Earth Issues

Bamboo: The ultimate green fabric

 | March 31, 2010

Bamboo isn’t only for Asian cuisine and building materials; you can also wear it or decorate your home with it.

Maybe you’ve received a pair of bamboo socks, or sheets or a shirt as a gift. If so you’ve likely noticed how wonderfully soft and silky it feels.

“I got a bamboo duvet and sheets for Christmas and love them,” says Cathy Burgess, newly converted to the lovely material. “It’s better than any I’ve had before and it feels like silk.”

bamboo

And it doesn’t only feel and look wonderful, it’s also better for the environment. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant out there, growing up to four feet in 24 hours in prime conditions, and between the various subspecies it can grow almost anywhere. Bamboo also requires no pesticides or herbicides to grow and produces tons of oxygen.

As a material, bamboo is excellent for those with an active lifestyle due to its antibacterial qualities, and also absorbs and wicks moisture from the skin keeping you dry. The fabric also naturally protects from UV rays and is hypoallergenic.

Adrienne Makita, who is affiliated with The Bamboo Fabric Store, says bamboo fabric is a great choice for many people.

“One hundred per cent bamboo viscose jersey make great slinky T-shirts that feel super cool against the skin and the combination of silky softness of bamboo viscose fabrics and their absorbency has been a huge hit in the cloth diaper market,” she says. “It also has a lovely glowing look and liquid drape which fashion designers seek out.”

As bamboo becomes more popular and the demand increases, more bamboo plantations will be required. But unlike some resources like cotton or even oil that’s best consumed sparingly, the more bamboo the better. The increased amount of photosynthesis caused by these fast-growing plants shoots out more clean oxygen in the air. It also doesn’t require replanting and is 100 per cent biodegradable.

Bamboo is very similar to hemp in that way, though as Makita says it’s not as durable.

“It’s great for baby carriers . . . but I wouldn’t make a full-size hammock out of it,” she says. “Hemp is better for that sort of thing.”

Either way, clean and green fabric beats synthetic any day when it comes down to using renewable resources.

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