Canvas and TarpaulinsUpdated: March 7th, 2017
Wanting to being able to quickly cover various things from the rain I have investigated canvas tarpaulins and bought a flax tarpaulin. Canvas usually refers to plant based thick material, although I have noticed the word used for synthetics.
The main issues are
a) use: permeability to light and rain, strength and durability and
b) manufacturing and disposal.
Lifespan is paramount:
Untreated plant fibres, coconut being an exception, may only last a couple of years and whereas waterproofing will add some durability it's difficult to discover what may be used in commercially available proofed canvas.
The production of plant fibres, although seemingly benign, requires huge areas of land and in the case of cotton huge quantities of water and with the exception of organic cotton many toxic chemicals; add to that the demanding labour required, approaching slavery. Plant fibre canvas also requires a lot of treatment to make it durable to light and impermeable rain to add durability, it's strength otherwise depending largely upon size of yarn and weave.
Although fibres, other than cotton, notably hemp and linen, can be less demanding to grow and harvest the treatment applied may not be so benign in it's biological impact. (UPDATE This with detail)
Cotton, hemp, linen and jute(hessian)
Canvas is still available as pre-made tarpaulins, proofed and eye-letted in cotton and flax.
Linen (flax) Best environmental option due to low production needs
Bought Flax see comment 1
Hemp, comment 2 : : Cotton, comment 3 : : Acrylic, Comment 4
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