Viscose is a common variant of the rayon fibre which is popular for being manufactured from natural sources. Agricultural products and wood are processed to create the regenerated cellulose fibre.
While cotton has been widely used in textiles from ancient times due to its versatility, soft textures and comfort, now it has put people in a dilemma given the fact that cotton is highly water-intensive and dependent on fertilizers and pesticides.
For instance, it takes 2000 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce one T-shirt or jeans. This makes cotton the dirtiest crop as well as the thirstiest.
Moreover, cotton production will be stagnant or shrink due to the limited availability of arable land. Therefore, it can be difficult to manage its incessant supply.
Quickly responding to that, the industry is evolving to introduce newer alternatives for cotton. And this is where regenerated cellulose fibres come in. Regenerated cellulose fibres are formed by regenerating materials of natural origin such as wood pulp that has been dissolved, purified, and extruded into a usable form.
For several decades, the production of regenerated cellulose fibres like viscose has been extensively done, and it is considered to be an ideal substitute for natural cellulose fibre like cotton.
Demand for viscose growing rapidly
With the rapid change in fashion trend, the demands for viscose is increasing very fast as the brands and buyers are gradually moving towards apparel goods made of artificial fibre. As a result, worldwide apparel manufacturers are going for viscose-made products to meet global demands.
Following the global trend, Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers are putting their attention on viscose fibre to grip the new demand. Data of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) is showing that in the last five years import of MMFs such as polyester staple, viscose and lyocell has seen a 48% rise to 156,784 tons in 2019, which was 105,946 tons in 2015.
Import of viscose has seen the highest rise among the MMFs. In 2019, Bangladesh imported 53,289 tons, up by 32.30%, which was 40,278 tons in the previous year.
During January –September period of 2020, the import of viscose stood at 53,474 tons, which means the demands are growing very severely. Industry people are thinking that there is less scope to grow in cotton-based products. So, they are suggesting to go for products that are made with artificial fibre like viscose.
In the present context and global fashion trend, it is high time to move to produce non-cotton products, recently BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon said.
Why manufacturers choosing viscose fibre
Viscose has gained popularity in the textile industry, thanks to its physiological performance. Compared to cotton, viscose can be modified in its thickness and other properties like length. The fibres are easily dyed in a wide range of colors and easily blended with other fibres, thus will bring out the maximum luster.
On top of that, viscose also offers the best wearing comfort of all fibre through its ability of moisture absorbance, fineness, and breathability. These certain moisture management properties cannot be substituted by oil-based synthetic fibre, and this function ensures an adequate temperature balance on the skin, especially when the textiles touch the skin. With these benefits, viscose fibres are ideal in all fields of application: from woven and knitted fabrics to nonwovens and industrial products.
Viscose is undeniably sustainable especially when its high-purity cellulose fibre is obtained from a sustainably managed forest. Unlike cotton, wood has the advantages of low water consumption, reduced pesticide use, and produces up to 10 times the amount of cellulose per hectare.
Finally, viscose fibre is also 100% biodegradable and industrially compostable, making it a decent choice for sustainable fashion.