Lyocell, being part of the Rayon family, is a cellulosic fibre made from wood pulp of some form (often Eucalyptus or Bamboo, but also birch is common). This sounds super duper as it’s a completely natural fibre made from super fast-growing trees - apart from the fact that for most viscose/rayon/lyocell fabric a whole bunch of chemicals are needed in order to make the wood pulp into the super smooth fabric we want. Not great.
So what has Tencel got to do with it all?
Tencel and Lyocell are the same end product. The fibre that is spun into fabric is exactly the same. So the difference? What is the Tencel hype about?
Tencel is a fibre made exclusively by the Austrian company Lenzing, with a whole different production method. Here is where the important difference starts. While the end product might be the same, the clever guys at Lenzing have found a way to produce Lyocell in a completely closed loop process. This means that all the nasty chemicals we mentioned earlier, are not wasted. 99% of the non-toxic solvent being recycled and is pushed back into the system in reused again and again and again, rather than ending up as waste water.
Tencel is made from Eucalyptus trees, a fast growing trees that is grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides, and that uses 5 times less land than cotton. While needing water resources to farm, Eucalyptus trees still need 80% less than cotton.
So now you know why it is important to distinguish the difference between normal Lyocell and Lenzing Tencel Lyocell - while the end product may look exactly the same, lyocell manufacturing process is nowhere near Tencel talking about sustainability.
Keep your eyes peeled for a new Jun-i basics collection coming very soon - using a super smooth Tencel - Organic Cotton mix fabric!