A towel made in a more natural way
Bathroom towels are one of those products that we often don't think too much about. As long as they keep us dry, and match with our bathroom decor, we're usually pretty happy with them. Before they get to our bathrooms however, our towels can go through an intense, energy consuming process to take them from cotton plant to finished product.
This got the developers of the new LEJAREN towel thinking. How could they make a cleaner towel, that cuts down on the processing, and at the end of the day is a sustainable addition to the bathroom? As with many things one of the answers was 'go natural'. Come find out how they did it.
Getting back to the roots
To get to the beginning of the LEJAREN story you have to start at its roots. As with a lot of towels, LEJAREN is made from cotton — which works great for towels because it has a soft feel and absorbent qualities. Like other IKEA textiles it's made with what we call 'cotton from more sustainable sources.' Catherine Larsson who works with material development for LEJAREN and other towels explains. "Cotton from more sustainable sources means cotton produced in good conditions from both an environmental and social perspective," Catherine says. "Or, to break it down further, it's cotton grown using less pesticides, less water, less chemical fertilizer and the people growing it have better working conditions."
Building on this, the LEJAREN development team wanted to work on what happens after the cotton is picked. For most towels the cotton is first spun into yarn and strengthened before being woven, bleached and dyed. Some of these processes use chemicals and all of them use a lot of water — which can be scarce in areas where the cotton is produced. Jenny Håkansson who is one of the developers of LEJAREN explains how they looked to find an alternative method.
"One of our biggest ambitions with LEJAREN was to find a way to minimize the energy and waste during production," Jenny says. "Early on during the design process we decided a good way to do this would be to make them without color or bleach." Without the bleach or color added, the towels have a light beige look that is actually the natural color of cotton. We're happy that the work that went into making LEJAREN a more natural product means it's better for the environment as well as helping out in our bathrooms.