The ultimate in lived-in luxury, linen has made a comeback in recent years, and that’s a great thing for both your lifestyle and the environment. Linen bedding and home goods have a universal appeal for both their style and function. Effortlessly chic, with an iconic, naturally woven texture, linen can be the earthy detail that pulls an entire room together.
But there’s more to linen than timeless style and sustainable living. If you or your partner are a hot sleeper, linen bed sheet sets stay remarkably cool and dry, while getting softer every time you wash them. After washing, Linen’s signature wrinkles are part of its allure, which means you never have to iron, making it an excellent material for modern bohemian home decor.
And if you think of linen as an exclusive summer fabric, think again. There is an increasingly wide variety of weights and applications available, including winter sheeting. In fact, the idea that linen is merely suited for beach picnics is relatively new. Just consider what you call the place where you store your sheeting—your linen closet! That’s because linen has been a staple textile for every sustainable home a lot longer than cotton, and the go-to fabric for luxury bedding in Europe for hundreds of years.
It’s no surprise that the Libeco Belgian linen we offer is a Royal Warrant Holder for the Belgian Court. This means that Libeco is both 100% pure Belgian linen and the supplier of choice for the Royal Palace, an honor appointed by the King of Belgium himself.
Though we at Ecoist will take the royal pedigree, what we really love about Libeco linen is their dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Combining luxury, quality, and sustainable fashion, Libeco linen is the fabric of the future. The following list will show you why:
1. FLAX IS FRIENDLY
Linen is made from flax, one of the most environmentally friendly natural fibers in the world. In the Western European climate, flax is grown with virtually zero input of water other than rain. This means that over the lifetime of a linen product it uses just under a quarter of the water that its cotton counterpart would. Flax also has very few natural enemies, making the use of pesticides unnecessary. This makes Linen a perfect example of an eco-friendly product created with circular design in mind.
When it comes time for retting—the process where fine flax fibers are extracted from the woody stem, Libeco’s organic farmers rely on Mother Nature’s morning dew working in tandem with the afternoon sun. Retting is key to the natural characteristics of your Belgian linen, and it works like this: Since flax fibers are held to the stem by natural pectins, dissolving these pectins is vital to extracting the flax fibers from the stem without breaking them. Rain and dew alternated with sunshine create an environment where micro-organisms naturally break down the pectins.
During this process the flax fiber gets its natural beige color, often referred to as écru. Linen écru can vary in color from one year to the next on a spectrum from gray to gold depending on the retting conditions, similar to the way that wine is influenced by its terroir. Its unique design makes it one of the best eco-friendly gifts for those who are drawn to luxury sustainability and sustainable home goods.
2. ZERO WASTE
Even after the retting process flax leaves zero waste. The leftover part of the plant called “scutching tows” are perfect for coarser yarns and as the raw material for paper. A byproduct called the “shives” is used for manufacturing chipboards and for animal bedding. And yet another common by-product of flax is Linseed Oil, which is great for wood preservation, especially in varnishes. At the Libeco Belgian linen mill, they immediately collect all the debris from shearing their fabrics which are then repurposed into the insulation. Nothing gets wasted. This closed production cycle and circular design has earned Libeco a Cradle to Cradle certificate.
3. FLAX CRAVES CARBON DIOXIDE
Not only does flax produce zero waste, it actually removes massive amounts of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Since CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas, trapping CO2 is critical to stemming the tide of global warming. The European Confederation of Flax and Hemp (CELC) state that just one hectare of flax retains 3.7 tons of CO2 every year; that's equivalent to the emissions from the average car driven for nearly six days without stopping. In Europe alone, the current Flax crop absorbs the amount of CO2 each year equivalent to a car driving nonstop for 1,337 years.
The amount of flax used especially for Libeco’s annual production equals more than 7,000 acres, absorbing more than 11,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. To give you an idea, this is the amount of CO2 a car would emit if you drove it one thousand times around the entire earth! At Ecoist, we believe in slow fashion and circular economy, so Libeco’s 100% pure Belgian linen is the perfect choice when it comes to curbing carbon emission.
4. CARBON NEUTRAL MILL
When combining the carbon craving properties of flax with Libeco’s commitment to carbon-neutral weaving, Libeco Belgian linen is actually a carbon-negative product!
The Libeco linen mill is powered by the sun and the North Sea’s salty breeze, making their products literally as sustainable as possible and one of the best eco-friendly bedding, throw blankets, pillow covers, and kitchen towels out there. Emissions that cannot be reduced in the short term are offset annually by Libeco’s support of an international climate project in Uganda that manufactures energy-efficient cookers for local people. Each device reduces CO2 emissions by 2 tons per year, curbing local deforestation and improving the respiratory health of the local population.
5. A NATURAL PERFORMANCE FABRIC
Linen is naturally anti-bacterial and thermoregulating, meaning that it is cool to wear in summer and warm in winter. And if you do sweat in it, linen is odor resistant. By using linen bedding, duvet covers, throw blankets, tablecloth, napkins and kitchen towels, you can say goodbye to pesky dust mites and other germs. People who suffer from allergies report feeling relieved when using Belgian linen in their surroundings.
Belgian linen is also very durable and strong. At one point in history, linen was even used in a form of battle armor called Linothorax! And in ancient Egypt linen was used as currency. This eco friendly durability comes from the length of the linen fibers which are very long. Durability is one of the overlooked keys to a sustainable lifestyle. But it’s obvious that the longer something lasts the less of it you have to buy. Belgian linen’s longevity is a bonus, as many people believe that durable goods get better with age. At the end of the linen life-cycle, linen fabric when naturally dyed is biodegradable and can break down into the earth without polluting the environment. For these reasons, 100% pure Belgian linen is one of our favorite go-tos in luxury sustainability and circular design.
Dating back to 34,000 B.C. linen is one of the oldest fabrics on earth, and its future has never looked brighter.
Photography provided by LIBECO HOME