Fabrics zipper. cc photo by flickr user mamichan

Published on June 22nd, 2010 | by Becky Striepe

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Fab Fabrics: Zippers

zipper

Normally when we think about fabric, we picture lovely bolts of yardage, ready to cut and shape, but there are lots of notions and less conventional materials that we sew and craft just like fabrics. Zippers are a great example, but the typical store bought sort aren’t the most eco-friendly option.

Zipper tape (the part that you sew into your garment) is usually made of polyester, a petroleum product. The zipper and pull are often plastic, and if they’re metal there’s no guarantee that it was responsibly mined. Don’t worry, though, because we have some ideas to help you green that sewing project down to the zipper!

Getting Thrifty

A great resource for eco-friendly zippers is right in your local thrift store! Second hand skirts and dresses will have the easiest sort to harvest. Choose garments that are torn or stained, so you’re not pulling apart something perfectly usable. Bonus points if you stick to things with pretty patterns, so you can use that fabric, too!

To harvest your zipper, just sit down with your seam ripper and carefully free it from the fabric. It’s a little labor intensive, so you might want to settle in with a movie and harvest yourself a bunch all at once. That way, you’ll have them on hand when inspiration strikes.

Recycled Options

If you’re working in a large quantity and don’t have time to harvest, don’t fret! YKK’s Natulon zipper is recycled and biodegradable! You can contact YKK to find a Natulon seller near you.

Another recycled zipper option is the Green Gear zipper from TYT Trend, but it looks like you might need to order in bulk to work with them. They have several different styles: plastic, metal, double, and even a water resistant variety!

Do you guys know of any other eco-zipper resources? Share away in the comments!

[Image Credit: Zipper. Creative Commons photo by mamichan]



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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://www.jofabrics.com Ask Netfah from J&O Fabrics

    Thanks for the info and the sources. Can salvage beautiful buttons and fancy trims that same way. Thanks for the sharing!

  • http://b-lota.blogspot.com Luisa

    thanks for the great info! I try to use all green/natural fabrics and notions in my shop but the information on zippers is virtually inexistent. I do recycle as much hardware as I can but it’s great to know that there are environment options out there!

  • http://heckety2.blogspot.com heckety

    My Mom has always detatched buttons, zippers, name tapes, trims etc when a garment is worn out, and then it often gets remade into something for my children…and of course, my endless patchworking! I’ve a whole box of re-cycled zippers dating back to goodness knows when, and jars of old buttons…and Yes! I know how lucky I am!

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    I had never given a moment’s thought to zippers! Thank you, I shall choose more carefully in future.

  • Barb Greenwood

    Since zippers are difficult for so many of us to install, develop some patterns for clutch purses that use the fabric and zipper, cut right from the garment whole!

  • http://coffee-pot-people.blogspot.com Anitra Cameron

    Great idea! I already buy things to get the buttons on them; now I can look for zippers, too!

    If you’re in Portland, OR, there’s a thrift shop on NE 102nd & Sandy that has a $0.35 sale on odd Saturdays. Anything that hasn’t sold in the regular tag-sale cycle goes to the basement and is sold for thirty-five cents each. You would not believe the lovelies you can pick up there!

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