Is Jersey Vegan + Sustainable?

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  9 min read

Is jersey vegan and sustainable? These are questions every ethical consumer asks. Here is how buying jersey will impact you, the environment, animals and laborers. 

is jersey vegan and sustainable

Fabric, materials and textiles are things we consume often. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on jersey.

You are going to learn all about jersey’s vegan and sustainability status. Additionally, the following info will include jersey advantages and disadvantages for your home, whether jersey is a natural fiber, biodegradable…or perhaps even destructive!

After learning if jersey is vegan and sustainable you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you shop.

This post is all about learning if jersey is vegan and sustainable.

Is Jersey Fabric Vegan And Sustainable?


Durability: pros jersey stretch lets it keep its shape

Versatility: pros jersey is stretchy, soft and breathable, a low-maintenance fabric, machine washable, doesn’t wrinkle easily, cotton jersey releases odors easily when washed, extra “give” for comfort, thin, lightweight, used to make nylon hosiery, men’s underwear and t-shirts, dresses, bedding, sheets

Affordability: pros jersey is typically inexpensive, prices may vary

Jersey is…


Fiber source: natural and synthetic, jersey may be a natural or synthetic fiber, originally wool but can now be wool, cotton and/or synthetic fibers, t-shirt jersey is a cotton jersey, tri-blend jersey is a blend of poly rayon and cotton fibers

Biodegradable: yes or no, jersey may or may not be biodegradable depending on fibers, wool (untreated with chemicals) is 100% biodegradable in a span of 1-5 years, it may take up to 200 years for synthetic textiles such as polyester to decompose, when composting cotton may biodegrade within as little as 1 week but average decomposition times are around 5 months

Destruction: depends on material used, wool production is destructive, often involves toxic chemicals to preserve wool and fur, when poorly managed or discharged pollute waterways, causes devastating pollution, wool that is not organic is dipped in toxic chemicals to ward off ticks/lice, toxins from animal excrement pollute air, water, soil, high CO2e carbon emitted, sheep hooves cause land degradation, synthetic materials rely on petrochemical industries, meaning synthetic materials dependent on fossil fuel extraction, organic cotton production is relatively sustainable, uses less water than non-organic cotton due to better quality soil, grown without harmful chemicals, pesticides or insecticides, doesn’t contain any synthetic chemicals, metals or genetically engineered substances, organic cotton doesn’t destroy ecosystems, improves soil quality

Jersey is…

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/16/2023 07:18 am GMT


Kills: none, jersey fabric production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none if 100% organic cotton, but sheep if made from wool, woolen animals such as sheep if wool, severe animal abuse, strips of skin, teats, tails, ears are often cut off or ripped during shearing, sheep shearer workers often punch, kick, hit and stomp on sheep, stand on their heads, necks and limbs for faster wool shearing

Indirectly kills or harms: none if 100% organic cotton, lambs, mature sheep, wildlife and ecosystems, lambs may die before 8 weeks old from exposure or starvation, mature sheep die from disease, lack of shelter, neglect, wildlife considered to be “threats” to sheep leads to landowners killing kangaroos and coyotes, permitted by law, resulting in millions slaughtered every year by ranchers and the federal government, if non-organic cotton is blended pesticides are used, which undoubtably harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Jersey (wool) is…

Jersey (100% organic cotton) is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


How to wash jersey fabric?

Jersey fabric is easy to wash! You can machine wash jersey fabric -no need to have it dry cleaned. Warning: jersey fabric may shrink. To avoid shrinking, be sure to wash jersey fabric in cold water or wash jersey fabric by hand. Air dry jersey fabric to preserve quality.

What are some vegan fashion brands that use jersey?

Caur and Neu Nomads are vegan fashion brands that uses jersey.

You Will Love This!
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/16/2023 06:54 am GMT

jersey is durable.

durable, long lasting fabrics, materials and textiles

For every 5 garments produced, the equivalent of 3 end up in a landfill or incinerated each year!

One reason for such wastefulness society’s ever growing desire to acquire. Fast fashion (creating low-priced items at high volumes) is problematic for a number of reasons and promotes the attitude that clothing is nearly disposable.

But another component of such a quick turnaround on clothing is because it’s just not lasting long enough. Snags, stains, warping and shrinkage render items unusable and unacceptable for the  donation pile. Avoid such problems by buying better quality, more durable, long lasting materials. Timeless wardrobe favorites that last for years and years are more sustainable and reduce the need for replacements. 

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles burns or goes to landfills…

Keep minimalism in mind and buy less, borrow and buy items second hand. Thrift shops offer many inexpensive, unique finds that have already proven to stand the test of time!

jersey is unsustainable if wool or synthetic fibers and sustainable organic cotton.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Materials from animals are natural fibers and biodegradable unless heavily treated with chemicals. However, they are not at all eco-friendly or sustainable due to the overwhelming strain on natural resources; the water needed, food needed and land usage that must happen for such abundant amounts of animals to live.

With the high number of animals unnaturally bred onto the planet in the name of human utilization, specifically ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, deer, camels, etc.), they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, soil and water with their waste (excrement). This is also toxic to ecosystems and wildlife. 

That’s not to say that all vegan materials are sustainable. There are many vegan yet unsustainable fabrics, materials and textiles. Most of us don’t realize that washing one synthetic garment releases about 2,000 plastic microfibers which then enter the ocean and food chain…or that 30% of rayon and viscose used in fashion comes from endangered and ancient forests. So because a fabric is vegan it does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable, eco-friendly and so on. 

Wow! …So it’s time to start using sustainable fabrics, materials and textiles.

Read more about ‘What Makes Fabric Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

jersey may or may not be vegan.


Cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, ducks and foxes are animals commonly subject to exploitation for their skins, hair or feathers. In fact, BILLIONS of them die every single year simply in the name of fashion. 

Before buying a pair of shoes, a sweater, a purse, check the materials. Common and unfortunately popular animal-derived materials include leather, suede, fur, feathers, mohair and wool -which often come from places like India and China where there can be NO animal welfare laws or enforcement. If the item does come from a more developed area of the world, such as the United States or Europe, that animal was likely a victim of factory farming.

Dressing and decorating vegan is easier than ever with this: Vegan Fabrics, Materials and Textiles List

jersey is a material that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know that the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? Whether agriculture involves crops or animals, the labor behind each and every product made from cotton, leather, wool, etc. cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers.

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, sweatshops and child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence. Unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives simply by being mindful to buy items that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about whether jersey fabric is vegan and sustainable. 


PETA: The Wool Industry
Sew Guide: Fabric glossary
Textile School: Textile fabric types
Cotton: the fabric of our lives, jersey
PETA: Environmental Hazards of Wool
The Spruce: Types of fabric A to Z: What are you wearing?
EDGE Fast Fact | Non-Biodegradable Clothes Take 20 to 200 Years to Biodegrade
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future
The real cost of your clothes: These are the fabrics with the best and worst environmental impact
Grandview Research: Synthetic Leather Market Worth $40.9 Billion By 2027 | CAGR: 4.4%

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

Keep Reading