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Bamboozled?

In addition to being easy to care for, soft and silky, bamboo fibers have been loudly touted as the newest and greatest in eco-apparel. Innovation in textile has brought alternative plant based fibers such as bamboo into the spotlight and as a replacement to petrochemical based synthetic fibers.

Bamboo as a raw material is a remarkably sustainable and versatile resource. With abundant sources of raw material, relatively low cost; and unique performance of bamboo fiber it is only a matter of time to develop green and pure bamboo textiles. With the growing popularity of a new fabric made of bamboo, designers have slowly begun to use bamboo fabric in many of their upcoming collections.

Historically in Asia, bamboo was used for the hand-made production of paper. But thanks to modern manufacturing, bamboo pulp is now capable of creating bamboo fiber which can be used to make yarn and fabric. Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass, the bamboo fiber is then made by pulping the bamboo grass until it separates into thin threads of fiber, which is then spun and dyed for weaving into cloth.

Advantages:

Natural anti-bacteria

It’s a common fact that bamboo can thrive naturally without using any pesticide. It is seldom eaten by pests or infected by pathogen.

Breathable and Cool

What’s notable of bamboo fiber is its unusual breathability and coolness. Because the cross-section of the bamboo fiber is filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes, it has much better moisture absorption and ventilation. With this unparalleled micro-structure, bamboo fiber apparel can absorb and evaporate humans sweat in a split second.

Green & Biodegradable – As a regenerated cellulose fiber, bamboo fiber was 100% made from bamboo through high-tech process. The raw material bamboo is well-selected from non-polluted region. They are all 3-4 year old new bamboo, of good character and ideal temper.

It owns high abrasion-proof capacity. Bamboo fiber spins nicely. This fiber is a natural cellulose fiber, can achieve natural degradation in the soil, and it won’t cause any pollution to the environment.

Powerfully insulating – keeps you cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Naturally UV protecting – protect yourself from skin cancer

The premise that bamboo textiles are eco-friendly is largely based on the sustainability merits of the plant. Part of the grass family, bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth (giant kelp is second). Instead of taking centuries to mature, like hardwood, bamboo can be harvested after only 3 to 5 years.

Perhaps most impactful is that bamboo can be grown without chemical pesticides stand sequesters four times as much carbon as hardwood trees and generates up to 35% more oxygen. It all sounds fabulous, but like many crops, there are real concerns that some bamboo comes from wild spaces and leads to habitat loss. Similar to cotton, bamboo monocultures are an issue (although there are currently no known GMO variants).

Some good news – improved bamboo textile production

The good news is that some facilities have started using more benign technologies to chemically-manufacture bamboo fibers. The process used to produce lyocell from wood cellulose can be modified to use bamboo cellulose.

Further, when considering the alternatives, no fabric is perfect. Polyesters and acrylics are fossil fuel based and require plenty of water, chemicals and energy to produce. Cotton is available in both conventional and organic versions, but both are water- and cultivation- intensive crops featuring genetically modified monocultures.

Is it possible that bamboo-based textiles may still be coming into their full potential? With increased interest in the environmental attributes of bamboo-based fabrics, it seems cleaner production processes are appearing. The potential of bamboo plants as a resource for making textile fabrics is very high but it remains largely unrealized. With abundant sources of raw materials, relatively low cost, and unique performance of bamboo fiber it is only a matter of time to develop green and pure bamboo textiles. Further, bamboo textile industry has the potential to provide livelihood for millions of people worldwide.

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