Is Viscose Biodegradable? (Answered)

There are several factors to consider when selecting the clothing you would like to put on, from pricing to eco-friendly materials to fit. If you want to be sure that your clothing is as good for the environment as it is advantageous for your confidence, the calculation becomes more difficult.

Many businesses have started making clothes out of eco-friendly materials in recent years. However, is viscose biodegradable and a viable fabric for environmentally conscious apparel? Let us find out.

What is Viscose?

As a “regenerated cellulosic fiber,” viscose is a man-made fiber created from cellulose, most frequently from wood pulp, though other plants, including bamboo, can also be utilized. It is not an artificial fiber derived from petroleum. 

The cellulose is disintegrated, which is then “regenerated” into a fiber. The raw material for all viscose is cellulose. What is special about viscose is the fact that it is a blend of both natural and synthetic fibers.

Unlike wool, it is neither really natural nor truly synthetic. It is a semi-synthetic rayon fabric created from wood pulp that can be used in place of silk since it has a comparable feel.

Bamboo, beech, eucalyptus, pine, and other types of tree wood can all be used to make viscose. Due to the many chemicals employed during the production process, it is semi-synthetic. Sodium hydroxide and the hazardous liquid carbon disulfide are two examples of these compounds.

Since the late 1800s, viscose fabric has been a staple of many closets and houses. It is soft and lightweight. Viscose is produced from trees, but considering the high chemical concentrations used during production, it is not as harmless to the environment as other varieties of rayon. 

Is Viscose 100% Biodegradable?

The truth is that 100% Viscose fabric can biodegrade within a year. However, garments made or treated and dyed with various synthetic substances can take years to biodegrade. This is because the material is synthetic. Therefore, it is not fully biodegradable.

However, remember that many clothing items contain viscose fiber blends, which cannot entirely degrade. Although viscose can degrade, you should not throw the top you have been wearing in the garden composter

For an increased stretch, viscose is frequently blended with other fabrics, just like linen, cotton, and other 100% natural fibers. Is it not disappointing to learn that your viscose may not entirely degrade? Consider the additional advantages of selecting textiles made from natural materials.

Although not every viscose is environmentally beneficial, materials made from bamboo viscose come from a plant that is sustainable and growing quickly. The production of viscose from wood pulp might destroy forests. 

On monoculture fields, where native plants possess no chance of thriving, some entirely natural fabrics are also grown. However, bamboo viscose promotes the growth of more indigenous plants, which reduces the rate of deforestation.

How Long Does It Take For Viscose To Biodegrade?

Viscose is a type of semi-synthetic fiber made from plant-based materials such as wood pulp. While it is biodegradable, the time it takes for viscose to break down depends on various factors.

In general, viscose can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to biodegrade, depending on the conditions it is exposed to. For example, if viscose is buried in a landfill where there is little oxygen or moisture, it may take much longer to break down than if it is exposed to sunlight and moisture in a compost pile.

Additionally, the way the viscose is produced can also impact its biodegradability. Some viscose production processes involve the use of harsh chemicals that can make it more difficult for the fiber to break down naturally.

You might come upon a silky piece marked “viscose” while perusing racks of prospective new clothing and wonder where the material comes from and whether viscose is sustainable.

A semi-synthetic fiber made from cellulose from plants is called viscose. The main element of plant cell membranes is cellulosic fiber. This fiber material is the foundation for various goods, including viscose and biodegradable plastics.

Chemical softeners are added to the unprocessed plant material to create viscose fabric. A viscous liquid is produced through this process, which is later molded and solidified into strands that may be weaved into sustainable fabric for sportswear, curtains, and bedding.


Is Viscose Good or Bad For The Environment?

Viscose is frequently promoted as a more sustainable fabric than materials like polyester and conventional cotton. This is because it is composed of natural materials, and the manufacturing process does not squander much water or emit many harmful emissions.

However, some people are worried about how some viscose production facilities may affect the environment. For instance, the manufacture of viscose rayon frequently uses hazardous chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide.

These substances can harm both water and the air if improperly handled. If workers are not properly protected, they might potentially be harmful.

Additionally, certain less environmentally friendly crops that produce viscose are expanding due to the need for wood fiber. Ecosystems may be strained, and deforestation may result.

