Lenzing offers several Veocel fibers made with different technologies, including Veocel Lyocell and Veocel Specialty Viscose fibers that have become essential in the market for nonwoven fabrics.
Manufacturers often use Lenzing Veocel fabric to make affordable hygiene products in direct contact with the body. Veocel is a branded name and arguably one of the most eco-friendly semi-synthetic cellulosic fibers.
Veocel fabric has a very soft hand feel and naturally smooth surface and is gentle on the skin. It uses natural and renewable raw materials, cellulose filaments made of wood pulp extracted from trees.
The main advantages of Lenzing Veocel compared to natural fibers such as cotton are low costs and water requirements, even though it's a semi-synthetic or chemical fiber textile.
Here is everything you need to know about Lenzing Veocel fabric, its uses, manufacturing, properties, downsides, and environmental impact.
In this article:
- What is Lenzing Veocel fabric?
- Lenzing Veocel fabric applications
- How does Lenzing produce Veocel?
- Lenzing Veocel fabric properties
- Lenzing Veocel fabric certifications
- Is Lenzing Veocel sustainable?
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What is Lenzing Veocel fabric?
Lenzing Veocel is a regenerated cellulosic fiber in the family of rayon. It's considered a semi-synthetic material, cheap to produce, and available as Veocel Lyocell and Veocel Specialty Viscose.
Lyocell is the third generation technology of rayon, after viscose and modal. It's breathable, lightweight, durable, soft, anti-bacterial, and remains odor-free longer than cotton.
Lenzing makes Veocel fibers by solubilizing quality cellulose extracted from wood pulp produced with sustainable forest management. Veocel is a material manufactured under strict environmental standards.
But Veocel is more expensive than conventional viscose rayon. Its manufacturing process also uses more energy than processing natural fibers.
Lenzing is one of the most well-known manufacturers of lyocell and eco-friendly viscose fibers in the world. Many consumer brands now make high-quality products from Veocel by Lenzing.
The annual production of regenerated cellulosic fibers is 6.7 million tons, according to Lenzing. It represents 6.2% of the total fiber production volume.
Lyocell is the third most used semi-synthetic cellulosic fiber after viscose and acetate. It had a 4% market share in 2018 but faster growth than any other fibers with a 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Lenzing Veocel fabric applications
You can find Lenzing Veocel fabric in hygiene and cleaning products. It combines advanced performance, comfort, and sustainability for everyday consumer needs.
Manufacturers often use Veocel Lyocell and Viscose with other fibers, such as polyester, nylon, cotton, spandex, and more to lower raw material costs.
Veocel fabrics make dry and wet wipes for babies, personal care, and industrial applications through feminine hygiene products such as facial sheet masks to baby diapers.
You can also find Lenzing Veocel Lyocell and Specialty Viscose fibers in sanitary and baby care products, cosmetic pads, and all other kinds of wet and dry wipes.
Cellulosic fibers like Veocel have become very common and replace petroleum-based synthetic fibers such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester.
Lenzing Veocel fabrics have become essential in the market for nonwoven fabrics. The market will slightly rise in the coming years as new commercial applications will develop, especially in China.
How does Lenzing produce Veocel?
Lenzing invests heavily in Veocel Lyocell and Specialty Viscose manufacturing processes to make them some of the most sustainable fibers in the textile industry.
But don't fall into the trap of thinking that Veocel is a natural organic fiber. An enormous amount of water, energy, and chemicals are necessary to manufacture Veocel, a semi-synthetic fiber.
Lenzing produces Veocel from certified and controlled wood sources such as beech trees, pine trees, eucalyptus, and bamboo that significantly lowers fossil energy and water use.
Chemicals and water are required to condition wood pulp cellulose, treat and dissolve cellulose fibers, and wash the regenerated Veocel fibers.
However, during Veocel production, Lenzing recycles up to 99% of the water and chemicals used.
Lenzing makes Veocel Lyocell and Specialty Viscose from sustainable ingredients that meet high environmental standards throughout their life cycle: from raw material extraction to production, distribution, and disposal.
