbon footprint for recycled cotton products.

Fewer Pesticides and Fertilizers
Growing new cotton requires significant amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which can harm the environment. Recycled cotton eliminates the need for these chemicals, reducing their environmental impact.

Material Reuse
Recycled cotton supports a circular economy by reusing existing materials, extending the lifecycle of cotton fibers, and reducing the dependency on virgin resources.

Biodegradability and Recyclability
Cotton is a natural fiber that is biodegradable. Recycled cotton retains this property, ensuring that it can break down naturally at the end of its life cycle, reducing environmental pollution.

Technological Advancements
Advances in recycling technology have improved the quality and efficiency of recycled cotton production, making it a viable and sustainable alternative to virgin cotton.

Recycled Blend

Recycled cotton-poly blend shirts are typically sourced from post-consumer or post-industrial textile waste. Utilizing recycled fibers reduces the demand for virgin raw materials and lessens the burden on natural resources:

Reduction in Raw Material Consumption
Incorporating recycled cotton and polyester helps in conserving raw materials, reducing the need for new cotton and polyester production, which is resource-intensive.

Diversion from Landfills
Utilizing recycled fibers helps divert textile waste from landfills, reducing the amount of textile waste that ends up in environmentally harmful disposal sites.

Reduced Energy Consumption
Manufacturing recycled fibers typically requires less energy compared to producing virgin fibers, contributing to energy savings and a lower carbon footprint.

Water Conservation
Recycling cotton and polyester fibers often consumes less water compared to the production of virgin fibers, supporting water conservation efforts.

Promotes Circular Economy
Incorporating recycled fibers promotes a circular economy by encouraging the reuse and recycling of existing materials, extending the lifecycle of textile products.

Bamboo Blend

A blend of viscose derived from bamboo and organic cotton that combines environmentally friendly sourcing, responsible manufacturing practices, and the benefits associated with each material:

Bamboo Fiber
Bamboo is a renewable resource that grows rapidly and requires minimal water, pesticides, and fertilizers. Responsible sourcing of bamboo ensures that it is harvested using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

Closed-Loop Production
Sustainable manufacturers use closed-loop production systems for processing bamboo fibers. In this system, chemicals used in the production process are captured and reused, minimizing waste and reducing environmental impact.

Efficient Water Usage
Sustainable bamboo processing involves efficient water management practices to minimize water consumption during fiber production.

Chemical Management
Responsible processing includes the use of safer chemicals and proper disposal of chemicals, reducing harm to the environment and people.

Biodegradability and Recyclability
Bamboo is a natural fiber that is biodegradable, meaning it breaks down naturally without causing harm to the environment.Fabrics made from bamboo fibers are often recyclable, and the use of recycled or upcycled bamboo can enhance sustainability.

Reduced Carbon Footprint
Bamboo fiber production is often more energy-efficient compared to the production of some other textiles like traditional cotton, leading to a lower carbon footprint.

Hemp Blend

A blend of viscose derived from hemp and organic cotton that combines responsible manufacturing practices, environmentally friendly sourcing, fostering positive social and economic impact:

Hemp Fiber
Hemp is a renewable and fast-growing plant that requires minimal water, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers to grow. Responsible sourcing of hemp ensures that it is cultivated sustainably, without harming the environment

Efficient Water and Energy Usage
Sustainable manufacturers use efficient processing techniques to minimize water and energy consumption during fiber production.

Closed-Loop Production
Implementing closed-loop production systems ensures that chemicals used in the processing of hemp are captured and reused, reducing waste and minimizing environmental impact.

Safe Chemicals
The use of eco-friendly and safe chemicals in the processing of hemp fibers minimizes harm to workers, consumers, and the environment.

Biodegradability and Recyclability
Hemp is a natural fiber that is biodegradable, meaning it breaks down naturally and does not contribute to environmental pollution. Fabrics made from hemp fibers are often recyclable, and the use of recycled or upcycled hemp can enhance sustainability.

Lower Carbon Emissions
The production of hemp fibers typically involves lower carbon emissions compared to other materials, contributing to a reduced overall carbon footprint.

Social and Economic Impact
Sustainable sourcing and production of hemp often involve supporting local communities and farmers, providing fair wages and contributing to the economic development of the region.

Supima Cotton

Supima cotton, aka Pima cotton, produces unique long staple fibers promoting quality over quantity, reducing water and chemical usage, improving land efficiency, and adherence to sustainability standards creating positive economic impact for farmers:

Long Staple Fiber Quality
Supima cotton is known for its long staple fibers, making it highly durable and less prone to fraying, resulting in longer-lasting products. This durability reduces the need for frequent replacements and promotes sustainable consumption patterns.

Reduced Water Usage
While cotton is generally water-intensive to grow, Supima cotton tends to be more efficient in water usage compared to regular cotton. The long staple nature of Supima fibers allows for stronger, more absorbent yarns, reducing the amount of water required during the dyeing and finishing processes.

Better Yield and Land Efficiency
Due to its longer fibers, Supima cotton often yields higher quality and quantity of textile products compared to shorter staple cotton. This higher yield from the same amount of land reduces the overall land requirement for cotton cultivation.

Lower Chemical Usage
Supima cotton is typically grown with a reduced amount of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers due to its inherent resistance to pests and diseases. This reduction in chemical usage contributes to a healthier and more sustainable farming environment.

Quality over Quantity
Supima cotton focuses on producing high-quality fibers rather than emphasizing mass production. This approach encourages a shift toward quality textiles that last longer, supporting a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to the fashion industry.

Traceability and Transparency
The Supima brand maintains a strong emphasis on traceability and transparency in the supply chain, ensuring consumers can trace the origin of the cotton and verify its authenticity.

Long-Term Economic Sustainability
By promoting higher quality cotton and maintaining a focus on premium products, Supima supports the economic sustainability of cotton farmers, ensuring fair wages and better livelihoods.

Basic Cotton

Basic cotton, aka conventional cotton, is not considered inherently sustainable compared to organic or responsibly produced cotton:

Use of Chemicals
Conventional cotton farming involves the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers to protect the crop from pests and enhance growth. These chemicals can have negative environmental and health impacts.

Genetic Modification
Many conventional cotton crops are genetically modified to resist pests (e.g., Bt cotton) or tolerate specific herbicides. GMOs are designed to improve crop yield and reduce the need for chemical inputs.

Water Intensive
Cotton is a water-intensive crop, and conventional farming practices often involve heavy irrigation to support crop growth, leading to high water usage.

Conventional cotton farming often relies on monoculture, where large areas are devoted to growing cotton alone, which can lead to issues such as soil degradation and loss of biodiversity.

Environmental Impact
The use of synthetic chemicals and unsustainable farming practices in conventional cotton farming can have adverse environmental impacts, including soil degradation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

*We only offer basic cotton cotton styles from companies that demonstrate a dedication to sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices.