A curious cat in knitted hat

There are lots of different type of yarns to knit with. We were curios about which of them are most environmental friendly. 

Our conclussion is that the natural yarns are the best choices regarding the environment, since they are completely derived from nature, either from plants or animals and they are biodegradable.

We collected some facts about natural fibers that are commonly used in knitting yarns, like hemp, linen, cotton, wool and silk.


One of the most eco-friendly natural fabrics is hemp.

Hemp is made from the hemp plant. It is one of the most versatile and eco-friendly
fabrics. It is breathable, moisture-wicking, antibacterial and warm. It is very durable and
becomes softer with washing and wear. The hemp plant can produce two or three times
more fiber per acer and doesn’t need a lot of water to grow. It also replenishes the soil it
grows in rather than extracting its nutrients.


Linen is a durable and eco-friendly fabrics. Look for this in your yarn. 

Linen is made from the flax plant. It is incredibly durable, very lightweight,
breathable, absorbent, antimicrobial, cool and moth resistant. It is the ideal natural fabric for
hot weather. Linen production requires far less water than cotton and does not require any
chemical fertilizers or pesticides.


Cotton is a natural fiber. However the process to produce cotton yarn is questionable. Look for organic cottons if you care about the environment.

Cotton is made from the cotton plant, and it is actually one of the most
environmentally demanding crops. The cotton industry uses 25 percent of the world’s
insecticides and 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. The chemicals used in the production
can have adverse health effects on the workers producing the fabrics. Organic cotton is a far
better alternative to regular cotton as it does not use pesticides or insecticides during the


Wool is an easy to knit and easy to care natural fabrics.

Wool is made by using the hair of animals, for example sheep and goats. Wool is
breathable and a natural insulator, which means it can keep you cool in the summer and
warm in the winter. It has a great ability to absorb moisture and is easy to care for and
resistant to staining. Normally wool is a sustainable fabric, since it is a biodegradable,
renewable resource and sheep are low-impact animals. However, mass production of wool
can have a very bad environmental impact; the use of insecticides and over-grazing land,
wool dyes and mothproofing chemicals can be highly toxic.


Silk yarn is made by spinning and weaving the silk fiber. It is a sustainable yarn with very low environmental impact.

Silk is made from the cocoon of silkworms, by spinning and weaving the silk fiber. Silk
has a smooth and soft texture, but is not slippery, unlike many synthetic fibers. It is one of
the strongest natural fiber, but its elasticity is moderate to poor. It is very breathable but can
be susceptible to static clinging. It has very low environmental impact, the production does
not use a lot of chemicals compared to cotton and synthetic production. Silk is also suitable
for low impact dyes.

Are these fabrics eco-friendly?

It varies between fabrics but overall these are by far the best for the environment. They are
biodegradable and natural which makes them sustainable for the most part. If you want to
choose the most eco-friendly fabrics, then you should always choose organic. Linen and
hemp in particular are very sustainable fabrics that don’t need pesticides or fertilizers to grow
and they don’t require a lot of water.