Can Viscose Be Recycled?

All rayon fabric, including viscose, can be recycled. During recycling, synthetic cloth can degrade into its natural fibers. New shirts or upholstery can be made from these recycled cellulose fibers. 

They are additionally discovered in the filling used for couch padding, pillows, and comforters. The market for viscose rayon has grown significantly over the last two decades, by about 13%, according to a report by the textile ministry. 

Viscose fiber recycling reduces carbon footprints and promotes the development of a circular economy based on future manufacturing, which benefits the global market. In terms of all fibers, viscose rayon accounts for around 31% of the global market. 

According to recent research, cotton can be used as a raw material to create recycled cotton waste fibers and viscose rayon. Since viscose is made from tree pulp, preserving trees and forests helps to replenish the oxygen levels and maintains ecological balance.

Is Viscose a Sustainable Fabric?

Viscose is not necessarily poisonous or polluting because it is a plant-based fiber. Since viscose is produced from plants, we frequently claim it must be sustainable. No animals were injured, and the substance appears environmentally friendly.

According to its definition, viscose is a material created by humans as a substitute for the time and money-consuming procedure of making silk. As was already said, wood pulp is typically the starting point for creating viscose, to which several chemicals are added to produce the fiber.

Lyocell, a method, is being used more frequently to make viscose. Compared to other methods employed by the fashion business, this one generates less waste, which makes it more environmentally friendly.

The fabric is durable and a pleasure to work with; therefore, we are crossing our fingers that more environmentally friendly production techniques will be used. It is, therefore, more environmentally friendly than many synthetic fabrics.

It is crucial to bring up bamboo cloth without wanting to spoil the celebration of sustainable materials. Concerns about this relative newcomer to the world of silk-like materials’ viability have been raised.

Certainly eco-friendly in its early stages is bamboo. It grows swiftly without a lot of water or chemicals. It sequesters greater amounts of carbon from the environment than most plants, making it among the most environmentally friendly plants in the world.

Sustainable Alternatives To Viscose

Using what you already have and choosing used items are always the most environmentally friendly options. However, what are some better alternatives to viscose? Below are some of them.


As technology develops, new materials like ECOVERO are produced. This cutting-edge cloth is created by LENZING utilizing sustainable wood from regulated sources. To ensure reduced emissions, over sixty percent of the trees employed to make the fiber are from Bavaria and Austria.

Mila. Vert: 

Clothing from Mila.Vert is classic, understated, and stylish, with subtle accents that give the pieces a contemporary vibe. The Slovenian company aims to produce fashionable garments while eschewing morality and environmental problems that the fashion sector often brings up.


A company that genuinely dedicates itself to the vast outdoors is Patagonia. This company produces mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, and surfing clothing. Patagonia employs recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester and upholds strict labor laws. 


Womenswear company Baukjen is established in London and emphasizes ecological, ethical, and environmental fashion. Its clothing is made specifically for you and for good because of the brand’s environmentally friendly products; less water, wastewater, and chemicals are utilized in production.

Tasi Travels: 

You need to go as far as the Australian company Tasi Travels for travel attire made for adventures. With a beautiful selection of handmade, made-to-order clothing from sustainably sourced fabrics, you can walk out into the world assured that you are leaving a small environmental imprint.


The British company COSSAC is dedicated to making stylish, feminine clothing that can be worn in various settings. They only collaborate with small, family-run, ISO-certified manufacturers with whom they have forged strong bonds. They carefully choose which sustainable materials to include in their limited-edition collections.


The apothecary, items, and innovative and custom apparel are the main focus of the US-based boutique Altar. The company honors independent producers and creators from throughout North America. With surplus fabrics like the tri-blend of spandex, polyester, and viscose in this wrap top, Altar Houseline, one of its clothing lines, is proudly created in the United States.


Viscose fabric is preferred for many products since it is more environmentally friendly than synthetic fabrics like polyester. Viscose is unquestionably wise if you seek a sturdy, reasonably priced material with vibrant colors. 

It is durable, has a good drape, and is pleasant. To ensure that your viscose clothing pieces remain for a long time, you need to take proper care of them. 

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.