Bamboo Sustainability

Fabric made from bamboo has existed for thousands of years, produced in Asian countries like China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. People made paper, houses, weapons, needles and most products we use wood to make today. Certain cultures in India and China have been producing this textile for centuries, and bamboo fabric festivals are still held in rural India each year.

Bamboo is a fast-growing plant, it can grow to full size in just 3-4 months, and pesticides and chemicals arent required in the growing process, making it a better alternative to cotton. Bamboo is also pretty good for the environment, it absorbs 2x more carbon dioxide than trees and gives out a lot of oxygen, nearly 30% more than most plants and trees, as well as improving soil conditions and soils erosion with its large, tough roots and helps protect biodiversity and endangered species by creating homes for various animals.

Bamboo can be a more sustainable alternative to cotton and be one of the most eco-friendly fabrics available. Most bamboo fabrics on the market are viscose, which has involves harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process, though recently there has been an improvement on how the chemicals are managed, and bamboo is still a better option than polyester and cotton. Bamboo viscose costs less to make than cotton, avoids the pesticides needed to produce non-organic cotton, and the production is not as chemically intensive as polyester. Another bamboo-based fabric is lyocell bamboo, which is a more sustainable alternative due to its closed-loop production, reducing the amount of waste significantly compared to the viscose process, but it is harder to find.

In terms of fabric quality, bamboo is soft and silky to touch and is more stretchy and durable than cotton whilst still being breathable. This makes it the ideal fabric for clothing close to the skin, such as underwear and socks. Bamboo also absorbs moisture from the skin, is thermoregulating, absorbs dye well, and takes half the time to dry compared to cotton. Bamboo fibres are also easy to weave into fabrics with a high thread count, which means the fabric is thinner cotton but has greater tensile strength. Natural bamboo fabrics made without added chemicals, such as bamboo linen, are hypoallergenic and safe for people with sensitive skin.

The final cherry on top is that bamboo is biodegradable as long as there are no added chemicals during any phase of its production., which means certain bamboo fabrics can be thrown in the compost as long as you follow the correct steps.

Diagram from Fabric for Fashion The Complete Guide.

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