Linen is the textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. While all linen comes from flax, not all flax is turned into linen. Despite this fact, the terms “linen” and “flax” are often used interchangeably.
Is Linen “good”?
Yes! Organic linen is one of the most sustainable textiles. The flax plant is similar to the cotton plant chemically, but it is stronger, naturally moth resistant, and it dries faster. Flax is primarily grown in the Northern hemisphere where it is not associated with deforestation, and requires far less water to grow than cotton does. In fact, according to the Higg Index, conventional flax cultivation only requires about 6% of the water that conventional cotton does. Since flax requires far fewer pesticides and fertilizers than cotton does, it is more commonly grown with organic farming methods. However, that doesn’t mean the flax linen industry is completely free of pesticides – so be sure to look out for that organic certification. The flax plant also enriches biodiversity and since it is a flowering plant, it provides a valuable habitat for insects.
What kind of products are made with Linen?
Are there certifications I should look out for?
When looking to purchase linen products, look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) which is recognized as the world’s leading standard for textiles made from organic fibers. This certification covers textile processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, exportation, importation and distribution. It does not cover the cultivation of the flax plant though. This is covered by the USDA organic’s National Organic Program (NOP) regulation.