That plastic bottle you tossed into the recycling bin yesterday could end up in the chair you’ll be sitting in tomorrow! Well, perhaps not quite that fast, but eventually. It may seem hard to believe, like many a well-spun yarn (story), but in the textile industry it’s actually true. That’s because the basic component in the textile manufacturing industry—fiber—can be either natural or synthetic.
A fiber is a substance that’s significantly longer than it is wide. Natural fibers (known as staple fibers) develop or occur in the fiber shape and come from animal, vegetable and mineral sources, such as wool, silk, cotton and linen. Then there are synthetic, or man-made, fibers (known as filament fibers), which are cellulosic, thermoplastic and mineral in nature. Their chemical composition is significantly modified during the manufacturing process, and they are used to produce rayon, polyester, nylon and fiberglass. This is not the type of fiber your doctor tells you to eat for good health, but it definitely supports a healthy textile industry!