The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Green Life

Why Nylon Sucks

This material is made from both petro and carcinogenic chemicals, is often shipped from far away places, and is non-biodegradable.

The mere manufacturing of nylon creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Then, during the manufacturing process, lubricants are used that additionally pollute and contaminate the environment. On top of the tremendous amount of energy and toxins it takes to create this material, manufacturers use significant amounts of water to cool it after it’s made. As if that wasn’t bad enough, since nylon cannot be naturally degraded, it is often burned, which re-emits these toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Scary.

Some items that are commonly made with nylon include: swimwear, some sports/work out clothes, umbrellas, luggage, waterproof bags, many types of mascara and mascara brushes, some shoes, some car interiors and lots of other stuff. Luckily, there are lots of alternatives to nylon. Opt to choose and support apparel and household items made from natural substances like organic cotton, bamboo, linen, inego, soy, and hemp. Not only are these more eco friendly but they are way more breathable!

Similar to educating yourself on your diet, try to approach clothing and household purchases in the same way. Have fun de-coding labels and if possible buy used. If you already have clothes or products made with nylon, don’t throw them out. There are great brands out there that are recycling nylon and repurposing them in to new items like swimsuits, which is much better than expending the energy and resources to manufacture new nylon.

Do whatever is within your reach. Remember to be kind and not too hard on yourself!

How do you shop for kind clothes and household items? Do you always CHECK labels before buying? Share your shopping tips and tricks in the comments below. 


  • Andi Perullo de Ledesma

    I had no idea! Thanks for opening my eyes!!!

  • Kelly

    The easiest way for me to make sure I’m purchasing kind products is to shop local! There are so many wonderful organic and kind products out there being made right in your own neighborhood! Not only does this support local/small businesses, it has a much higher likelihood of using local, organic and sustainable ingredients. I always have to check the label of course and my rule of thumb is if I don’t recognize the ingredient, I should probably avoid it. The less ingredients/products, the better! :)

  • Carolyn Emole

    I spend hours upon hours searching for green alternatives in clothing, pet beds, swimsuits, sunglasses, shoes etc….mostly to no avail. I then give up and go out and buy a non eco friendly version, which isn’t what I want to do. Either the style or cut isn’t what I can wear or they don’t have my size (8.5 narrow in shoes) or are waaaay out of price range. It’s depressing to have to spend so many hours searching and not succeed. I just received my NON eco friendly bathing suit in the mail cause I can’t find one that is a swimdress that isn’t made for a 16 year size 0 girl. Any suggestions anyone????

    • Frances Bailey

      I know how you feel, I have the same experience, especially living in the UK resulting in having to ship items from the US which isn’t ideal!

  • Megan Radatz

    Thanks for this post, I just learned something new.

  • milissae

    Great info, thanks.

  • Shannon

    My wardrobe is pretty basic-jeans and t-shirts.I already have my favorite personal care items, so for that stuff I never have to worry about it. For household products, there’s room for improvement. The nylon info is news to me. I’ll keep it in mind if I’m ever shopping for something that requires it. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Heather

    I think one of the best things you can do is to buy used clothing. There are so many good options in stores and online to buy great used clothing.

  • KBarley

    I’ve learned something new here today! My family has been trying to do better when it comes to things like this… We have been working on it for the last couple of years and it has been worth it! I did not know this about nylon… Will definitely look into this further and share this information with my family.

  • Mary Prive

    I never thought about nylon. I hate wearing nylons, and they run so easily and end up in the trash. Thanks for this article and making me aware of all the problems with nylon. I will seek better options!