Flax, ecological by essence
concern about the future of our planet is a unique and wonderful
opportunity to promote flax, the natural fiber we have been weaving
for more than 150 years.
A mindful use of resources and raw materials with a minimum impact
on people, animals and plants, has always been given the highest
priority at Libeco-Lagae.
Growing of the flax plant
Flax has grown for
thousands of years, and always with great respect for the
environment. Flax is a plant that grows naturally, and needs very
few chemicals. Few or no fertilizers and/or crop protection
products are being used compared to other crops. Flax does not
require irrigation during the growing process. The flax plant is
gentle on the land and is easy to incorporate into modern crop
rotation cycles. The processing of flax needs very little energy
and does not harm nature. The water retting process has been
replaced by environmentally friendly dew-retting on the field.
Flax, "green" by nature
Flax has some inherent
ecological characteristics: all parts of the plant are used (there
is no waste) and are 100% biodegradable or recyclable. Flax seed is
beneficial in human and animal nutrition because of its very high
content of alpha omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds can be used as the
base for a fine flour used in medical compresses. Linseed oil,
squeezed out of flax seeds, is also used as a component in paints,
cosmetics, soil coverings, etc. Flax fibers are also being used in
heat insulation, packaging, etc.The remaining residual products are
used in fiber boards, bank notes, etc. The inherent strength of
linen yarn reduces the need for starching during spinning and
weaving. Linen fabrics can be recycled into paper and insulation
materials for the car industry.
From fiber to fabrics : spinning &
The industrial processes
of spinning and weaving have very little impact on the environment.
Libeco-Lagae is constantly investing in new equipment and
production methods, reducing the need for energy and water and
eliminating or recycling most of the waste.
As a source of energy we use natural gas and do not pollute the
air. Constant improvements in production will allow us to lower our
use of energy. We are constantly continuing our research in order
to improve our production methods and limit even more our impact on
Finishing of linen fabrics: washing, bleaching, dyeing
One of the most critical
steps in the production process of linen in terms of ecology is the
washing, bleaching, dyeing and finishing of the fabrics. A lot of
water is being used to clean and dye the fabrics. Verlimas, a
finisher we often work with, has heavily invested in order to
minimize water consumption and meet all standards set by the
The water used comes from the river Lys. It is filtered and cleaned
for use as process water in the dye house. After passing through
the production process, the water is gathered in the on-site
industrial water treatment plant and is biologically treated before
pumped back into the river Lys. Effluents at that point are
continuously monitored and must be compliant with standards such
- C.O.D. < 300 mg
- B.O.D. < 25 mg oxygen/l
- pH values between 6.5 and 9
processes are continuously reviewed in order to :
- minimize total
water consumption and optimize water recycling during the
- reduce total energy consumption and optimize energy
recuperation from the effluents,
- reduce the use of harmful chemicals in line with the most severe
1. only water based
chemicals are being used during production.
2. bleaching agents based on chlorite have been fully replaced by
agents based on oxygen such as peroxide.
3. dye selection is fully in line with the EC Directive 76/769/EEC
banning prohibited azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine
compounds (MAK Group III 1,2,3) and according to the ETAD standard
minimizing any possible adverse impact of organic colorants on
health and environment, based on the principles of responsible
Oeko-Tex standard 100 and Eco Linen
Approximately 40 % of
our sales come from natural, undyed fabrics. All of our natural
fabrics can wear our ECO LINEN label: tests have shown that no
chemical residues are found in the final product.
Recently, this product range has also been tested on harmful
substances and is now Oeko-Tex Standard 100 class IV certified.