Tencel, is a fibre made from the wood pulp of trees that are grown and replaced on specialized tree farms. Unlike most cellulosic fabrics, Tencel is produced using recyclable, Earth-friendly solvents.
HOW IS IT MADE?
Tencel is a type of rayon, like viscose and modal. These cellulose fibres are all made in a similar way: by dissolving wood pulp and using a special drying process called spinning. Before drying, the wood chips are mixed with a solvent to produce a wet mixture. This mixture is then pushed through small holes to form threads, chemically treated, then the lengths of fibre are spun into yarn and woven into cloth.
TENCEL VS TRADITIONAL VISCOSE AND RAYON
There are two main ways TENCEL differs from most other fabrics made from wood fibre:
First, at the chemical treatment stage. The traditional viscose process is chemically-intensive, using harmful sodium hydroxide. Tencel replaces it with the NMMO process. The solution of N-Methylmorpholine N-oxide is more easily recoverable, and a closed-loop solvent system means almost no solvent is dumped into the ecosystem. Instead, it is recycled time and time again to produce new fibres and minimise harmful waste. Lenzing AG says the solvent recovery rate for their version is an impressive 99%.