<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Sustainable development
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Cotton and polyester: production and use

Cotton and polyester life cycles


Choosing clothes is all about style, comfort, cost and durability. Sustainability may not be high on the list of priorities.

What do you think about when choosing clothes?

There are many different fabrics with different properties. Polyester and cotton are just two.

Meeting your needs

Think about the things that you would want from a jacket. You may want it to be warm and light or you may prefer the feel of cotton. It may just depend on the style.

How would you choose?

The table compares some properties of typical cotton and polyester fabrics.


Denim and fleece jackets

Denim jacket and polyester fleece.

  Polyester Cotton
Weight Light Medium
Thermal insulation Good Medium
Breathability Medium Good
Wind resistance Fair Good
Time to dry Short Long
Shrinkage (100 washes) 4% 7%
Loss of strength (100 washes) 8% 17%
Biodegradable No Yes
Recyclable Yes Yes

Click here to see the environmental impacts of production and use.