Benefits of Bamboo and Organic Cotton Fabric
What's all the hubbub about bamboo and organic cotton anyway? If you're looking at these fabrics from a strictly environmental perspective they have big benefits over traditionally-grown cotton and man made fabrics like polyester.
First, they don't use pesticides are fertilizers that leech into the fabric and the soil. Second, bamboo is essentially, a very hardy, fast-growing grass. It grows with little or no irrigation, in areas that nothing else will grow and when it's time to harvest, it's cut and not uprooted, so it doesn't disrupt soil stability.
Compared to a standard grove of trees, bamboo takes in more carbon dioxide and produces up to 35 % more oxygen. It's estimated that acre for acre, bamboo yields are 10 times that of traditional cotton.
As a fabric, it's super soft, durable, wrinkle-resistant, anti-wicking, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypo-allergenic. It's also thermal regulating – which means it keeps you cool in the heat and warm when it's cold. It takes to dye more easily and requires less dye than regular cotton.
It's great fabric, not only for t-shirts and underwear but is wonderful in sheets and towels.
But, as fantastic as bamboo is, it's not perfect. When it comes time to turn bamboo stalks to fabric, there are different processes. The most expensive and time-consuming involves mechanically crushing the bamboo into a pulp so it can be spun into rayon. The key word here is expensive.
The more common practice is to use chemicals to break down the pulp. This isn't all bad. The effects of the harsh chemicals can be mitigated by re-using the chemicals (and not dumping them) or opting for more environmentally friendly chemicals.
Demand for both bamboo and environmentally-conscious products is increasing. More research is going into cost-effective ways to produce bamboo with a keen eye on environmental impacts.
As for me, I am committed to keep on the look out for bamboo suppliers that manufacture this fabric with minimal harm to the environment.