There are so many benefits of bamboo textile. From environmental benefits to an amazing body sensation after bathing. In this post we explore the many benefits of Bamboo Textile compared to cotton.
The fresh water paradox
You know it takes more than 5,283 gallons of (fresh) water to produce 2.2 pound of cotton? According to WWF, about 20 million pounds of cotton are produced each year in around 90 countries. That is an amazing lot of fresh water. 73% of global harvest comes from irrigated land, so the majority actually.
Fresh water resources are becoming scarcer due to an increase of population and subsequent increase in water seize and the worsening of water quality (source: Chapagain, Hoekstra, Savenije and Gautam, 2005). Today 3% of all the earth’s fresh water is used for cotton production, according to WWF, which makes it the largest water consuming industry. The consumption numbers will increase, with the growth of population.
Agriculture is the largest source of pollution in most countries. 2.4% of world’s crop is planted with cotton and yet it counts for 24% and 11% of global sales of insecticides and pesticides respectively (source: WWF). That implies that cotton production contributes relatively larger to agricultural pollution.
Is Bamboo an alternative to Cotton?
It takes 565 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pound of bamboo. This is about 1/10 of the water consumption to produce an equal amount of cotton. The Bamboo species used for the production of Bamboo textiles is Moso Bamboo (Phyllostachys Edullis), which is not a species that is popular among the endangered Pandas. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants and can grow up to 3 feet a day. Bamboo does not require fertilizers or pesticides as the Bamboo Plant develops an antibacterial agent, called Bamboo Kun. This agent makes it almost 100% resistant to fungus as well as repellent to insects (source Futopiapress – Ole A. Seifert). Summarized: Bamboo is a great alternative to cotton, it uses less water, is highly renewable as well as avoidance of insecticides and pesticides, resulting in less pollution.
Is the Bamboo production process safe for people and environment?
It depends on which manufacturer produces the Bamboo fibre. Let us get a little technical: The bamboo fibre is made from the starchy pulp of bamboo. This textile fibre is fabricated from natural bamboo. To obtain bamboo fibers, there are two processes: mechanical and chemical. Still the majority of manufacturers are using the chemical process: hydrolysis alkalization. This process with the help of Sodium hydroxide (which is also known as lye) is not so good for the environment and people at all. The fibre is extensively bleached to turn the bamboo into a white fibre. Also not so good for the environment.
…..keep on reading, the best news is yet to come
Companies engaged in producing organic bamboo fabric leave the fibre unbleached. And some of these producers use acetic acid (vinegar) in a closed loop system to obtain the bamboo fibre, which is way much safer to environment and plant-processors compared to the hydrolysis alkalization. A lot of technical details but rest assured that your Life & Form towels are produced under the strictest and safest production processes, with very limited impact to environment and people.
Benefits of Bamboo
Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, green and biodegradable. Bamboo is a strong fibre, at the same time flexible and soft and has a luxurious shiny appearance. And what is more, it absorbs 3-4 times better than cotton fabric (source: Textile Exchange). That, in combination with a low water consumption and totally absence of the use of insecticides and pesticides, makes bamboo fabric a perfect alternative for cotton. It may be even better.
When choosing a Bamboo fabric towel
There are many sources out there that supply viscose from Bamboo towels. If the environmental arguments are appealing to you, make sure you check that the fibers are obtained from the low environmental impact production process. Some towels that are available on the market are a blend of cotton and bamboo, in different ratios. The blend contradicts the environmental features and specific bamboo benefits to a certain extend. Also there is a lot of variety in weight per yard (expressed in grams per meter -GSM-, the higher the number, the thicker the towel -or more value for money).