Veocel Lyocell is manufactured by deconstructing wood or plant pulp into a purified fluffy white cellulose using N-Methylmorpholine N-oxide (NMMO) and water. NMMO, also commonly called amine oxide, is considered non-toxic.
However, Lenzing makes Veocel Specialty Viscose from wood pulp using toxic chemicals such as carbon disulfide, sulfuric acid, ammonia, acetone, or caustic soda.
Lenzing uses spinnerets and extrusion through several thousand holes to transform the resulting viscous cellulosic solution into multiple continuous filaments of Veocel.
This manufacturing process is called wet spinning and dissolves polymers in a solvent in a large spin bath, washing, and drying rolls.
After being purified and extended to make long filaments, Veocel fibers are ready to be bonded together by entangling mechanically, thermally, or chemically to form flat, porous sheets of nonwoven fabric.
Lenzing Veocel fabric properties
Lenzing Veocel is a unique material with unique properties. The fine fiber is comfortable, super soft, lightweight, breathable, durable, with high tenacity dry and wet, and efficient absorbency.
Veocel Lyocell and Viscose fibers are very pleasant to the touch and gentle on the skin. They are long-lasting, high-quality, water-absorbent, quick-drying, supporting the body's natural thermal regulation.
Veocel Specialty Viscose is flexible, versatile, and absorbs and retains liquid. It makes ideal fabrics for everyday cleaning and personal care products and many other consumer applications.
However, Veocel fabrics do not resist high temperatures. They have low thermal stability and will lose longevity when exposed directly to UV and sunlight.
Lenzing Veocel fabric certifications
Some of the best certification standards for textiles apply to Lenzing Veocel Lyocell and Specialty Viscose fabric.
Textile standards are crucial to ensure that manufacturers use sustainable processes to produce fabrics under environmentally friendly and socially responsible conditions.
They guarantee that fabric production has the least possible impact on people, the environment, animals, and responsible resource usage.
Lenzing makes Veocel with raw materials originating from plant sources. Veocel is a certified 100% biobased fiber under the BioPreferred designation of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Veocel fibers from Lenzing Austria are also certified with the internationally recognized EU Ecolabel and Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex.
Veocel fibers are certified fully compostable and biodegradable in natural and industrial environments, including soil, compost, fresh, and marine water.
Lenzing uses wood and pulp that come from natural forests and sustainably managed plantations. Veocel fabric is available PEFC or FSC certified.
Is Lenzing Veocel sustainable?
Lenzing Veocel production is considered eco-friendly. Veocel Lyocell is arguably one of the most sustainable regenerated cellulosic fibers.
Responsible companies like Lenzing produces Veocel Lyocell and Specialty Viscose under environmentally friendly processes. During production, Lenzing recycles up to 99% of the water and chemicals used.
Sustainable production facilities can almost fully recover and reuse water and chemicals with closed-loop processes. Together with sustainable forest management, this makes Veocel production eco-friendly.
Sustainable forest management is a primary concern with cellulosic fiber production. The global non-profit organization Canopy reports that semi-synthetic fabrics are often associated with massive deforestation.
Many cellulosic fibers available on the market are less respectful toward the environment. The global textile and apparel industry is responsible for deforestation, the destruction of ecosystems, and greenhouse gas emissions.
A large amount of cellulose comes from logging in tropical rainforest areas. Every year, manufacturers log 120 million trees to make fabrics such as rayon, viscose, modal, and other trademarked textiles.
If the trend continues, deforestation due to cellulosic fiber production could double by 2025, as stated in Canopy's Hot Button Report.
Thankfully, initiatives like the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) Out of Fashion campaign works against rainforest destruction and human rights abuses.
Veocel Lyocell is more sustainable than Veocel Specialty Viscose because its production doesn't require toxic chemicals but an NMMO monohydrate solvent.
Lenzing has developed environmentally responsible production processes that transform wood pulp into Veocel Lyocell with high resource efficiency and low environmental impact.
The Lenzing Veocel Lyocell technology creates one of the most ecological wood-based fibers on the planet.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.