Is Bamboo Fabric Sustainable?

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Bamboo is a fast-growing, natural fibre that’s been gaining popularity in the fashion industry for its sustainability, comfort and versatility.

Softer than cotton and cooler than linen, bamboo fabric is versatile enough to be used in almost any artefact of clothing, from shirts and pants to socks and even reusable diapers.

Given its rapid regenerative capacity, bamboo is often lauded for its ecological friendliness and long-term sustainability.

What Is Bamboo Fabric?

Bamboo is a fast-growing perennial grass that’s native to Eastern Asia. Its material primarily consists of natural cellulose fibres, which are biodegradable and compostable.

Bamboo fabric is produced from these natural fibres by either mechanically pressing or chemically extracting them and then weaving them into a fabric.

How is Bamboo Fabric Made?

Raw bamboo first undergoes a process called “viscose.” This process mechanically breaks down the bamboo fibres, removing any impurities and making the fibres longer. The viscose process creates synthetic fibres that can be woven into fabric.

After it is extruded and formed into a continuous strand, the viscose is chemically treated to create the bamboo yarn used in fabrics. The yarn is first woven into cloth and then a chemical solution is sprayed on the fabric to create the dye for the fabric.

Once the fabric is dyed, it is woven into the desired garment. The fabric can also be printed with designs using the same process. Bamboo fabric is cut and pressed before sewn into the final product.

What Is Bamboo Fabric’s Environmental Impact?

Bamboo fabric is grown naturally, with little to no pesticides or synthetic fertilizer, which means it has very little impact on the natural environment. Bamboo fabric is also easier to clean than cotton, meaning it impacts to water and energy use less.

However, it’s important to note that turning bamboo fabric into usable clothing also impacts the environment. Bamboo fabric’s environmental impact is comparable to linen, another natural fabric with a lower impact on the environment than cotton or synthetic fibres.

How Does Bamboo Compare to Other Fabrics?

When it comes to being sustainable, bamboo fabric is a better choice. Bamboo fabric is often blended with other natural fibres like linen, hemp or rayon to create superior-quality textiles based on each fibre’s strengths.

Bamboo fabrics are often softer and cooler than cotton, which makes them a great alternative to traditional fabrics.

It is less processed than cotton, more environmentally friendly than linen and has more stretch than wool.

What Are the Main Uses of Bamboo Fabrics?

More and more people are acknowledging the benefits of natural fibres in their clothing and home décor.

1. Bedding

Bamboo fabric is often blended with other fabrics, like cotton or silk, to create luxurious, long-lasting bedding that’s comfortable to sleep in and easy to clean.

Bamboo fabric is naturally anti-microbial, which means it doesn’t hold odours like synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, nylon and acrylic, making it a popular choice for comforters, bamboo pillows and sheets.

2. Clothing

Bamboo fabric is often blended with other fabrics, such as cotton, to create a softer, more comfortable fabric for clothing. While manufacturers can use bamboo fabric independently, it is usually blended with other fabrics to increase durability.

3. Household Items

Bamboo fabric has become a popular choice for household items such as kitchen towels, dish cloths, tablecloths, shower curtains and other home decor items. Bamboo resists rot and insect infestation, making it ideal for outdoor furniture and tablecloths.

Bamboo is a versatile natural fibre that’s generally considered eco-friendly. However, several environmental concerns are linked to industrial-scale bamboo production, including the chemical-intensive process used to turn bamboo fibres into fabric. Because of these problems, the material’s true eco-friendliness is questioned.