Trends in Nonwovens & Sustainable Products

Nonwovens are fabric-like materials made by bonding fibers together through chemical, mechanical, and heat processes. Nonwoven fabrics play an increasingly large role in the global manufacturing of many consumer products. In this article, we’ll look at some of the trends shaping the future of nonwovens in 2020 and beyond.



These days, you can’t have a conversation about nonwovens without mentioning sustainability. The nonwoven industry has long been at the forefront of the movement for products that are renewable, eco-friendly, and above all, sustainable. A combination of increasing government regulation and growing consumer demand has led nonwoven manufacturers to make a number of significant changes in recent years.

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Barnhardt Cotton’s Circle of Life

As an all-natural, biodegradable fiber, Barnhardt cotton goes through a circle of life that begins and ends with the earth. Today, we’ll take a look at each step in this natural life cycle.


Step 1: Growth

Cotton is born from nature’s combination of soil, water, and sunlight. Thanks to innovative cotton farmers and agricultural experts, this is a process that uses relatively few natural resources compared to other crops. For instance, did you know that most U.S. cotton crops survive on rainfall only? In addition, the land required to grow cotton has decreased by nearly 50 percent since 1980, yet crop yields have increased. In short, cotton grows from the earth without damaging it—and still manages to yield a whole lot of goods for us to enjoy!

Unlike synthetic materials like rayon, cotton boasts a simple supply chain. Barnhardt cotton is born and raised here in the USA, so it doesn’t have to travel far to reach our production centers.


Step 2: Purification & Production

At Barnhardt, we’ve spent a century perfecting our cotton purification process. We use only hydrogen peroxide to purify the cotton, making it a totally chlorine-free (TCF) process. Hydrogen peroxide is a naturally occurring, eco-friendly compound produced by both plant and animal cells. Purified cotton fiber is GMO-free after scouring and purification processes.

Once cotton has undergone purification, it is ready to be incorporated into the many consumer products that we rely on. Thanks to Barnhardt cotton’s uncomplicated, homegrown supply chain, cotton will soon reach consumers without requiring much travel or fossil fuels.


Step 3: Household & Industrial Applications

By step three, cotton is ready to be used in a variety of applications. Barnhardt Purified Cotton  is a favorite choice in health care, beauty, feminine care, baby care, and nonwovens to name just a few. The one thing all these applications have in common? Comfort and softness. Cotton is preferred for the superior experience that it offers compared to synthetic materials.

The best part is, consumer use isn’t the end of the cotton lifecycle—in fact, you could say that it’s just the beginning!


Step 4: Return to the Earth

Barnhardt Purified Cottonis biodegradable and compostable. In many cases, cotton is also recyclable. That means during this stage, cotton can either be reused—finding a new life in a different household or industrial application—or more commonly, it can return to earth from which it was born.

During decomposition, cotton quickly degrades into materials that improve soil health and nourish the natural environment. Purified cotton only takes about 30 days to biodegrade (or less in managed landfalls).

From beginning to end, the cotton lifecycle is a renewable and sustainable one. Farming, purification, and decomposition are each natural processes that make up this circle of life and rebirth.

If you’d like to learn more about Barnhardt cotton’s circle of life, check out our articles about sustainable cotton farming or visit our page on TCF purification.

Protect Yourself and the Planet With Natural Hygiene Products

Only a few years ago, companies that created natural, environmentally friendly hygiene products were few and far between, but there’s been a steady upward trend in consumer preference towards these types of products. Natural hygiene products are no longer niche and demand for them is higher than ever. At Barnhardt Purified Cotton, we are pleased to help manufacturers produce a variety of natural hygiene products made from high-quality cotton fiber. 

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Debunking Myths About Cotton Sustainability

Despite being a highly sustainable crop, cotton is often misunderstood. Some claim that growing cotton uses too much water, pesticides, and energy, while taking land away from food crops and reducing air quality. The truth is, none of these things are true anymore thanks to the advent of modern farming techniques and practices—but the cotton industry is still working to bust these outdated myths. In this article, we’ll look at each of them, one by one.

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Purified Cotton Fiber Is GMO-Free After Scouring And Purification

There are two main varieties of genetically engineered cotton. The first variety is designed to resist Monsanto’s Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide, while the second is designed to stimulate the plant’s production of toxins, which kill the bollworm (cotton’s primary pest). It is important to understand the implications of genetically modified (GM) cotton compared to non-GM cotton.

“Conventional cotton” refers to cotton that is grown with the help of synthetic agrochemicals, commonly from genetically modified seeds. Genetically engineered cotton now accounts for 75 percent of all conventional cotton. This method employs suboptimal farming and manufacturing practices that are significantly harder on the environment.

Organic cotton, however, is grown with reduced amounts of toxins, pesticides, and fertilizers. Methods and practices used for growing organic cotton minimize environmental impact. Federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds in organic cotton production, and require that these seeds are natural and untreated. Currently, organic cotton comprises less than one percent of total global cotton production.

Raw Cotton is free from GMOs when grown organically. In order to be certified organic, farms must follow organic farming practices and factories must process organic cotton fibers separately from conventional cotton.

We’ll start by referencing the statement that ultimately came from our 2002 position paper on genetically modified cotton:

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Processing Cotton: Growing Quality Cotton, Sustainably

Cotton is as old as civilization itself, grown in many regions all over the world for thousands of years.  Today, cotton is grown to support a variety of durable and disposable products.  When we think of cotton, many of us can close our eyes and think of our favorite 100 percent cotton t-shirt or our most comfortable pair of jeans, both of which are very durable and sometimes last us a lifetime.  Others may think of some of their personal care and hygiene products like cotton swabs, cotton balls, tampons, baby diapers, all of which are used frequently on sensitive body parts and then disposed of.

The Barnhardt family has been purifying cotton for personal care product applications for decades, and our commitment to delivering safe and sustainable cotton-containing products begins right where it should—on the farm.  When we envision cotton, we embrace all aspects of the cotton supply chain—from farming to ginning, through purification, then the converting and manufacturing of a wide variety of end-use products.

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Trends in Baby Care

As parents grow increasingly concerned over baby health and hygiene, and birth rates continue to rise in emerging economies, the baby care market is growing—and growing fast. In 2019, it was valued at $5.7 billion globally.

Not only is this market growing, but it’s also changing. Millennial parents have created an unprecedented demand for safe and organic baby care products, and as this key consumer group becomes more financially strong, this demand will likely increase. 

Today, we’re looking at trends within the baby care market and what they may tell us about its future. Continue reading

Intrinsic Properties of Cotton: Performance

Intrinsic Properties of Cotton Performance

Cotton is the all-natural fiber of choice for the ages, going back to the Egyptians and other civilizations of the ancient world. As humankind has developed different needs and wants for fiber-built goods, we keep coming back to the original fiber used in some of the first clothing for a variety of applications including nonwoven hygiene and baby care products, as well as dental and medical supplies like cotton rolls.

In  this series, we’ll explore what makes cotton so special–its unique properties that have driven its versatility and popularity–from a performance perspective–for thousands of years. Continue reading