Warren McLaren put together a very comprehensive article on the eco-friendliness of silk at TreeHugger.com. Here are some of the highlights, but I’d say the whole article is worth checking out. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/10/qa_is_silk_gree.php
Since silk is a natural fiber it is renewable, biodegradable and can be organic depending I guess on what the silk worms eat. They even have companies that only harvest the cocoons after the moth has hatched…that’s nice. However, there are some chemical treatments and bleaching steps that are done which make it less environmentally friendly. I would say it is probablly one of the more environmentally friendly fabrics, at least compared to pleather or other synthetic fabrics like polyester.
As an aside, check out an article on this hybrid spider-goat that scientists made. It sounds like science fiction, but it is true, they were able to make a goat that produces spider silk proteins in its milk. I don’t know how much treatment it has to go through to be functional silk, but it might be a way that we could make more silk without disturbing so many silk moths….but then we have to deal with the methane output of ruminators like goats.
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