Inside Tumblewalla Studios: Bamboo - why we LOVE the plant but not the fiber! August 21 2015, 0 Comments

 

What’s so great about Bamboo?

What’s not too like? The fabric is silky soft, wrinkle resistant and stretchy for growing babies.

It’s also a highly sustainable plant. It grows fast like grass – literally up to 4 feet per day. Bamboo requires less water than most other plants (like cotton) and it’s super tough – can grow in a variety of climates and weather conditions.

So…it’s the perfect natural fiber?

Not so fast. While the plant grows naturally – the process to turn bamboo pulp into a fiber utilizes caustic chemicals (think DRANO ingredients) so it’s actually considered a semi-synthetic fabric (Rayon) vs. a natural fabric (cotton). These chemical compounds release air pollution that can be highly toxic for the environment and people.

What does semi-synthetic mean?

Semi-synthetic means taking a natural plant (e.g. bamboo) and chemically processing into a fiber (it’s not natural but not fully synthetic either).

How can I be an informed shopper?

Know what and how your clothing is made – don’t be “bamboozled” (we had to use this word in this post somewhere)! There are some promising alternatives to bamboo like Tencel that are much safer for the environment and people. Read more about bamboo from the Patagonia site and why they also choose not to use Bamboo made from the chemical solvent process (the most common and least expensive method).

http://www.patagonia.com/pdf/en_US/bamboo_rayon.pdf

photo credit bamboo: sustainablefayatte.org

photo credit cotton: agrodaily.com