The article will deliberate the biodegradability of cupro fabric while also covering
- Is it natural?
- Is it compostable?
- Is it sustainable?
- Are there better options?
Is cupro biodegradable?
It is claimed that cupro is biodegradable because of the fact that it is sourced from nature and therefore, its return back to nature is possible and happens readily.
Cupro is short for cuprammonium rayon. The name is used because a solution of copper and ammonium is employed to make this type of fabric fibre.
As you may have guessed from the name, cupro is a fabric fibre. The next big question is whether cupro is natural or non-natural.
As it turns out, cupro is a semi-synthetic material that is sourced from cellulose and then is worked upon or processed in a synthetic fashion, as mentioned with a mixture of ammonium and copper.
As regards the biodegradability of cupro, it is claimed that cupro is biodegradable because of the fact that it is sourced from nature and therefore, its return back to nature is possible and happens readily.
Biodegradation is the breakdown that is caused by the action of microbes. It is the natural mechanism of making sure that there is no waste so that the environment may be saved from the detrimental impacts of waste accumulation.
It is normally perceived that natural materials are biodegradable whereas non-natural materials are generally not biodegradable because they lack the necessary organic inside that is essential for the microbes so that the microbes may break down the targeted material.
Can cupro be used as a fertiliser?
Yes, cupro can be used as a fertiliser. This question is analogous to whether cupro can be composted or not. Composting is a process where organic waste is converted into fertiliser.
This fertiliser is organic and natural and therefore, it can replace synthetic and chemical fertilisers that cause pollution.
The catch here is that chemical fertilisers seep into the ground wherein the chemicals may leach and cause soil and groundwater pollution. This not only affects the environment but also the life that is associated with the area.
This can be done at composting facilities and also at home. The option of composting facilities is very basic. All you need to do is to transport the cupro waste along with other compostable waste to the composting facilities. The rest will be done by them.
However, you can also compost cupro at home and here is how you can do that. Let us discuss some of the key actions and points you need to be mindful of to be able to compost cupro at home. These include:
- Find a suitable location in your home that is distant from your indoors but decently accessible
- You can compost either openly (compost piles) or in a compost bin. Both are fine.
- To initiate the process, make a heap made from compostable material (including natural cellophane)
- Make sure to place the heap in a cool and dry place. Be sure to continuously and regularly mix it.
- Make sure that there is a decent ratio of brown and green matter. The brown matter will be the source of carbon whereas the green matter will be the source of nitrogen. Many suggest making the ratio 4:1.
- Wait and let external conditions and microbes do the work
Is cupro a sustainable fabric?
Developing a stance on the sustainability of cupro fabric is a bit equivocal as there are factors at each side. Some aspects advocate in favour of cupro being eco-friendly and sustainable while others do exactly the opposite. We will explore all those factors and develop a stance at the end.
What makes cupro sustainable? (5 aspects)
There are factors and aspects that herald the eco-friendliness and sustainability of cupro fabric. The aspects include
- Cupro fabric is made from waste material which makes the fabric win the title of resource conservative
- Cupro fabric features the use of cellulose which is naturally occurring. Therefore, there is no reluctance in saying that cupro fabric is made from natural materials
- Cupro fabric is biodegradable which means that it will not contribute to the waste problems and will degrade readily
- Cupro fabric can also be composted. This means that the waste generated from cupro can be used as a natural fertiliser which can replace synthetic fertilisers and gain benefits such as better yield, increased growth, and better water retention profiles
- Cupro fabric can also be recycled and therefore, it makes the fabric one step closer to being eco-friendly
What makes cupro unsustainable?
However, as stated and prognosticated, it is not the entire picture. While there are factors that advocate the sustainability of cupro fabric, there are factors that do the opposite. Those include
- Cupro fabric depends on cotton which is regarded as a thirsty crop. This means a lot of water is consumed in the growth of cotton and therefore, cupro too.
- The production of cupro is incomplete without chemicals and agents such as copper and ammonium. This takes a toll on the environment.
- The production of cupro raises human rights violation concerns. For example, China is one of the biggest producers of cupro. In China, workers are given very few rights and there are serious medical repercussions of working with ammonium and copper
- There are greener alternatives of cupro present that are linked with decreased concerns and pollution. With that in mind, the use and consumption of cupro seem illogical.
What are the green alternatives?
In light of the above points, it seems rather imperative to explore the greener alternatives of cupro so that environmental, health-related, and human rights-related concerns are addressed. When it comes to that, there are options such as
- Micro silk
- Orange fibre
All these options are associated with less pollution and environmental strain. For example, modal fibre is linked with up to 80% decreased environmental impact if a comparative narrative with cupro is developed.
It is concluded that cupro is a semi-synthetic fibre that is made when cellulose is mixed with copper and ammonium. It is regarded as biodegradable and compostable.
The article also discussed ways and actions to use cupro waste as a fertiliser by the process of composting.
Also, various points that made cupro sustainably and unsustainable were also shed light upon. Greener alternatives were also given.
- Lebby, Sharmon. (August 18, 2021). What is cupro and is it a sustainable material? Retrieved from: https://www.treehugger.com/what-is-cupro-sustainable-fabric-overview-5192291
- (January 11, 2023). What is cupro fabric? Retrieved from: https://sewport.com/fabrics-directory/cupro-fabric