If you are interested in living green, then you absolutely must consider the fibers that you use in your daily life. From your towels to your clothing, fabric is an area of the home that you can use again and again, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider starting with the best, most sustainable fibers available.
Bamboo is one of the world’s most sustainable resources for the following incredible reasons, in no small part because it is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet. This amazing plant can be harvested annually and will then regenerate itself from the roots, replacing the crop naturally without the need for re-planting or crop rotation. These properties, in addition to making this an extremely low-demand crop, make it an attractive farming operation.
While many traditional fibers, namely cotton, require extensive farming support, bamboo is notably low-maintenance. For example, cotton requires annual re-planting, a fairly complex harvesting system, and numerous chemical additives. Additionally, it is a somewhat sensitive crop that can expose the farmer to losing everything in the case of drought or flood, both of which are frequent in the major farming communities. Bamboo, in contrast, is both drought and flood-tolerant, making it a low-maintenance, easy-to-grow crop.
Additionally, rather than requiring costly and damaging pesticides, bamboo has natural anti-bacterial agents that make it unattractive to pests. Additionally, because it grows in such dense forests, it naturally inhibits weeds, eliminating the need for chemical herbicides. Its healthy root system enriches rather than depletes the soil’s resources, meaning that it does not require added fertilizers, which frequently cause pollution in farm areas and everything downstream.
As for the world at large, bamboo’s dense forests allow it to release up to 30% more oxygen into the air than a comparable stand of trees, thereby cleaning the air. Additionally, although it is a sturdy and long-lasting fiber, it is also 100% biodegradable. Unknown to many consumers, most fabrics contain chemical additives that inhibit natural breakdown in the municipal landfills.
Bamboo fibers can be used for all types of clothing. It is incredibly soft, with a silky, smooth texture far more luxurious than even the finest cotton, and has an appearance frequently compared to silk or cashmere. Items that are increasingly available in many U.S. stores include sheets and other bedclothes, towels and bathmats, and, of course clothing.
Its highly durable fibers make it an excellent choice for items that get a lot of use and need to be washed frequently. Although you should always check the manufacturers washing instructions, most bamboo items can be washed along with all other clothing in a standard washing machine, using standard washing products. They can also be dried in the dryer.
Bamboo has natural anti-bacterial properties. This, combined with moisture-wicking, fast-drying qualities and natural UV-protection, make it an excellent choice for children’s clothing and active wear for people of all ages.
Because of its smooth fibers and the lack of chemical additives (bamboo is bleached without using chlorine), bamboo is a popular choice for infants. In fact, it is difficult to match this durable, fast-drying cloth with natural anti-bacterial properties when it comes to clothing a delicate new baby.
And, finally, it is important to address a significant and important question that inevitably comes up when discussing bamboo fibers: are we taking food away from pandas? Thankfully, the answer is “no.” The type of bamboo used to produce fabric is Phyllostachys Pubescens, also called Moso bamboo. Moso is a different type of tropical grass to the type that pandas eat, nor does growing Moso bamboo interfere with the panda’s natural habitat.